True to its 25-year record of being a great place to introduce new products, METALCON drew eager buyers to see all the new offerings from more than 260 exhibiting companies.
“Celebrating METALCON’s 25th anniversary in Tampa gave us a great setting to celebrate the accomplishments within our industry. Best of all, the exhibiting companies had great responses from attendees. These companies expressed their satisfaction with this year’s show by signing up for next year. We already have 55,000 square feet of space committed for 2016 in Baltimore. This has been a great location for us so we’re looking forward to a repeat of our very successful 2008 event held at the Baltimore Convention Center,” notes METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne.
METALCON is the metal construction industry’s largest international tradeshow and conference for metal construction products, technologies and solutions. The 25th annual event took place Oct. 14-16 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.
Quality and consistency of attendees were bywords for many exhibitors at the 2015 show, such as Bo Newman, business development manager for D.I. Roof Seamers, Corinth, Miss., who says: “METALCON has always been a top trade show for us and this year was no exception. Our booth was filled with visitors throughout the show. The contacts we made were not only record breaking in number, but they were clearly buyers. The vast majority of them are all about business—seriously intent on putting our products and services to work for them.”
He adds: “In addition to our own marketing efforts, we took full advantage of METALCON’s great marketing tools. We participated in the MCA Roofing Championship Games, as well as the “Association at Work for You” area. This added exposure was key in the overwhelming response to our new products—particularly the new D.I. Curver 1000 and Cap Bender. These machines are used to field form a radius on common snap-lock panels with narrow batten caps. We look forward to next year’s METALCON where we will once again present the latest innovations in panel seaming technology.”
Larger equipment suppliers, such as AXYZ Automation, also drew crowds. “There was a lot of interest in our PANELBUILDER CNC Router featuring our new software and print head. We saw very strong prospects and generated a lot of business here. METALCON has always been successful for us because many of our suppliers are here and our customers, installers of wall cladding (ACM), are also in abundance at METALCON. Every year this is a good source of business for us. The new PANELBUILDER 16 is the latest combined router and software solution in our company’s CNC router systems for panel fabrication,” says Greg Jenkins, vice president of sales, AXYZ Automation Inc., Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
New metal panel systems were also a big hit. Ken Gieseke, vice president, marketing, McElroy Metal, Bossier City, La., notes that: “Traffic to our booth was consistently good. Our new product, the 138T Shingle Recover System, was a real draw. Our target is the retrofit arena and our product was developed based on studies of the ASV concept. We did a lot of electronic promotion through METALCON’s offerings, as well as industry publications.”
Lee Ann M. Slattery, sales support manager, ATAS International Inc., Allentown, Pa., echoes his comments. “ATAS International had many visitors who were interested in our new Isoleren insulated metal panels. It was a good event at which to announce this new product offering. Participating in the Learning Zones helped ATAS educate contractors on installation details related to flashing. ATAS has participated as an exhibitor at METALCON for the past 25 years. It is where we establish new relationships and meet with customers and suppliers that we have worked with for many years, and we look forward to future shows,” she says.
For some companies, such as software supplier AppliCad, METALCON is primarily an educational opportunity. “Our customer base has access to all kinds of information so their perception is that they don’t need trade shows to make a decision. The U.S. market is critical for us and we feel our role is to educate roofers through these shows. This is the only way to do it and this show was better than I expected. So we’ll be back next year,” says Ray Smith, managing director of AppliCad, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. AppliCad has developed software for simplified roof modeling in 3-D for roofing and cladding estimating throughout the Americas, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe.
Bill Zayas, senior account executive, SnoGem, McHenry, Ill., also had a rewarding experience in educating prospects and showing them new products. “We previewed our Universal Composite Panel System. There’s no better venue than METALCON to introduce this product. Plus, being right by the MCA Roofing Games helped draw the right people to our booth. In an area like Tampa, we were promoting the benefit of our products in solar installations. In fact we had a visitor from Sri Lanka who was interested in standing seam roofing and wanted to know about our clips.” The design of the Universal Composite Panel System (UCPS) 1000 Series incorporates a concealed drainage system and a concealed fastener design.
Kristin Peregoy, marketing manager, New Tech Machinery, Denver, says her company celebrated industry accomplishments this year and is looking forward to doing so next year. “To help mark METALCON’s 25th anniversary, New Tech Machinery and S-5! co-hosted a kick-off party that had a great turn out. Everyone involved in the show had a part in growing the industry in the last 25 years and by partnering together who knows how big it could get. New Tech Machinery has been attending METALCON for many years and it has consistently been our biggest show. Next year is also New Tech Machinery’s 25th anniversary so we’re making great plans for our celebration at METALCON.”
Before the exhibits opened on the first day, that distinctive rumble of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle started the keynote presentation as Clyde Fessler, former vice president of business development for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., rode a Harley into the ballroom, drawing a rousing applause from the audience.
As Fessler reflected on the history of Harley-Davidson and its turnaround, he captured the essence of how communication with customers played a major role, stating that “problems are in the office; solutions are in the field.” Other key points from his presentation were for companies to: be direct about any weaknesses; address the competition squarely; go global if possible; create accessories if that works for the product line; and to remember that marketing people bring the passion and that brings success.
METALCON’s success is based on three key methods of education: exhibits, an extensive education program and interactive, live demos. This year’s conference program included 90-minute classroom sessions focused on what CEOs, presidents and managers need to move their companies forward. Learning Zones offered education inside the exhibit hall in 15-minute sessions with presentations on technical applications and solutions. The live-action MCA Metal Roofing Championship Games held in the exhibit hall drew volunteers from the audience to compete in five different types of challenges involving various metal roofing applications and techniques.
This year METALCON committed its Giving Back Program to America’s Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping U.S. Armed Forces’ veterans and their families. This affiliation allows METALCON to focus its giving back efforts throughout the year on assisting members of the military in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Contributions to America’s Fund can be made any time on the METALCON website. Each year a special fund raising drive will be held at METALCON to help a specific America’s Fund program serving veterans in the show’s location that year.
During this year’s 25th anniversary celebration, show management honored companies that helped pioneer METALCON and have remained exhibitors. METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne also received an award, the first annual MCA Triumph Award. These awards honor individuals and companies in the metal construction industry in nine different categories. Claire received the 2015 Industry Champion of the Year Award for spearheading the METALCON show for 25 successful years.
Other categories in the MCA’s annual Triumph Award are: Young Movers and Shakers; Media Executive/Journalist; Sales Person; Entrepreneur; Business of the Year – Contractor, Manufacturer, and Service Provider; Emerging Business; Corporate Citizen – Business and Individual; and Marketer – Business to Business and Consumer.
The next METALCON takes place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore from Oct. 26-28, 2016.
METALCON draws designers, builders, developers, contractors, fabricators and suppliers from more than 50 countries each year. Industry experts from nearly 300 companies exhibit the latest products and technology, while sharing their knowledge with attendees. Industry specialists present key topics in the show’s highly-rated education program.