Sports Icons Will Inspire METALCON Attendees During Keynote Presentations

METALCON 2019 has announced its keynote speakers sponsored by long-time partners U.S. Steel Corp. (U.S. Steel) and PPG, both title sponsors headquartered in Pittsburgh, and both actively involved with METALCON since its inception 29 years ago.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 11.00 a.m., U.S. Steel is hosting special guest Rocky Bleier, a four-time NFL Superbowl Champion and running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers in his keynote, Leadership through Teamwork, Perseverance & Hope.

Bleier embodies heroism, determination, teamwork, and leadership.  After being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1968, he was drafted by the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam just one year later.  Bleier was thrust into combat, seriously wounded and told he would never walk again.  He rehabilitated himself to condition for re-entry into the NFL and defeating all odds, regained his running back position.

With the same optimism, sense of humor and determination that were his trademarks as a running back, Bleier will take the audience from his early years through his professional career and talk about the hard lessons he learned early in life that helped him overcome adversity and reach his goals. Through his story of courage and determination, he defines what it takes to succeed in times of change, how to conquer insurmountable odds and become an extraordinary achiever.

In his keynote, Bleier will discuss why some organizations dominate and some lose, and he will define the ingredients for success.  He focuses on winning through perseverance, hope, commitment and trust. Framed through parallels to football and Bleier’s personal journey, he will explore both structural and emotional aspects necessary for individuals and organizations to reach their greatest potential.  He will address how successful teams and organizations share four characteristics: leadership, people, vision and a shared belief system.

Furthermore, METALCON is partnering with a charity near and dear to Bleier, the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania, for this year’s giving back program.  Each year, METALCON gives back to the local community.  This year’s  program will raise money for  essential housing, employment, and vital supportive services for eligible Pittsburgh-area veterans, service members, and their families to improve their self-sufficiency, sustainability, and quality of life.

PPG, a global supplier of paints, coatings and specialty materials, introduces former professional ice hockey center and seven-time Stanley Cup winner, Bryan Trottier, who played 18 seasons in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders.  Named as one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players of all time, Trottier is ranked 17th all-time in NHL regular-season points and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

On Thursday, Oct. 17, at 11.00 a.m., Trottier will share his life journey, including the challenges he faced and overcame along the way and life lessons learned in Finding Strength in Teamwork & Diversity.  He will cover the importance of leadership, the uniqueness of team and how it strengthens an organization, the importance of diversity in an organization–diversity of thought, perspective and experience.  He will even share a few ice hockey stories. 

Growing up in the small, remote town of Val Marie, Saskatchewan, Canada, with a population of 200 and only one television channel, Trottier lived a simple life on the farm with his family. They had little money but were quite resourceful. They grew their own garden, milked their own cows and threw nothing away.  To make extra money, the family formed a band in which Trottier joined as a young boy and performed in local events. He had tremendous support from his parents, despite their simple lifestyle. When he needed money for hockey equipment, his father would sell a pig, butcher a cow or pick bales. 

Every year when winter would descend, his father, a powerfully built man and descendant from the Cree and Chippewa people, would head out to the creek across the road from their house.  Machete in hand, his father would proceed to chop up the dam as if he were hacking up a woodpile, creating a makeshift skating rink.  Out on that creek is where Trottier developed his style, skating over the lumps and frozen twigs.  He also had to learn to fight, which did not come naturally to him as he was a quiet kid who loved school.  At the age of 14, he had to quit school and leave home to pursue his ice hockey career.

Trottier faced bullying on the ice due to his small stature.  He also faced discrimination and racism because of his native heritage. He struggled to navigate the path to his dream but sought out people who could help him along the way.  He learned the value of being part of a team and found strength in his team.  He gained life lessons from sport, music and work ethic.  He learned how to lead by inspiration and by example.  He’s learned that life is never going to be pretty nor happen the way you plan it. Sometimes you just have to go out to the beaver dam with a machete and start chopping wood.

“We are so excited to have these two local sports icons as our keynote speakers this year,” says METALCON Show Director, Claire Kilcoyne.  “Their very personal stories are sure to inspire attendees.”

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