With an attendance of 7,156, the 2004 MetalCon International has broken previous records. Exhibits at MetalCon included the latest products, services, technology and peripherals from 327 major industry companies that filled 75,000 square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center from Oct 20-22. Attendance at the 2004 show in Las Vegas was more than 8 percent higher than the 2003 show's 6,623 count. The event also draws new exhibitors each year-54 companies exhibited for the first time in MetalCon 2004.

The decision-making attendees pleased both new and long-time exhibitors, especially those introducing new products. A new exhibitor, Amelia, Ohio-based Gutter Topper International, successfully introduced its new Leaf Terminator product at MetalCon. "It was our first time at this show and we had a steady flow of visitors at our booth and a volume of leads from all over- Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and South America. About 20 percent of the leads were for manufacturing offshore and 80 percent were for products from U.S. visitors, many of whom were architects," says Slate Kirk, company CEO.

Long-time exhibitors appreciated the steady traffic flow, but also made note of the quality of visitors. "The first day of MetalCon was the best day we ever had in any other MetalCon. It was non-stop from when the door opened until it closed and generated the greatest amount of leads ever," says Kevin Corcoran, national sales manager for Englert Inc., Perth Amboy, N.J.

Rick Wester, vice president of RAS Systems LLC, Peachtree City, Ga., adds: "This was a terrific show. We sold four pieces of equipment in two days."

The event's 30-session educational program also was well attended. Sessions covered topics from the basics of using and understanding metal to complex field techniques, legal issues, and sales skills as well as trends in building materials, codes, construction methods and tools. Metal's value in sustainable design was discussed in the comprehensive Cool Metal Roofing Symposium. STUD University, which meets a major need to teach the skills and techniques for framing with cold-formed steel, also was filled to capacity.

Besides a volume of product and industry information, attendees left with giveaways from exhibitors that included computers, PDAs and products. But Enrique Gonzalez of Taos Metals in El Prado, N.M., drove away with a new Dodge Dakota. He was the winner in MetalCon's Win-A-Truck contest sponsored by 19 exhibiting companies. Gonzalez' name was drawn from the entries by Bond Jacobs, president of Grand Junction, Colo.-based Jobsite, Inc., a contest sponsor. At the drawing, a representative from each of the 19 sponsoring companies pulled one name from the bin. Each potential winner picked one of 19 small boxes-only one held the truck keys. After all names were drawn, the entrants opened the boxes simultaneously.

Other sponsors were: TrusSteel, Benchmark Architectural Systems Inc., Classic Products, Englert, Fabral, ITW Buildex, MBCI, metalmag, Metl Span, Novacel, Revere Copper, Reflective Insulation Manufacturers Association, Roof Hugger, Samco, Sika, Steelscape, Swenson Shear and TAMKO.

The 15th annual MetalCon is slated for October 4-6, 2005 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.