NEWTON, Mass. — Known as the “Steel City,” Pittsburgh proved to be a natural fit for METALCON’s 29th annual event, showcasing more than 200 companies, motivational speakers and today’s latest technology.

“METALCON attendees really enjoyed Pittsburgh and realize it’s no longer the rusty and gritty city that comes to mind, but a charming and vibrant cosmopolitan city thriving in technology, healthcare, finance and education,” said METALCON Show Director Claire Kilcoyne.

METALCON is the largest international event in the metal construction industry, offering a tradeshow and conference devoted to metal in projects of every kind. This year’s event, held Oct. 16-18, featured around 250 leading companies exhibiting the latest metal construction industry products and technology along with education and training sessions.

“METALCON 2019 was a terrific show for our company,” said Operations Manager Jeff Stortz of John Stortz & Son, Inc.  “Attendees responded well to our demonstration and appreciated being able to be hands-on with our products. I have already been in contact with multiple leads from the show, and we look forward to exhibiting next year in Las Vegas.”

New to the show floor this year was CONTECH, an interactive and innovative hub showcasing the hottest trends in construction technology, sponsored by U.S. Steel. Attendees could check out everything from virtual reality to robotics.

“CONTECH was very well attended — we had a lot of good questions and good leads," said Ian Warner of 3D modeling technology company Trimble Solutions USA Inc. “In my mind, there is no other way to actually build projects without using some of these technologies.”

Another standout from the show was an all-women panel held by National Women in Roofing (NWIR). The panel included a mix of manufacturers and contractors, including women industry experts representing the Association of Women in the Metal Industries, the Metal Roofing Alliance, the Steel Alliance and NWIR. 

They discussed various issues facing women in this non-traditional industry from a labor shortage to recruiting and mentoring women in the industry, to communication and best practices.

Sports Legends Speak on Success

Kicking off day one of the show was keynote speaker Rocky Bleier, a four-time NFL Super Bowl champion and running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He inspired attendees in his talk about leadership through teamwork, perseverance and hope. 

“There are certain foundations — leadership becomes very important and the kind of people you have on your team.  If you don’t have talented people, you’re going nowhere,” said Bleier. “Once you have your people together, you can decide where you want to go. Then, you have to get those people to buy into that vision, and together, you can do great things.” 

Throughout the show, autographed jerseys and footballs were raffled to help raise funds for a charity near and dear to Bleier: the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. METALCON show management presented a check for $8,000 (including a $5,000 donation from U.S. Steel) to the organization’s CEO during an on-site check presentation ceremony.

“The giving back program is the most exciting part of the show for me personally,” said Kilcoyne. "We are always happy to support our veterans and hope the funds raised will help other veterans who have faced adversity just as Rocky did.”

Day two of the show introduced former professional ice hockey center and seven-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan Trottier, who spoke about finding strength in teamwork and diversity. Attendees had the opportunity to see the Stanley Cup in person along with a whole host of trophies brought by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

“These accomplishments reflect well on the teams and teammates,” said Trottier. “It takes all different kinds of players from different places, backgrounds and cultures; all with different roles — it’s a wonderful blend.”

Fond Farewells

After decades of dedicated service to the metal construction industry, Kilcoyne announced her retirement as the vice president of tradeshows for METALCON.

“After 29 years of partnering with the Metal Construction Association, 35 years at PSMJ Resources and 800,000 miles on the Mass Turnpike, I am hanging up my tradeshow sneakers,” said Kilcoyne. “The friendships and memories made will be long-lasting — and there are many. The opportunity to have taken this event around the country and watch it grow in so many dimensions has been beyond rewarding.”

Judy Geller will join METALCON as vice president of events. She is a seasoned professional with more than 25 years of experience as a strategist, producer, and marketer in the conference and tradeshow industry. 

METALCON 2020 is scheduled to take place Oct. 21-23 in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center.