Metalcon International returned to the Chicago area Oct. 9-11, 2012, with a new look and format.

According to organizers, the changes were a success. The event at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., drew 5,267 people.

“We tried some new things this year to better serve our audience and feedback from attendees is that the longer sessions in the conference program really helped understand the topics and to make better business decisions,” said Claire Kilcoyne, show director for Metalcon International. “The majority of exhibitors had a very successful show and a testament to that is we already have 87 percent of the space booked for the 2013 show in Atlanta. We heard from several people that the exhibit hall arrangement, with live demos spread throughout, also worked well.”  

Metalcon officials found metal suppliers and those exhibiting roll-forming equipment and green products were very busy during the show.

Renee Ramey, marketing manager for Steelscape Inc. in Kalama, Wash., saw a lot of interest at the company’s booth.

 “We had more contact with qualified steel buyers and foot traffic in our booth than at any previous Metalcon,” she said. “By the end of the second day it was a success for us because of the quality of the leads. It’s also a sign of the industry’s continued growth and good health.&rdquo

Mike Smith, president of Tennsmith in McMinnville, Tenn., said his booth was also very busy.

“We’re very excited about this show,” he said. “We’ve exhibited in two or three Metalcons and this was the best. It’s our first show as a combined Tennsmith and Roper Whitney company so we had more offerings and more variety in the audience. We saw all of the types of people we want — suppliers, metal builders and roofers. They were all very qualified so we closed numerous orders right at the show.”

Also drawing crowds during the event were demos from the Metal Construction Association. Dale Nelson, president of Roof Hugger, coordinated the MCA demos and found that they went together well with the information presented at the educational sessions.

“The MCA demos were a great way to tie together much of the information presented during the educational seminars,” he said. “The demos not only show the nuts and bolts of how various systems are installed but it allows the attendee a chance to more accurately visualize the systems. The hands on format and follow up questioning provide a clear understanding to owners, salespeople and design professionals how various roof related products can be of benefit to them.”

The conference featured a new format to offer more in-depth learning opportunities during sessions and on the exhibit floor. It moved from a 90-minute multi-track program to three-hour sessions.  

“The longer sessions allowed us to provide a lot of content and the panel discussion that involved a contractor was excellent,” said Scott Kriner, president of Green Metal Consulting Inc., and a session presenter. “We had good interaction with participants and we pointed out product lines but not specific products that contractors could see in the exhibit hall. With different presenters covering several areas, none of the attendees were bored — and they all came back after the break, so we know they were interested.”