Roof Hugger Celebrates 25th Anniversary

In 1991, two developer/contactors and longtime friends, Red McConnohie and Dale Nelson, began a part-time business to manufacture and distribute structurally sound sub-purlins for installing a new metal roof directly over an existing metal roof. The idea came about because McConnohie owned a lease building that needed its roof to be replaced. After a few design sketches using a factory-notch concept with some ingenuity, the original Hugger sub-purlin came alive. McConnohie got his building reroofed and proposed to Nelson that they start a business together selling this innovative new product. So, they set off on a journey, which has lasted 25 years, and now has covered more than 70 million square feet of existing roofs nationally and abroad. The company is the brand Roof Hugger Inc.

The trek was not always that easy because the product is designed to fit over and around the major ribs of the existing panels. Have you ever thought about how many different metal roof profiles are out there? Hundreds, if not thousands. You have ribbed panels in a multitude of spacing and heights from 6 to 13 inches, there are corrugated panels with corrugations spaced from 2.25 to 4 inches, and of course, there are standing seams. These also widely varied because of the vertical and trapezoidal seam configurations, rib-to-rib spacing and heights and with or without standoff clips. Today, Roof Hugger has built a library full of manufacturer literature, both from the old days and the more recent. They refer to this library countless times during a given year but even to this day, they are given a previously unknown panel from a contractor or building owner needing to reroof an existing metal building.

Not only do the profiles and variations of existing metal roofs make this niche roof replacement market challenging at times, but because of the new stringent code requirements, you have panel testing to contend with, as well. Every manufacturer today, producing metal roofing, has and will continue to have their systems tested for performance. The most utilized test standard is known in metal construction as the “Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Sheet Metal Roof and Siding Systems by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference” or ASTM E-1592. Without it, it is extremely difficult to engineer roofing products to meet specified building code requirements for given wind speeds. It is not widely understood but each metal roof’s testing can and does vary from its counterparts although they frequently can look almost identical. This is due to seam design, clip design, metal thickness, design specifications and manufacturing limitations. Because of this, Roof Hugger began testing in 1996 and now has numerous metal roofs that have been tested over their sub-purlin systems. They have an (FM) Factory Mutual approval, as well as several (FL#) Florida Product Approved assemblies.

As Roof Hugger celebrates its 25th year, the Hugger team located outside Tampa, Fla., is excited to carry the “Hugger” brands on into the future. McConnohie passed in 2013 at the age of 87, and Roof Hugger is a big part of Red’s legacy, but Dale and Jan Nelson, now owners of Roof Hugger, continue to work relentlessly to make the Hugger stable of products better than any other metal-over-metal retrofit roof system available. Jan Nelson recently commented that “they are so fortunate to have met and grown to know the fabulous people in the metal construction industry via trade shows and organizational meetings. She went on to say, “We have gained an extended family that is surely the best gift of this journey and it puts a smile on my face daily.” Dale Nelson said, “I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. It’s been one heck of an enjoyable ride.” Dale Nelson was recently elected chairman of the Metal Construction Association (MCA), which he is no stranger to this kind of work. He has committed much of his life to volunteer work in both his private life, as well as in business activities.

Roof Hugger now has four production locations in Florida, Indiana, Texas and Washington. Three of their sub-purlin profiles can ship within two to three days and others are made-to-order to ship within 10 to 15 days. Roof Hugger is specified by numerous levels of local, state and federal government agencies, especially the U.S. Military. A recent look at their shipments, found that more than 3 million square feet have been installed at more than 70 domestic military facilities. They provide quotes in hours and a live voice always answers the phone. Prior to Red’s passing, if you were lucky he would answer the phone with a loud “ROOF HUGGER – McCONNOHIE”, and when you call today you will still get an equally enthusiastic greeting from the Roof Hugger crew of Jan, Bill, DJ or Dale.

METALCON Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

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.

METALCON is produced by PSMJ Resources Inc. and sponsored by the Metal Construction Association.

MCA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of METALCON

As part of the 25th anniversary celebration of METALCON, the Metal Construction Association (MCA) is reinvigorating its presence on the show floor, including a new educational theater and displays at the association’s newly designed booth (#1831), as well as the annual Chairman’s Awards presentation, and expanded Metal Roofing Championship Games.

This year, MCA’s councils, which serve various segments of the metal construction industry, are represented through informative displays and educational sessions held daily in a theater at the booth. The 20-minute sessions will highlight the advancements that MCA and its members are making together to benefit the industry. Sessions include:

  • Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) Council – Understand how getting involved with the IMP Council helps members grow their business.
  • Industry Case Studies on Retrofit – Explore the advantages of installing new metal roofs over old roofs, and learn how the Retrofit Council works to grow market share in commercial, industrial and residential renovation construction.
  • Service Life Study – Learn about the groundbreaking study conducted by MCA and the ZAC Association that shows that some metal roofs can last as long as the buildings they cover: typically 60 years or more.
  • Seaming Guide – Hear first-hand from industry leaders about best practices for metal roof seaming, and other initiatives that the Accessories Council has under way
  • Value of MCA Meetings and Membership Benefits – Discover the benefits from MCA membership. The association is offering 50 percent off membership dues for the remainder of 2015. Learn about networking opportunities available with industry leaders at MCA’s Winter and Summer Meetings.
  • Growth and Trends in Metal Construction – Get a sneak-peak at market analytics, typically only available to members, and learn about trends and growth opportunities for metal roof and wall panels.
  • Fastener Selection Guide – Find out how to choose the correct fastener from experts from MCA’s Accessories Council.
  • Benefits of Exhibiting at METALCON – Learn how to take full advantage of all the opportunities available when your company exhibits at METALCON.
  • Metal Roofing Contractor Benefits – Discover how metal roofing contractors can get to the next level through the MCA.
  • Roofing Installation Manual and White Papers – Get the edge by learning new techniques from the installation manual and white papers put together by industry experts from MCA’s Roofing Council.

These projects and others will be brought to life by new displays, highlighting the many ways that MCA is advocating and supporting the metal building industry. Actual mock-ups illustrating best practices will be on display, as will case studies, white papers and technical bulletins highlighting the latest industry trends.

A schedule of presentations at the booth is as follows:

    Wednesday, Oct. 14

    • 12:30 p.m. Benefits of the IMP Council
    • 1:30 p.m. Industry Case Studies on Retrofit
    • 2:30 p.m. Service Life Study (1 hour presentation)
    • 4 p.m. Seaming Guide
    • 4:45 p.m. Value of MCA Meetings and Member Benefits
    • 5:30 p.m. Chairman’s Awards Presentation

    Thursday, Oct. 15

    • 12:30 p.m. Growth and Trends in Metal Construction
    • 1:30 p.m. Fastener Selection Guide
    • 2:30 p.m. Service Life Study (1-hour presentation)
    • 4 p.m. Benefits of Exhibiting at METALCON
    • 4:45 p.m. Value of MCA Meetings and Member Benefits

    Friday, Oct. 16

    • 10:30 a.m. Metal Roofing Contractor Benefits
    • 11:30 a.m. Roofing Installation Manual and White Papers

MCA will also unveil the 2015 prestigious Chairman’s Awards at METALCON on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 5:30 p.m.

The Chairman’s Awards are an annual designation given to outstanding building projects involving MCA member companies. Recipients for these awards are selected each year from projects submitted to Metal Architecture Magazine’s annual Design Awards Program. The honorees are chosen by a panel of professional architects, which included Elaine Tisovec Fitzgerald, AIA, CCS, ArchiTech Consulting Inc., Mount Prospect, Ill.; Michael Fitzgerald, AIA, Principal, OKW Architects, Chicago; and Ted Haug, AIA, LEED AP, Legat Architects, Chicago.

The MCA Chairman’s Awards are given in nine categories: commercial/industrial; education, colleges and universities; education, primary and secondary schools; institutional; metal roofing; municipal; and residential. The judges also recognize projects with an award for overall excellence.

Award recipients are determined based on overall appearance, significance of metal in the project, innovative use of metal, and the role of metal in achieving project objectives. Photos and descriptions highlighting the winning projects will be on display in the MCA booth after the awards ceremony.

In addition, MCA has added a new challenge to the MCA/METALCON Metal Roofing Championship Games, which will take place in booth #109. This year’s theme is ‘Battle by the Bay’ and will include five different competitions where contractors can compete to win cash prizes in challenges that include the proper use of screw guns and seamers, as well as installing retrofit sub-framing, standing seam roof panels, snow retention and other common rooftop accessories.

The games will be held on each of the three days of the show, during exhibit hall hours, and each of the challenges has a $100 cash prize for the winner or winning team.

METALCON will be held Oct. 14-16, 2015 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla.