METALCON, the global event dedicated exclusively to the application of metal in design and construction, recently announced its keynote speakers for this year’s annual conference and tradeshow at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Oct. 18- 20. 2023. 

Keynote 1, Conflict Resolution: Wed., October 18

Contractor and Denver business owner Rico León, HGTV host of "Rico to the Rescue," is slated as METALCON's keynote speaker at 10 a.m. on Wed., October 18, according to a news release by PSMJ Resources, Inc., the show’s producer.

León, a native of Puerto Rico who was raised in Pittsburgh, his blue-collar, hard-knock surroundings cultivated an enthusiastic work ethic leading to success, show producers said. Driven by his parents' past experience with a “crooked” contractor, Rico advocates for families and resolves conflicts between emotionally and financially stressed homeowners and their builders, turning renovation and construction “nightmares” into “dream homes.”

Rico has been on both ends — as a contractor and a homeowner — and he is not afraid to hold builders accountable. 

In his keynote, titled “HGTV’s Rico to the Rescue: Real Life Scenarios – From Nightmares to Dreams Come True,” the reality star will share some of his most unforgettable experiences and lessons learned from residential construction projects gone wrong and then turned around, helping families navigate the process; covering the good, the bad and the ugly about construction, the insurance industry, contractors and brutally honest advice to help everyday people. 

Next, he will participate in a moderated discussion by Tony Bouquot of the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, followed by an audience Q & A, a VIP meet-and-greet, and an autograph signing. 

Keynote 2, Economics: Thurs., October 19

METALCON_Ken Simonson_Mug.pngAt 10 a.m. on Thurs., October 19, Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, who boasts more than 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues, will explore the current economic climate and future outlook for construction in his keynote, “Construction Outlook for 2024: Forbidding or Reason for Cheer?” 

Construction is in transition. A slowing economy and interest rates in flux are threatening private investment, but growth in manufacturing, power and infrastructure investment may outweigh any decline in income-producing properties. Simonson will offer his forecasts regarding conflicting trends in demand for projects, materials costs and labor availability. 

Simonson will detail how interest rates are affecting current, future and projected projects. As well as how manufacturing, power and infrastructure may counteract industry declines. He’ll cover new and developing changes in construction practices and how those changes will affect current and future projects. 

Since 2001, Simonson has been chief economist for the AGC, the U.S.’s leading trade association for the construction industry. He provides insight into the economy and what it implies for construction and related industries through frequent media interviews, presentations and the Data DIGest, his weekly one-page e-newsletter that goes to 20,000-plus subscribers.  

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