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METALCON announces 2021 keynote speakers

September 22, 2021 - METALCON, the only global event dedicated exclusively to the application of metal in design and construction, announces its keynote speakers for this year’s annual conference and tradeshow taking place at the Tampa Convention Center from Wednesday, Oct. 6 - Friday, Oct. 8.

Beginning on Wednesday, October 6 at 10:00 a.m., Keith Colburn (above right), star of the Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch and captain of the Alaska King Crab fishing boat, Wizard will share his insights on leadership, teamwork, safety and being successful in today’s hyper-competitive business environment by providing parallels between his life as a captain and the high stress, highly competitive construction industry in Words of Advice from the Captain of the Wizard: It’s Not Magic, It’s Hard Work!

Colburn is known to millions of television viewers. He is the very definition of the American success story. In 1985, Colburn flew to Alaska with a one-way ticket, a backpack and $50. Having no contacts or even access to the Internet to research job opportunities, he took a gamble that his thirst for adventure and strong work ethic would be enough to land him a fishing job. Today, 30 years later, Colburn is not only one of the Bering Sea’s most successful crabbers but has become a formidable business icon outside of his success in the commercial fishing industry.   

“It will be an honor to speak at METALCON,” said Colburn. “Over a year of difficulties in all industries, I hope we can find inspiration working together for our futures.”   

Then, on Thursday, October 7 at 10:00 a.m., Ken Simonson (above left), chief economist of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, will explore the current state and outlook for construction project types, materials costs and availability, and labor in his keynote, the U.S. Construction Outlook: Pandemic Impacts, Policy Initiatives, Project Implications.

The U.S. economy is recovering robustly from the pandemic, but progress in construction has been far more uneven. Similarly, a variety of legislative and regulatory initiatives would have very mixed impacts on contractors and their workers. Simonson has more than 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues.

Find out what project types are likely to provide the greatest opportunities in the near future, hear how materials costs and supply-chain bottlenecks are evolving and what to expect in coming months, and learn where labor demand is strongest and how contractors are coping with worker shortages.

“In a year in which steel, copper, and aluminum prices have set record highs and run into unprecedented supply problems, this conference provides a vital opportunity for anyone involved with metal construction to get the latest information and advice,” said Simonson.

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 30,000+ subscribers. Simonson also serves as liaison to the Census Bureau’s Construction Data Modernization Working Group.   

He is a Fellow and past president of the National Association for Business Economics and co-director of the Tax Economists Forum in which he co-founded. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in economics from Northwestern University.

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