METROCON18 Expo & Conference: A Sweet Success in its 16th Year

If you were not at Dallas Market Hall on August 9 & 10, then you missed out on an amazing opportunity to learn from and connect with 2,200+ members of the built environment representing 1,065 companies.

The event, which is the largest not-for-profit, self-produced, volunteer-driven, design specification-focused regional expo and conference in the USA, celebrated 16 years of industry collaboration and attracted 55 event sponsors, more than any other year in the event’s history.

For the second year in a row, five associations joined forces to plan and execute a more expansive event for their members and beyond: (in alphabetical order) ASID Texas Chapter, ASID Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, CSI Dallas Chapter, NEWH Dallas Chapter, and USGBC Texas Chapter.

METROCON18 showcased 160 Exhibitors representing 211 manufacturers, service providers, and organizations representing all practice areas and market segments, and it attracted interior designers, architects, facility managers, students, and a myriad of other essential design industry members from Texas, Oklahoma, and 22 other states across the USA.

ESSENTIAL & EXCITING EDUCATION

This year’s conference delivered 51 hours of premium programming on timely topics presented by 62 industry experts. Offerings included two Seminars, two Student Programs, five tours, a Keynote that doubled as a CEU, and 40 other continuing education courses. All CEUs were IDCEC-approved and qualified as CEPHs to meet requirements for Registered Interior Designers and Architects for the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners, and many also were approved by AIA, EDAC, and GBCI.

  Keynote Speaker Steve Glenn of LivingHomes and Plant Prefab spoke about his commitment to healthy and sustainable construction.

Keynote Speaker Steve Glenn of LivingHomes and Plant Prefab spoke about his commitment to healthy and sustainable construction.

Keynote Address: Sustainability champion Steve Glenn delivered the keynote address. An über entrepreneur, he is the Founder & Managing Director of LivingHomes and the CEO of Plant Prefab, companies that work together to design and develop modern, prefabricated homes that combine world-class architecture with an unparalleled commitment to healthy and sustainable construction. Glenn discussed the opportunities and challenges of prefabrication and the strategies he uses to create LEED Platinum level homes for all strata of society. A designer in attendance remarked: “The keynote was very effective. It was great to have public-interest design represented.”

Continuing Education: Although many CEUs received rave reviews, the two most talked about were:

  • Understanding the Disability Community and Exceeding the Minimum Standards of Access presented by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ Director of Advocacy Chase Bearden & Policy Intern Spencer Cook. Both speakers are wheelchair-bound and have additional physical challenges. One audience member told us: “This course exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed the examples, and it helped me to look with a new perspective on not only complying with standards, but also thinking design solutions through with an empathetic perspective.”

  • Create Better Spaces: Autistic-Friendly Designs presented by interior designers Julie Truong and Jackie Wheat, RID, LEED AP with Principal Kelly Baughman, all with Houston A&D firm PDR. The panel emphasized that by understanding all human experience through research, we can create better spaces and serve all who inhabit them. Truong herself has autism, and despite it being her first public speaking engagement, the reaction of those who attended was overwhelmingly positive: “the best CEU,” “one of my favorites,” and “totally fantastic!” After her talk, Truong herself said that the experience had made her “a stronger person” and thanked us for giving her the opportunity to push past her comfort zone.


Seminars: Two diverse seminars were designed to be of interest and benefit to design, facility and sales professionals, as well as students and manufacturer representatives:

  • Boost Your Brain Performance: Dee O’Neill, MS, LPC, the Senior Clinician and Corporate & Executive Program Manager with the Center for Brain Health, walked her audience through steps to take to revive mental energy, enhance strategic thinking, and incite innovation with healthy brain habits in order to enhance their professional and personal lives.

  • The Statler Reborn: Gale Nall, RID and Lee Fluker, RID of Merriman Anderson Architects explored the challenges and triumphs of their $175 million, four-year renovation of The Statler Dallas. The building, which had been on the “Most Endangered Historic Properties” list, has been transformed into a luxury property with 159 guest rooms, 219 apartments and five food and beverage venues.

  ASID’s Design Pathways offered students an expert panel discussion accompanied by a guided tour of the trade show floor with in-depth discussions with ASID Industry Partners.

ASID’s Design Pathways offered students an expert panel discussion accompanied by a guided tour of the trade show floor with in-depth discussions with ASID Industry Partners.


Student Programming: On the second day of the show, ASID Headquarters presented Design Pathways, which combined a panel discussion with trade show tours. Four experienced design professionals – Nicki Estes, RID, EDAC, ASID, LEED AP ID+C of Perkins+Will; David Euscher, ASID, IIDA, LEED AP of Corgan; Amie Keener, RID, IIDA, LEED AP, CDT of Gensler; and Ana Pinto-Alexander, RID, IIDA, EDAC of HKS – explained to emerging designers why trade shows and conferences are so vital and the importance of participating in them throughout one’s career.

Afterwards, the designers led small groups of students around the trade show floor, visiting manufacturers Armstrong Ceilings, Arizona Tile, Benjamin Moore, Hufcor, Karndean Designflooring, and Sherwin-Williams for presentations and discussions.

Tours: Landmark Sponsor Dallas Market Center partnered with METROCON18 for tours of their Light + Design on TEN showroom. During five one-hour tours over two days, 20-person groups were shuttled to and from the World Trade Center, receiving a guided tour in order to experience the 20,000 SF lighting center that showcases a curated collection of the world’s leading lighting manufacturers and designers.

STANDOUT SUPPORTERS

The planning Committee wholeheartedly thanks Landmark Sponsor Dallas Market Center, Media Sponsor Modern Luxury Interiors Texas, and the 53 other METROCON18 Sponsors, as well as all of this year’s Exhibitors, for their incredible support. Some Exhibitors stood out among the rest. Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 Pegasus Exhibitor Awards!

  WAC Lighting / Modern Forms won the “Best of the Best Award” in the 2018 Pegasus Exhibitor Awards.

WAC Lighting / Modern Forms won the “Best of the Best Award” in the 2018 Pegasus Exhibitor Awards.

  • Best of the Best Award – WAC Lighting / Modern Forms

  • Lean & Green Award – Urban Woods Company

  • Allstar Award – TreeHouse / Dunn Edwards

  • Sizzle Award – Empressive GeoDesigns

  • Instagram-Worthy Award – LDF Silk

  • Mission Award – ASID Texas / ASID Texas Gulf Coast Chapters

NEW IDEAS

From a more open trade show floor plan with expanded visibility to an altered show schedule to benefit both attendees and exhibitors, METROCON implemented many new ideas based on last year’s post-show survey feedback.

  Team 4 representing El Centro College, Texas State University, and the University of North Texas won 1st Place in METROCON’s inaugural Design Charrette.

Team 4 representing El Centro College, Texas State University, and the University of North Texas won 1st Place in METROCON’s inaugural Design Charrette.

Design Charrette: We hosted our first charrette at this year’s event. We reached out to regional interior design and architecture programs, asking them to nominate up to four students to participate in this invitation-only opportunity. Three teams were recognized, with each member of the 1st Place team receiving a $250 Gift Card for school supplies. Congratulations to the winning team [Team 4] made up of the following students:

  • Allison Ray – El Centro College

  • Beatriz Perez – Texas State University

  • Shane Smith – University of North Texas


Campus Quad: For the first time we gave regional academic programs focusing on the built environment the opportunity to publicize their programs, promote the talent they produce, and connect with alumni displays on our trade show floor in our Campus Quad. The following 10 institutions took advantage of the free offer:

  • Collin College

  • Oklahoma State University

  • Stephen F. Austin State University

  • Texas Christian University

  • Texas Tech University

  • The Art Institute of Dallas

  • The Art Institute of San Antonio

  • The University of Oklahoma

  • University of the Incarnate Word

  • University of North Texas


Selfie Spots: We live in the era of social media, and for those manufacturers with products perfect for selfie backdrops, we offered the opportunity to showcase them on one large surface instead of in a traditional booth. Thank you to Speech Privacy Systems for sponsoring and building our three Selfie Spots structures, and kudos to National Wallcovering, Positive Marketing USA, and Wolf Gordon for being guinea pigs for this exhibition experiment.

Mobile Event App: For convenience and environmental reasons, people have asked us to use less paper. We responded by expanding the capabilities of our mobile event app. Instead of using paper surveys, this year attendees provided feedback on educational sessions directly on the app. Also, instead of using printed Booth Bingo cards, attendees used the app to rack up points for a chance to win one of two $100 Visa gift cards. Congratulations to this year’s Booth Bingo winners!

  • Lauren McLain, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C – Architect at University of Texas at Arlington

  • Seanna Ross, RID – Project Coordinator at idGROUP (Austin)

  We partnered with Straydog, a no-kill dog shelter and sanctuary. They are looking for donations of services, time, product and/or money to build a new sanctuary for dogs in need.

We partnered with Straydog, a no-kill dog shelter and sanctuary. They are looking for donations of services, time, product and/or money to build a new sanctuary for dogs in need.


Community Involvement: As this is the Year of the Dog, it inspired us to work with non-profit organization Straydog, a no-kill dog shelter and sanctuary in the Dallas area. Their primary mission was to raise awareness about the important work they do and encourage the adoption of dogs looking for safe and loving homes. However, we were happy to help them with their second mission: seeking resources to construct a new building to serve dogs in need. (This new collaboration got the attention of Dallas television channel The CW33, who joined us the first day of the show and ran a short segment on their 9:00 PM news hour that evening.) If you are interested in donating services, time, products and/or money to help Straydog’s cause, contact them directly through their website, Straydog.org.

STELLAR VOLUNTEERS

Show Manager Laura McDonald Stewart, RID, FASID, IIDA, LEED AP, is extremely thankful to the entire 2018 Committee for their time and dedication to make this valuable event so successful for the entire region (listed in alphabetical order by last name):.

  • Erica Bish, RA – Asst. Program Coordinator

  • Nick Cimms, PMP, CSI, NEWH– Program Coordinator

  • Melinda Crouch, ASID IP Representative – Volunteer Coordinator

  • Lisa DiOnne, Associate IIDA, LEED AP ID+C – Site & Logistics Chair

  • Kenda Draper, ASID, RID, LEED AP ID+C – Co-Chair

  • John DuBard, IIDA, CHID, LEED AP – Past Presiding Chair

  • Stacy Elliston, IIDA, LEED AP, RID – Asst. Ambassador Liaison

  • Courtney Engberg-Hulse, IIDA – Asst. Site & Logistics Chair

  • Dianne Etheredge, ASID, RID – Asst. Sponsor Liaison

  • John Forest, RID, LEED GA, GREEN AP– Asst. Exhibitor Liaison

  • Theresa Harrison, ASID IP Representative – Asst. Volunteer Coordinator

  • Isin King, Allied ASID –Exhibitor Liaison

  • Annette Mallard, ASID, RID – Presiding Chair

  • Bruce McClure, RA – Asst. Program Coordinator

  • Dennis McNabb, FASID – Asst. Ambassador Liaison

  • Marc Migliazzo, LEED GA – Asst. CE Coordinator

  • Jose Montoya, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M – Ambassador Liaison

  • Stacia Pease, LEED AP – Asst. CE Coordinator

  • Rachel Polk, CSI – CE Coordinator

  • Rosemarie René, ASID, RID – Sponsor Liaison

  • Sharon Staley, FASID, RID – Asst. Sponsor Liaison

We also want to express our heartfelt gratitude to the many volunteers who donated their time on-site during the show to assemble attendee tote bags and speaker gift bags, guide attendees, introduce speakers, and monitor CEUs. This event could absolutely not happen without you!

PLAN NOW TO BE A PART OF METROCON19!

Mark your calendar now: METROCON19 Expo & Conference will take place in Dallas on August 8 & 9, 2019. Be sure to sign up to receive notifications to stay informed about attending, presenting, sponsoring, and exhibiting at next year’s event!