Sheet Metal Industry Night features latest technology, donates proceeds to local cancer support group

sheet metal event

By Amy Martens

The technology revolution is here — is your company ready?

In August, SMACNA Greater Chicago hosted its first annual Sheet Metal Industry Night at BuiltWorlds, giving industry professionals valuable insight into emerging technology and best practices.

More intimate in scale than a traditional trade show and aimed at networking, the event drew about 90 participants with more than a dozen booths. SMACNA Greater Chicago’s associate members — including Federated Insurance, Albany Steel & Brass Corporation, Windy City Representatives, SysQue, Air Products Equipment Co., Duro Dyne Corp., Pro Fastening Systems Inc., Long Supply Inc., Vent Products Co. Inc., Porter Pipe & Supply Co., Hatchell & Associates Inc., Trimble and ELFCO — took advantage of the opportunity to display their latest services and technology to members of the architectural, engineering and design communities.

As a bonus, all attendees were entered for a chance to win a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 — chosen for its versatile on-the-go design and wireless capabilities that connect from anywhere. Mike Suggs of Synergy Mechanical, Inc. won the tablet.

“We were just trying to start something again,” said co-organizer Tony Adolfs, SMACNA Greater Chicago executive vice-president. “We used to do this big trade show with 170 booths, but when the market crashed in 2008, our trade show kind of went down with it, so this is something new we’re trying to start out of the ground.”

“We knew we wanted to put on an event downtown to attract the architectural and engineering communities and give them a chance to meet our contractors,” said co-organizer Joe Passannante, operations manager of Cleats Manufacturing. “We wanted to make sure that they’re aware of who our associate members are and what their products and offerings are, and a networking event lets them get to know those people.”

Featured presenters included Bryant Donnowitz, vice-president of customer success at Hard Hat Hub, and Mark Terzigni, SMACNA’s director of engineering and technical resources. As technology’s role in business productivity increases every day, the duo focused on finding the right people for tech-related jobs and which apps they can use to help businesses become more streamlined and profitable.

According to Passannante, Terzigni highlighted several construction apps that can serve as a mobile toolkit for workers. The HVAC duct construction app provides several options for constructing rectangular in accordance with SMACNA standards, while the round industrial duct construction app simplifies complex tables for industrial duct fabrication.

The event also featured another speaker — Jonny Imerman, founder of cancer support group Imerman Angels.

“It’s a charity I’ve known about for a long time, and it’s well known throughout the city,” Passannante said. “Jonny got up and told the story of his battle with cancer, and how he created Imerman Angels as a network of cancer survivors available to help people in similar age groups with the same cancer who need support.”

All ticket proceeds, totaling more than $2,100, were donated to the Chicago-based charity to help further their mission of personalized, one-on-one cancer support.

Energized by the success of the first Sheet Metal Industry Night, organizers are already thinking ahead next year’s event.

“This was the first attempt at a more focused industry event for our members. With the success of it, we’re looking forward to bigger and better things next year!” Adolfs said, noting tentative plans for a fall event.

Visit for details as they become available.

Image: Matt Abeles, co-founder and managing director of BuiltWorlds media; Joe Passannante, co-organizer and operations manager of Cleats Manufacturing; Tony Adolfs, co-organizer and SMACNA Greater Chicago executive vice president; and presenter Bryant Donnowitz, VP of customer success at Hard Hat Hub (fromSMACNA Greater Chicago)


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