The Steel Erectors Association of Americaannounces that Kayleen McCabe, the winner of DIY Network’s Stud Finder competition and longtime host of TV’s Rescue Renovation, will headline the association’s 2019 convention program.

Kayleen McCabe

The 47th Annual Convention and Trade Show will be held April 24-26, 2019 in Charlotte/Concord, N.C. McCabe is a licensed contractor and industry ambassador. Her work focuses on tightening the skills gap, encouraging women to enter a male-dominated field, and showing alternative paths to the traditional college route. During her presentation, “Trades in the 21st Century,” she will share her story and discuss the need to restore dignity to crafts as a profession.

“I starting taking the SAT, ACT in 7th grade—on level with super nerd. All through high school it was AP classes, and college prep. But it wasn’t anything that made me happy. As I was about to graduate, the counselor asked me what I was going to do. I said I wanted to be a welder. There is something magical about being under a hood…” said McCabe.

After dropping out of college and taking a rambling career path that ultimately led her to a successful career in do-it-yourself television, McCabe learned yet another truth. “The fallacy of do-it-yourself TV shows is that it gives the impression that someone with no skill or training can remodel a kitchen in the time it takes to have a three-course meal. I’m a smart person, but I didn’t get the Pythagorean Theorem until I was on a job site for the first time.”

“I want people to know that there are lifelong opportunities, and careers that blossom into other things in commercial and industrial construction. Yes, it takes training on par with a bachelor’s degree,” she said. But the benefits are that the money is great, and the work is rewarding, she explained.

In addition to the keynote presentation by McCabe, attendees can attend other sessions for managers or field level personnel, visit the Trade Show where exhibitors will have live equipment demos, and participate in networking activities. Attendees won’t want to miss the George R. Pocock Memorial Golf Tournament or fishing on Lake Norman, the Gala Dinner and Awards Banquet at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Club, or the NHRA drag racing event at the conclusion of the convention. Get more information and registration online at–trade-show.html.