I was away last week on my annual foray to the land down under. Steve Husband, who is VP and GM at GAL Canada came along this year. Rounding out our merry band was Iain Elliot, the new Sales and Customer Service Manager at ALC (Australian Lift Components – our partners in OZ) and my good friend Wayne Brown, ALC’s National Sales Manager.
Steve Husband was huge on this trip because we were pushing the MOVFE 2500 linear door operator which is built at GAL Canada. We got quite a good reception from the Australian contractors as well as the consultants. Linear style door operators have become the standard in this market so I think they were comfortable with this one. Most of the competing products come from either Asia or Europe and are not as robust as the MOVFE – and ALC are able to price them competitively. Having a superior product at a lower price makes sales trips fun.
Well, fun in a fashion. This trip can really be a test. It starts by living 14 to 15 hours ahead of yourself (I left NY on a Thurs about noon and arrived in Sydney on Sat morning) that time change can be a killer. We hit three cities, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney and a typical day most often had 4 customer calls followed by a party for a group of consultants at night. Then the next day, we would either do it again or get on an airplane and move on. Lots of late nights followed by early mornings – talking, driving, presenting, eating, presenting, drinking, and flying – whew, by the time we poured ourselves on an airplane for the 22 hour trip home, we were out of gas.
Over the years, quite a few of the people who started out as either customers or consultants have become friends. Several have made the time to come visit in New York and others make a point of breaking bread or raising a glass every time I get out their way. I missed one of my good friends this year. Paul Holden, who has been the owner of Electra Lifts ever since I have known him, sold his business to Otis. Yes, it happens down under just like here. Independents contractors grow and sell. It’s the cycle of life in the elevator industry. As much as continents, being a world apart, can make lives dissimilar, elevator people have so much in common that it offsets any difference. It’s a good thing.