Archive for the month “April, 2014”

IAEC in Denver

Mark Yako and I attended the IAEC Annual Forum last week in Denver. The International Association of Elevator Consultants grew out of what was once called NAVTP – National Association of Vertical Transportation Professionals (a mouthful that everyone was happy to see go by the wayside)

Vendors are invited to set up tabletop displays which the consultants avail themselves of during breaks and lunches. There is also an opening reception and silent auction for the benefit of the EESF that were held in amongst the exhibits. It is really good, casual, one-on-one time with consultant friends. Needless to say there is a lot of elevator yick yack.

The meat of the forum is two days of educational presentations by various experts on their topics. Mark, as is always his style, did a stellar presentation on the topic of Non-Proprietary MRL’s – I can hear yawns from all you non-elevator types, but he stirred up a very lively conversation and Q & A session. Although at Hollister Whitney, we don’t really build an MRL package, we build all of the key components to a very high standard. Mark made a very strong case for sticking with non-proprietary equipment.

As is always the case when some faction of the industry gathers, I got to catch up with a couple of old friends. Mark, Teresa, and I broke bread (OK and a couple of adult beverages) one night with John Donnelley and Leo Fenili – brought back some great memories of my Chicago days. Hanie Lancaster is a Denver Based consultant. We became friends in 1986 when he was part of the acquisition team working through the Westinghouse purchase of Adams Elevator. Hanie invited me on an elk hunt some 10 years ago – had a ball.

We also had a very pleasant dinner with Don Taylor and Landon Scott (along with his delightful wife Courtney) – key players at Centric Elevator. Centric has to be the largest independent contractor in Denver, and has several other offices in the West and Northwest – great customers – and Don and I go back a long way. Don and his wife Sue are a golfing couple, and Teresa and I had a chance to tee it up with them back when they still lived in Phoenix.

All in all, IAEC was very good from a business as well as a monkey business standpoint.

One side note – and I don’t know if there is any connection to the legalization of pot in the state of Colorado – but the locals that were hanging around the convention center area were a shaggy crew. Lots of downtrodden and unwashed, begging on the street. Not a pleasant atmosphere. The weekend prior, Denver celebrated 420 (and I’m so dated that I didn’t even know what that was till I got there). It is a huge pot party celebrated every year on April 20th. Maybe we witnessed the dregs of the 420 celebration. In fairness, I also have to say that the restaurant district showed itself very very well.

On other side note – Teresa and I traveled from Denver to Indianapolis for the NRA Annual National Convention. What a ball. Ken & Barb Garst (Great Lakes Elevator / Chicago) joined up with us a couple of days of fun and learning – and nights of eating and drinking. On Friday we listened to quite a lineup of pro – second amendment, conservative speakers. Cruz, Rubio, Santorum, Lavin, McConnell, and others. Then on Sat, I got to walk the show floor with my son Dustin (Mid West Elevator / St Louis), and spend the evening with him and his wife Lauren as well as my “Gerber Baby Beautiful” granddaughter Layla. I’m still smiling!


Fun in the sun with a gun

People who know me recognize this question: “Who has more fun than we do?” It comes jumping out of my mouth rather frequently – and it did again last Friday.

The event was named “Sporting Clays For Charity”. Nick Montesano, owner of DTM Elevator Consulting, deserves the kudo’s for coming up with this plan. It is absolute genius. He is also taking credit for the weather – sunny and 70 – for mid April that’s about as good as it gets around here.

So a whole bunch of elevator types (Contractors, Consultants, and Suppliers) get to spend a day together pursuing an activity that they all really enjoy, and at the same time raise money for a couple of very worthy charities – perfect! Who has more fun that we do?

Do you know Sporting Clays? It’s a little like golf – but with a shotgun. (you do ride around in a golf cart) There are 10 stations to shoot from and each attempts to duplicate some sort of hunting situation. Each participant shoots 100 rounds. (makes your shoulder sore huh, John). There are targets that come from overhead, under your feet, right to left, and left to right. There are even clays that bounce across the ground imitating a rabbit. If you like shotgunning, this is nirvana.

Michael Bonardi, Yours Truly, and John Sweeney. A day of sporting clays for charity

Michael Bonardi, Yours Truly, and John Sweeney. A day of sporting clays for charity

It is a very social game as well. Our squad consisted of a couple of really good friends – Michael Bonardi from D & D Elevator and John Sweeney from Jersey Elevator and me. We goofed on each other for the misses, congratulated each other on the good shots, and generally giggled our way through the 3 hour round. Who has more fun than we do?

The event was held at the Peconic River Sportsman’s Club in Manorville NY (I think this is about 15 miles due east of London England – a loooong way out on Long Island) The charities were The Visitation Academy – a special school for young ladies, and The Freeport Junior Club – a group dedicated to teaching young people about the safety and fun associated with shooting. Nick Montesano and I both have a passion for introducing people to the shooting sports.

Good friends, good fun, good weather, good food, good cause.

Who has more fun than we do?

ECNY Does It Again

The ECNY Supplier Showcase is a regional event like no other. I wish I had asked about the details but because I didn’t, here are my guesses (hopefully a reader will know the facts)

I’m guessing that last Weds marked the fifth year for this event – where the Elevator conference of New York allows vendors from all over the country to come and show their stuff to the contractors and consultants from the New York area. Even in its first year you could see the potential. Suppliers jumped at the opportunity to come to NY and have the opportunity to meet and talk with locals, many of whom may not be there for the national events. And even in the first year, the contractors came out in droves. The ECNY leadership knew they had an instant hit.

I’m guessing there were 50 booths. Suppliers came from New York of course, but also from, in no particular order, Ohio, Illinois, Arkansas, Minnesota, Delaware, Missouri, California, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, and I am sure from other places that I don’t remember. It’s crazy fun to walk thru these small isles and greet so many friends from around the country. Again a guess – there were some 10 new exhibitors this year. It is going to be difficult to stay in the current facility.

I’m guessing that there were some 300 contractors – maybe more. And the neat thing is that many of the NY area companies have their purchasing, engineering, and field supervision types there – people that you don’t get a chance to see and talk with at most of the national events. You might think that because GAL is in the Bronx that this is no biggie, but you’d be wrong. We have a great chance to get face to face with a lot of our best customers and show them what we’ve done lately. We consider it a terrific opportunity.

GAL introduced GALaxy 4 – the next generation of controls which has been recently released on a limited basis. We had a GAL Canada MOVFE linear operator running in the booth and we also demonstrated a new panel that can upgrade older controls so that they meet the NY DOB’s retroactive requirements for lock monitoring and protection against unintentional motion. Andrea Magaziner deserves special recognition for having organized this effort on behalf of all of us at GAL, HW, and GAL Canada.

The upshot? I’m guessing that this event will continue to grow in popularity. I’m guessing that more and more vendors will find the value in attendance. And I’m guessing that contractor ranks will also keep growing as everyone discovers the tremendous amount of learning that can get packed into a single day. That’s my guess

NAEC Educational Seminar

I am writing on the last day of the NAEC Midyear Educational Conference in Sanibel Fla. It has been a great week of education and camaraderie. My sweetheart Teresa, along with Faye, and Shawn, the NAEC staff on-site, pulled this event off in flawless fashion and the Sanibel Harbor Resort proved to be an outstanding venue.

After several solid days of education, a fishing foray, a couple of very fun nights and few chances to tee up that little white ball, I hate to see it come to an end. Brian Musholt, Mark Yako and I have been here representing GAL and Hollister Whitney, and we were joined for two days by Walt Glaser, Paul Seifried, and James Varon who shared the customer contact responsibilities and enjoyed a much needed break from the cold weather up north. Steve Husband, from GAL Canada, is on the NAEC Board of Directors and so his attendance is mandatory. On top of this crew, Tony Glick from GAL did an educational session on the installation and adjustment of the MOVFR and MOVFE door operators.

I chaired a committee for NAEC to develop a specification data base. With tremendous help from Amanda Smith at NAEC, we wrapped up our task, and I had the pleasure of introducing it during the supplier general session here. It was really well received and I think it will become a key member service from the association. If you need an explanation, just call Amanda at NAEC.

The weather came and went thru the week with some days being warm and sunny while others were cool and overcast. On Sunday I went backwater fishing (we caught maybe 35 fish) with my Ohio friends, Dick Vinciquerra of AFD, and Mike Paschke and Bob Kazar of Canton Elevator. Got a bit too much sun without realizing it. So Monday, as luck would have it, it was pretty much cool and cloudy, and I stayed in the educational sessions without missing any of the sunshine.

The official golf tournament is this afternoon and the day looks great for it. I have a reunion foursome set up, Dickie V, Perry Burch from Nashville, and Jack Higgs from Quality Elevator in the DC area. The four of us have teed it up frequently over the last 30 years. John Curzon, Ensota from the UK, has a bum shoulder and can’t play so he is renting a pontoon boat and taking a bunch of ladies for an excursion – can you sing ‘a three hour cruise?’ I’m trying to get someone to label the boat The SS Minnow.

Anyhow, great interaction, friendship, education and recreation in Sanibel Florida with a record number of attendees, in a great setting – way fun. If you don’t have the NAEC Midyear Educational Seminar on your radar, you are missing a grand industry event. You need to be part of it.

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