Archive for the category “GAL Family of Companies”

Return to the Land Down Under

I’m just back from a whirlwind tour of the East side of Australia. When I left NY it was still cold and very snowy – you can imagine the relief on landing in the Southern Hemisphere. Steve Husband (VP Canada for GAL) and I were down under attempting to stir up some more sales for the GAL Canada linear design door operator as well as the Hollister Whitney PMAC Machines.

We began calling on customers for two days in the Brisbane area. Our stay concluded with Iian Elliot and Wayne Brown from Australian Lift Components, our partners in Australia, hosting a dinner and presentation to a group of the local elevator consultants.

The next morning, we jumped aboard a Quantas flight down to the thriving area surrounding Melbourne. Here we did a repeat – a couple of days stopping in to see customers and then a night out with the consultants. There were a lot of construction cranes reaching for the sky in Melbourne and the elevator types confirmed that the market there is very robust.

I’ve been to Australia often enough that some of the consultants have become friends. John Whitfield and Ross De La Rue have both come to NY to visit and it’s always fun for me to catch up with them when I get to their back yard.

Next, we were off for Sydney. Steve and I spent part of one day there helping ALC straighten out their GAL parts inventory. The consultants night out was moved up to Monday so that I could attend before heading to the airport Tues for the long trip home.

It was a very promising trip. We still do not have the market share that we believe we should – but along with some good moves from ALC, we think we will grow more quickly in the future than we have in the past.

So here’s one for you: I left Sydney at noon on Tues – St Patricks Day. After flying for 13 + hours, I landed in LA at 8:00AM Tues – St Patricks Day. Flew from LA to JFK and landed at 5:30 on Tues St Patricks Day! When the clock struck Midnight on Tue Mar 17, my St Patricks Day had been 39 hours long! There ought to be a way to take advantage of days like that!

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.

Asansor 2013

IMG_0765Asansor 13

This is quite a show. There are some 400 suppliers with booths and they are talking about some 20 – 25000 attendees. Final numbers will take some time to tabulate. My guts tell me that it could grow to be bigger than Interlift. It is a lot easier to get here, it’s a less expensive destination, there is plenty of expansion room and the booth space costs less, the city is larger and more cosmopolitan. I think that Asansor has a lot going for it.

Our Turkish partners are experimenting with a lot of methods of getting attention to the Ropegripper. They run monthly ads in the industrial magazines, do trade shows like this, have an ongoing conversation with the government types in Turkey and on this trip they arranged for a television crew to do an interview – so along with some of the others, I am going to be on TV in Istanbul on a Sunday morning show that features small local businesses.

Still it’s frustrating. There are still a ton of geared traction machines installed in this area of the world and the code here (EN81) requires protection against unintentional movement of the elevator – but there are a couple of stumbling blocks that are keeping us from having a blockbuster product. First, the code is just not being enforced in most places. This is especially true here and in the Middle East. We also have a major challenge with cost / price. We looked at geared machines at the show that sell for the equivalent of $1500 US. When someone is paying $1500 for their machine a $1000 Ropegripp is a tough add-on.

Neither of these problems true across the board and neither is insurmountable. We will keep taking our at-bats and sooner or later, we’ll start hitting the home runs. The competing products we saw here are not equivalent quality.

Got a chance to catch up with a group of elevator friends this week. Rudolph and Tristan from Switzerland, John and Pat from the UK, Eduard from Spain, Norman and Monica from Germany.  There were very few Americans – T Bruce from Elevator World and Greg Maroukian from Precision Escalator, and the three of us –  but I’m betting this will change once word gets around about how large and successful this show is.

The upshot: Istanbul is a great destination, the Turkish people are incredible hosts, and Asansor is a good show. I look forward to being back here in two years.

Tough Stuff

Some of you probably know that my son Dustin is also in the elevator industry – Midwest Elevator in St Louis. He called me last night and told me this story and then sent me this email today. Yikes – that GAL sure makes some rugged stuff!
See Dustin’s email and photo below:

Dad,

Last weekend one of our technicians on call responded to a service request at the Post Office Annex downtown St. Louis.  He found the car on the lowest landing.  When he opened the hall doors, he saw that the car doors were already open (or so he thought).  Then he realized the car doors weren’t there.  He thought for a second that the person who placed the service call mixed up buildings or addresses and that we were in the middle of a modernization.  Then he looked up for the header and door operator and saw everything wedged in the hoistway about 36” above the car top.

See attached picture.  We determined that a contractor working in the building on the 3rd floor had an arm full of 18” 2×4’s and one had fallen off on the way out of the elevator.  The contractor kept going with his arms full intending to come back for the piece that fell.  When he returned he found the elevator down. Read more…

We survived Sandy

We at GAL have received many many calls from concerned friends about how we fared during hurricane Sandy.  The upshot is that – especially compared to a many others, we are doing fine.

On Monday last week, the subways, trains, and busses were already shut down in anticipation of Sandy hitting later in the day. Of the 300 or so people who work here in the Bronx, some 90 made it to work. Early in the day, they began to announce bridge speed restrictions – and a very large percentage of us need to cross one bridge or another in order to get home. At 10:30, fearing that they would soon close the bridges, we closed and sent everyone home – and announced at that time that we would also be closed on Tues.

It is testimony to the loyalty and dedication of the GAL people that we re-opened on Weds. We were nowhere near full staff, but were able to operate. Thurs, as power was restored to more homes and the busses and subways began some limited service, we were beginning to get back into the swing of things and by Friday, were pretty much firing on all eight again.

There will probably be a small blip in deliveries schedules, but in anticipation of some need for quick turn-around, we are planning to pre-build products like hydro controls which are likely to have gone under water in lower Manhattan. Hopefully we will be able to help customers who need them quickly.

Everyone is being very inventive about finding and conserving gasoline – and sharing information about where and when you might find some available – but aside from this, I think GAL has been pretty much able to put Sandy behind it. A big thank you to everyone who expressed their concern. And now we are told we can expect a NorEaster to roll in here on Weds – cross your fingers and say a prayer for those who are still struggling with heat and shelter.

Euro Lift

Well, Euro lift did not disappoint. It was a well organized and well attended elevator exposition. Some 110 exhibitors participated. Show management said that they would send me the attendance numbers after they are totaled – but we stayed busy for all of the first two days saw some visitors on the third. Probably really would only need to be a two day show. Read more…

United Elevator Show – Part 2 (and Video)

I blogged a little earlier about Elevator U and the opportunity I see to welcome their members into NAEC in some new membership category.

At the United In Atlantic City event, I was given some time at the podium during the combined NAEC & CECA Suppliers General Session to make my case to the assemble membership. I thought it went over very well. There were no objections raised and it seemed to me that those in attendance thought that this may in fact be a good idea for everyone involved. Read more…

United Elevator Show – Part 1

The whole GAL / Hollister / GAL Canada Gang – taken from the second story of the booth

So the United In Atlantic City event was last week. I’ll write a couple of blurbs about the going’s on there – but first an overview for those who might not belong to one of the industries associations.
United is a joint convention that includes participation from NAEC, (National Asso. Of Elevator Contractors – who does almost all of the organization), and IAEC (International Asso. of Elevator Consultants), CECA (Canadian Elevator Contractors Asso) and NAESA International (National Asso. of Elevator Safety Authorities). This was the third time that all of the groups have combined – Toronto in 2005, Orlando in 2009, and now Atlantic City. Read more…

One Price

One of the things that GAL and Hollister Whitney hold on to that is a little different in the elevator industry is their one-price policy. Yep – no quantity discount – ever – period.

This philosophy is rooted deep in the psyche of the company. It is based on a couple of unique principles that are held near and dear by us. For the sake of this explanation, when I use the pro noun ‘we’ or ‘us’, I am referring to the combination of GAL and Hollister Whitney. Read more…

Oh, Canada

As of October 1, 2012, GAL Canada and ECI Canada will be merging into one company – GAL Canada.

I spent most of last week up in Canukville – Canada – Got a chance to catch up with my good friend and GAL Canadian VP – Steve Husband. We called on customers and snuck in a round of golf with Mark Braden and Mike Alcott – neither are customers but they are both icons in the Canadian elevator industry. Also broke bread with Andy Reistetter and his boys – Andy is the chief Arbitrator / negotiator/ bottle washer at NEEA, and the boys are both mod mechanics at Trident Elevator – one of the best contracting businesses in North America – what a good elevator family. We had a fun night telling stories. Read more…

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