Archive for the tag “Chicago Elevator Association”

Catching Up

So once again it has been way too long since I got around to keeping up this blog. I am going to make another commitment to keeping it current and if I find I can’t do it, I am going to call it off altogether.

Since last I typed, I have been to many elevator industry events, had a million personal and professional wins and losses, traveled thousands of miles, and made lots of new friends.

Looking at my calendar – There was the Anderson Elevator golf and drink fest. I don’t know of another company who does this stuff. The Gibbs clan, supported by some Krygowsky and Chmielewski types, invite a group of customers, consultants, employees and suppliers for a full day of complete insanity over in Michigan City Indiana. Anderson Elevator does it right.

In the same week, Chicago Elevator Association held their annual golf outing to support the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. Glen Duncan – Parts Specialists – was, per usual, the master of ceremonies. I would try to name the whole committee but there is too high a risk of leaving a deserving someone out. I was told that attendance was down some, but that the financials were robust as ever. Going to Chicago is like old home week for me. Good fun with good friends – and oh ya, they also happen to be good customers.

I spent the Thursday between these two events doing some promotion of, and troubleshooting on GALaxy Controls issues with various Urban Elevator types. I’m a peddler, so no one is going to allow me to climb on elevators unescorted. For this outing I was shepherded by Carl Burch – by acclamation, this is one of the genuine good guys in our industry. Carl plays both a tech support and sales role for GAL – and does both spectacularly. He is a pleasure to work with and does GAL and Hollister Whitney proud every day.

I left Chicago Saturday AM for our home in Georgia. My / our world went into a tailspin when Teresa’s dear mother passed away on Sunday. There is no way this sort of event can be related in this blog. Granny Annie was the matriarch of an extended family and a loving soul who had become friends with many of our elevator friends. The outpouring of warmth from the industry, and the number of elevator types who came to Granny’s wake to support Teresa, still brings tears to my eyes.

From this emotional nadir, a week later, Teresa and I went, along with Dick and Carol Vinciquerra (AFD Industries) up to visit our great friends the McDuffys (Pine State Elevator). Steve and Chris are the consummate hosts at their ‘camp’ on Long Island – offshore from Portland Maine. It’s always crazy fun to get together with them and this year was certainly no exception. I cannot imagine an atmosphere more full of laughter from sun up to sundown. Some of the things that happen in Maine just have to stay in Maine.

My “check liver light” had just quit flashing when the next week, a group of friends snuck into a quiet, quaint little B& B in Pennsylvania to surprise Rick Kennedy (Kencore Elevator) by announcing that he would be this year’s recipient of the William C Sturgeon Award. He was so caught off guard. Marv Schumacher (Schumacher Elevator and awards committee chair) made the formal introduction. He was followed at the mic by daughter Karen Dodds who gave us the personal side of this guy – whew – she is impressive in her own right. Cas (wife) and all of Ricks kids were there, along with his ‘adopted’ exchange students and quite a gathering of well-wishers. Mike Pashke and Bob Kazar (Canton Elevator), Dick Vinciquerra (AFD), Pete Meeks (Delaware Elevator), Phil Reid (Premier Elevator). I know I left some out. This was the first time I have ever seen Rick at a loss for words. A fun fun evening to honor a great man and good friend.

Teresa and I, along with a contingent from the Kennedy / WCS surprise group drove the next day up to casa Witham in New Jersey, changed clothes, and got a car service to take us down to (and more importantly back from) the annual cruise around NY sponsored by the NY chapter of the International Association of Elevator Consultants. It was a beautiful night on a great yacht – to cruise down the Hudson, out to the Statue of Liberty, around the tip of Manhattan, up the East River past the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and then turn around and do it all again in reverse – all in the company of some 300 elevator types – all of whom were enjoying spectacular food and drink. If you are part of the elevator industry in any fashion, put this excursion on your bucket list. Magical.

A week later – the Friday of Labor Day weekend, my mom had a heart attack. All is well now, she is recovering fine, but I needed to shoot out to San Diego to be with her for several days and help get her out of the hospital. Whew, at this stage I’m saying to myself “stop the world, I want to get off” – but no time to rest yet.

I got back from San Diego to LaGuardia at 7:00 PM Weds, shot home, repacked, and flew to San Antonio for the 65th annual NAEC convention and trade show at 7:20 AM on Thur. What a great gathering. Teresa and her staff pull this off with ever-increasing finesse every year. Some 2000 attendees, 200+ exhibits, banquets, parties, meetings, exhibits – an absolute whirlwind of elevator activity spread over the four or five days.

I get a chance to see, hug, toast, and break bread with many many very long time friends. I enjoy nothing more that being a representative of GAL and Hollister Whitney at the NAEC. We showcased lots of new and innovative products. This year there were 13 of us who pulled out all the stops to show off our equipment and to throw a proper GAL / HW party to say thanks to our customers.

GAL HW Award Winning Booth at NAEC

GAL HW Award Winning Booth at NAEC

So here’s the payoff – after I’ve been running full tilt boogie for 3 – 4 months without much of a breather, the crazy good crew from GAL, GAL Canada, and Hollister Whitney wins the award at the NAEC for the best island booth. Grins all around. Life is very good.

I promise, I will either blog more frequently so they are not novel length, or I will give it up. Stay tuned and soon you will know.

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Catching Up

I have fallen way behind in keeping up with this blog. Just too much to get done and too short on time.

Since I sat down to blog last, I have be bouncing around like a crazy man – I always learn a lot from these forays – it sometimes amazes me how much I don’t know about elevators. A lot of it , per usual, has been fun.

In early August I spent several days in the Chicago area doing elevator stuff. Gregg Gibbs of Anderson Elevator gathered his favorite group of elevator crazies for a day of fun in Michigan City IN. The whole Anderson Elevator family came out to play. Also got to catch up with Ron Selke – and OLD friend from the days when life was much more dangerous.

Friday of that week was the Chicago Elevator Association golf outing so, painful as it was, I had to stay. Glenn Duncan said that total attendance was down but that sponsorships were still growing. Their tournament is held for the benefit of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. Going to Chicago is still like old home week for me.

Mid August the usual group of pilgrims made the trek up to Long Island Maine where Steve and Chris McDuffie (Pine State Elevator) once again blew us away with wine and warmth. When you hear the term Island life you usually think of the Caribbean or South Pacific – well, Island life in Maine is no less interesting or fun. One afternoon we all hopped onto The Blue Nun (Steve’s boat) and motored over to another island for a spectacular lunch with amazing views of the Maine coast.

More recently I got together with a group of elevator types in a Manhattan restaurant to surprise this year’s William C Sturgeon Award winner with the news. Trouble with this one is that it won’t be public till the NAEC convention so I can’t spill the beans.

Teresa and I had a house full of guests for the annual IAEC Boat cruise around New York a couple of weeks ago. It was a great night – beautiful weather. In a bid to spice things up a bit, the consultants set up gambling tables on the boat – fun stuff. There are a lot of people who come to NY just for this event.

Got to shoot up to Boston and play golf in the Mass Elevator Safety Asso. outing. Rollie and Mark did their usual outstanding job and the weather was better than I ever remember it being. Mark Yako and I played host for Tom Horan of Fujitec and Neil Hussey of Stanley Elevator. We had a ball even if none of us played particularly well.

For Labor Day weekend, Dick and Carol Vinciquerra (AFD Industries) invited us over to their home in Canton OH. We got in a little bit of golf and a great deal of fun – Including being invited to Mike and Patti Paschke’s ( Canton Elevator) for what is turning into an annual event – their ‘corn roast’.

Whew – I caught up – but it starts again tonight. Bob Kazar, Mike Paschke of Canton Elevator, and Dustin Witham (Midwest Elevator) are in route to NY right now. The four of us will meet Chris Dodds (Kencore Elevator) sometime in the middle of the night tonight and take off for a couple of days of offshore tuna fishing. Hopefully next week I can show you a couple of 100 lb + Big Eye tunas!

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