Archive for the tag “EESF”

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

Whew, life is flying by – and I’ve been lagging in updating this blog. I have been lucky enough to attend several fun industry events recently.

On June 4th, I met Mark Yako in Chicago where we tag-teamed a full blown customer product presentation. Mark has this stuff down to an art and he is well known and respected in the Chicago area. Fun stuff. We went separate ways with different elevator groups for a while in the afternoon which gave me a chance to catch up with (share an adult beverage) my good friend Mark Kosiara from Urban Elevator.

The evening of June 4th was the annual Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation Boat Ride fund raiser. Some 160 Elevator types enjoyed a cruise on Lake Michigan on the Spirit Of Chicago. Barbara Allen, Executive Director of the Foundation, was on board to say thanks. I guess I don’t know the entire committee who puts this together but I know that Ed Chmielewski (Anderson Elevator) and Cornelius Walls (Formula Systems) put a lot of effort into it. I couldn’t make it, but Corn had a group of friendlies out to Wriggly for the Cubs game the night before. Having two elevator related events in a row, makes this trip really attractive to out-of-towners.

The next week – June 8, 9, and 10, Hollister Whitney and GAL hosted our annual Consultants gathering in Quincy Il. This is always a great opportunity for us to show off our stuff and this year was no exception.

In a classroom setting, Rick Cahoon and Doug Deitrich delivered formal presentations on PMAC Gearless machines, and the other MRL components coming out of Hollister. Steve Husband covered the MOVFE door equipment coming from Canada. Doug did a return engagement to explain the G model Rope grippers followed by Mark Duckworth’s presentation of GAL’s newly released GALaxy IV control. Frank Marchese batted clean-up covering our new FM and FMG products.

In the afternoon, the whole group spread out and got a close look at the Hollister Whitney factory and test tower. It is really fun to show visitors through these facilities. Hollister’s factory is clean and modern. Every year there are new and more sophisticated machines on the floor. And the people at Hollister are second to none. They are engaged, competent, and friendly – always willing to explain our processes to any interested visitor.

Lest it should sound like it was all work, I’ll also tell you that we had cocktails and dinner on a riverboat on the Mississippi on Monday night. On Tues, Frank Musholt hosts a big bash at his house on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. It is a spectacular under-the-tent event where everyone mingles, laughs, and shares elevator stories. During the evening, we shoot clay pigeons and hit golf balls, and then after dinner, the night ends in an unbelievable display of fireworks.

I have to mention Kathy Guifoyle (Hollister) – whew – She does all of the logistics and organization necessary to fly this group of 28 into St Louis, gather, move ‘em to Quincy, arrange the lodging, meals, and transportation back to St Louis and then flights home. Quite a feat. All of the consultants love Kathy before this event is over.

OK – I got caught up. No pics cause I have no time. Next week there is the Pop / Joe outing in NY and then a group NAEC Directors are going to come tour at GAL. I’ll do my best write up some feedback.

A Sad Day Indeed

William C. Sturgeon
Credit: Elevator World Announcement

The elevator world is saddened as word spreads about the passing of William C Sturgeon.
If, and I think it is debatable, there has ever been another man who has been as impactful in our industry, it would have to be Elisha Graves Otis himself.
If you have the word elevator or escalator on your business card, your world has been affected by contributions from Bill Sturgeon. In 1961 he was chosen the elevator industry’s Man of the Year and in 1995 the National Association of Elevator Contractors created the William C. Sturgeon Distinguished Service Award to be given annually to the member of the industry making the greatest contribution to the well-being of the elevator field. Sturgeon is also a founding member of NAEC, the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association, The National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities and the Elevator/Escalator Safety Foundation. The exclamation mark on his spectacular career was the founding of Elevator World (the magazine) in 1953. Elevator World and the elevator world owe Bill Sturgeon a debt of gratitude.
I am not close at all to the Space Elevator design competition, but I know this. If the space elevator ever pushes up anywhere near heaven, we now have someone on the other side who is pulling.
Godspeed William C Sturgeon.

Elevator World Announcement
The Birmingham News Obituary

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