Archive for the tag “GAL Canada”

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!


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.

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.

CECA Annual Gathering

Last week Paul Seifried and I shot up to Quebec City for the annual Canadian Elevator Contractors Association gathering. Among all the other activities, we worked a booth along with our Canadian crew Steve Husband, Gaetano Soldano, Randy Brear, and John Surdu. These guys always do a great job of planning, setting up, and working the trade show floor. We highlighted GALaxy controls, 1:1 gearless machines, fixtures, MOVFE operators and a new line of machine guarding – a little something for everyone.

CECA is always fun – it is small and warm – kind of reminds you of NAEC conventions 25 years ago. Between the regularly scheduled events, there are frequent stops in the lobby bar where good friends get a chance for their once-a-year catchup. Too many names to mention them all, but the whole Piquet clan (Riverside Elevator) were regulars, Darren Sullivan (AVT Beckett), Ken and Louise Anderson (retired from Capital Elevator) were on hand – and there was a rare appearance from Andre Bellanger – an icon in the Canadian industry.

CECA drew 36 registered contractors – pretty good count considering Quebec City. These attendees were joined by quite a few locals who attended the trade show on day passes. The CECA Annual General Meeting held a bit of excitement as their leadership worked through if / how to make the university elevator types welcome into CECA.

The city was beautiful, the weather great, the company best of all.

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.

Return Down Under

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.

Weekend in Canuckville

Crazy Weekend in Toronto

Every once in a while, the stars all get into alignment – and life goes straight off the rails! So it was with last weekend.

It started when Linda Husband contacted a bunch of GAL types – including Teresa and me – and let us know she was going to throw a surprise birthday party for Steve on Sat 9/14. (Steve Husband is Vice President of Canadian Operations for GAL and a 25 year friend) She thought it would be nice to send us an invitation as a courtesy – never suspecting we would actually show up.

But show up we did. Teresa and I burned up some of our frequent traveler’s points and made plans to join several of the usual suspects from GAL. Herbie 3 and his wife  Becky, Paul Seifried and his wife Mellissa, and James Varon all decided that Steve’s  50th birthday was good reason to celebrate.

So we all wound up in Toronto on the Friday – And guess what we discovered? Friday was Herb 3’s birthday! Yahoo. So we gathered a group of the usual suspects from the Toronto area and proceeded to celebrate herbs birthday in proper GAL fashion. The group of us from GAL were joined by Andy Reistetter (Chief cook and bottle washer at the National Elevator and Escalator Asso of Canada) and his son Michael (Trident Elevator). Patrick Bothwell ( EHC Global) and his wife Katherine (Executive Director of Canadian Elevator Association) also joined in the merriment

So a play-by-play isn’t possible but the picture attached gives to a bit of an idea about how the night went. This is a wall-sized message board in the bar / restaurant where we were. Andy was in charge of getting a message posted to recognize Herb’s BD. He told the DJ to post this “ Happy B-day Herb III, New York City, GAL” . You can see for yourself how that translated into Canadian! We laughed till it hurt.IMG_1317

It’s hard to imagine, but on night two, the party atmosphere got upped a notch yet. Linda pulled off the perfect ambush. When Steve walked in, it was obvious that he was floored. Some maybe 70 family and friends were there to help him get over the heartbreak of turning 50. Whew, I think half of the Canadian elevator industry was on hand. I would try to name them all but am afraid I would leave someone out.  It is testament to Steve’s personality that so many industry types have become his friends. Music, food, and beverage flowed like from a volcano.  A great time was had by all.

Music, singing, and dancing – and of course Steve’s air guitar (he is the best), went on until the early hours. His family, neighbors and friends mixed seamlessly through the night and everyone agreed that Steve had launched into his second half century in grand style.

Herb 3, James, The Birthday Boy, Paul, and Me. HB Steve!

Herb 3, James, The Birthday Boy, Paul, and Me. HB Steve!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The people in our industry make great friends – anywhere, any time. If you are making your living in the elevator industry, you need to make it your business to get to know the others who are doing the same. Life is much more full and much more fun when you are lucky enough to work with your friends.

Back Down Under

As I type this, I am sitting in Sydney Australia on a Friday evening – the last night of an action packed trip to the land down under. Spent the last week with the guys from Australian Lift Components – ALC represents GAL & Hollister Whitney down here. For the last week I have ping ponged around this country with Chris Carroll, MD of ALC, Wayne Brown, their National Sales Manager, and Doug Carroll who is ALC’s  Technical Manager.

Brownie – Wayne Brown – ALC’s National Sales Manager

We started by flying down to Melbourne last Sunday and spent Monday calling on customers and hosted a party for the consultants group there on Mon nite. We stopped at one final customer’s on Tues AM then caught a flight to Brisbane.  On arrival in Brisbane and began seeing customers as soon as we hit the ground – and finished with a dinner for the Brisbane area consultants. Weds AM we saw one more customer before we caught a flight back to Sydney.  In Sydney on Thurs we called on 4 contractors and then did the consultants dinner again for the locals. Saw a few more customers on Friday and then a very hectic trip came to an end.

I got the feeling that the elevator market in Australia is somewhat stronger that what we have in the US. I had the objective of introducing the Aussies to the MOVFE2500 linear door operator that is coming out of GAL Canada. There was good acceptance. Now we need to work hard with ALC to get the stocking program up and running. Contractors in Australia are used to a 16 week lead time for door operators and we will be able to drastically shift that paradigm. There is a good opportunity here for us.

It’s always good to be able to catch up with the friends I have made in Australia. The Aussie elevator guys are a fun loving and gregarious bunch. This being said, I am looking forward to some sleep on the 20 hours of flights going home.

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…

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