Archive for the tag “GAL Manufacturing”

Mid Atlantic Elevator Chapter Golf Outing

The night before the annual MAEC golf outing, we had a great night out with John Warring III and his crew from Warfield and Sanford Elevator. It’s altogether too rare that we get a chance to break bread – and always a crazy fun nite. And do you know Jerry’s Seafood restaurant? There are a couple of them in the DC area – whew – they do a “Crab Bomb” entrée. I’ll just tell you that it is aptly named.

Does it seem like there’s been a lot of golf outings lately – ya, I agree. The Mid Atlantic Elevator Chapter held their outing on Weds October first. And a good day it was too. Great weather, very nice course,(Lake Presidential Club in Upper Marlboro MD), and I had the excellent company of my good friends Bob Kazar and Mike Paschke from Canton Elevator and Dick Vinciquerra from AFD.

The round itself was a death march. It took over 6 hours to play an 18 hole scramble. At an outing everyone plays as slow as the slowest group – not too much you can do about that – except the ranger on the course was brain dead –couldn’t figure out why / where the holdup was. Nice guy, just not so bright.

The MAEC is a hybrid. It is actually a chapter of NAEC – as opposed to most regional associations who stand on their own. NAEC provides all kinds of support and organization for the group. Kudos go to Shawn Cowden who was the staff member assigned and on site for the outing. I know he enjoys this sort of work (it shows) and the event wouldn’t come off without his efforts.

The emcee chores at the banquet are ably handled by Jeff Kneuer of Innovation Industries, and Mark Yako of GAL. These guys know how to run a raffle. Fun and funny and fast. It’s always good to rub shoulders with the DC elevator group.


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.

Elevator U at Ames

I spent last week in Ames, Iowa – Iowa State University – at the annual gathering of Elevator U. This is a hybrid group of elevator types. All are involved with large numbers of elevators – mostly on university campuses. Some are advisory and some have crews who do maintenance and repairs on their equipment.

This is a great group of people for GAL and Hollister Whitney. They tend to like the same things that we are good at. High quality, non-proprietary elevator equipment is important to the people charged with keeping this equipment running economically and for a full life expectancy. I was joined there by Mark Yako of GAL and Brian Musholt and Doug Deitrich of Hollister Whitney. At our booth, we had a really good opportunity to spread the news about all of the new products and product improvements coming out of both of our companies.


Marv Schumacher and I look over a Hollister gearless machine in the Schumacher factory

On Tuesday, all of the attendees took a road trip to Denver Iowa and the Schumacher Elevator headquarters and factory. These guys have been great customers and friends for more years than I can remember. Marv, Helen, and Jeff Schumacher, Mark Treatow and all of the folks at Schumacher made us very welcome and gave us a close look at their very impressive manufacturing operations. I know, because Hollister is also in a remote location, how fun it is to show off when you get the rare opportunity to have visitors. These guys get it and pulled out all the stops – good stuff for everyone.


The whole crew shows up at Schumacher Elevator

43 suppliers set up their booths to show their stuff to some 150 attendees – a record attendance number for this event. A social event – cocktails and dinner –  held right on the expo floor on Weds night was really well received and gave everyone a chance to mingle and talk – making a neat combination of party and product. During the night, a silent auction was held for the benefit of the EESF – the bidding wars generated a lot of friendly chuckles.

Congratulations go to Don Neilsen and his cohorts at Iowa State University for hosting a very organized and well orchestrated event on their campus. And kudos also to Terri Flint, Steve Pydynowski, Brad O’Guynn, Don Ross, Ed Jaskowak, Tom Sybert and Glenn Duncan who all contributed to making this happen. Nice work all around.

Consultants In Quincy

Blog – Consultants in Quincy

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week Hollister Whitney and GAL hosted our annual Consultants Visit To Quincy – We have been doing for the last 10 years and it is, with the possible exception of an NAEC convention, the best thing we do to raise industry awareness of all things new at our companies.

Holloster Whitney and GAL host our consultant friends

Holloster Whitney and GAL host our consultant friends

It starts with our guests flying into StLouis on Monday morning. Consultants (30 this year) gather from all over North America at an airport hotel where we have a light lunch and then, after everyone has arrived, we take a coach for the 2 ½ hour trip up to Quincy Il, which is the home of Hollister Whitney. On Monday evening, we host a welcome meet-and-greet dinner on a riverboat on the Mississippi. The weather was perfect and just as warm as the reception that the Hollister staff put on. It is a great ice breaker.

Tues AM we get an early start with product presentations and explanations. It is intense education for 4 hours. Topics this year included PM / AC gearless Machines, MRL equipment, Spectralite Fixtures, Geared Rope grippers, a new door lock monitor and Roper Gripper control, a redesigned brake monitor for geared machines, and GALaxy Controls including an explanation of the soon to be released GALaxy 4.

We break for a nice lunch at Spring Lake Country Club before we head over to the Hollister Whitney factory. Throughout the afternoon, we break into small groups and tour through the factory (200,000 ft sq) and the two test towers. All of the products we make, along with some that are in testing, are there and working for the consultants see and experience. We are terribly proud of the facility and the people at Hollister Whitney – everything you see and everyone you meet is simply top notch. Quincy is not a easy city to get to and it is great fun to be able to show off our stuff for visitors.

Frank Musholt, GM at Hollister throws an absolutely amazing wrap up party at his home on Tues nite. There are tents set up to accommodate dinner tables where we enjoy a catered steak dinner with all of the trimmings. Franks home is high on the bluffs above the Mississippi – a beautiful setting where, during cocktail hour(s) we can shoot clay pigeons and drive golf balls – fun fun fun. The dinner finishes as the sun goes down – and then the coup de gras is an incredible display of fireworks – whew, nobody can do it the way Hollister Whitney does it.

Weds AM, it’s on the bus and back to St Louis. Everyone knows they have had the very best in education, camaraderie, and yes, fun.

IAEC Gathering

The International Association of Elevator Consultants held their annual Forum in San Antonio spanning from the last couple of April days through the first days of May. For peddlers like me, it’s a great opportunity to spend time one-on-one to explain to some of the most influential members of the industry just why their clients might benefit from using our products on their projects.

Attendance was good – especially considering it was a Western location where the elevator industry often struggles to attract attendees. IAEC allows sponsors to set up table top booths to display product and hand out literature. This also gives suppliers a lot of time to share information among themselves. Mark Yako was there with me from GAL / HW, and he and I both stayed busy digging for new opportunities.

Teresa and I had a really enjoyable evening catching up with some of my good friends from my Chicago years. John Donnelly and Leo Fenili joined us for a spectacular meal on the Riverwalk – good friends, good food, good time.

Dick Gregory – the guy who launched me in the elevator industry was, as always, there in fine form, and I also got a rare chance to catch up with TAK Matthews. I’m not positive, but I think TAK owns the country of India – well, maybe only the building industry there.

The education that IAEC puts on is usually, and this year was no exception, touching on some of the most sophisticated topics in elevatoring. I was particularly impressed with a presentation made by Brian Diviney of KONE. KONE has developed a product and procedure for modernizing escalators and Brian took us through all of the considerations associated – whew – I know that I know nothing about escalators – heavy duty stuff, really well presented.

Jay Pop of Lerch Bates Associates has been kicking around and doing very high end consulting for years. He is staying on as President of IAEC. Gordon Ernst of Elevator Consulting Services, after handling the Executive Directors responsibilities for years, is passing them on to Sheila Swett of Swett & Associates. Sheila – AKA That Damned Woman – (you’ll have to ask her) is off to a great start, and IAEC is in good hands all around.

And then I have to mention this: Bob Caporale of Elevator World  – you reading this? We all voted. Landslide. It was Unanimous. All verses none. IAEC is much better for having Liz represent Elevator World. No one is sure but everyone thinks they’ll miss you – LOL

NAEC Board of Directors


Ken Garst (Great Lakes Elevator), Doug Witham (GAL), Hugh Bertschin (Premier Elevator) enjoying some down time

I am very privileged once every year to be able to accompany Teresa to her Mid-Year Board of Directors Meeting. The members of the BOD have 3 meetings a year, one each during the Spring Conference and the Convention and this Mid-Year (half way through the fiscal year) Meeting. This is the only time a BOD and spouses are together separate from the general membership.  It is the NAEC’s way of saying ‘thank you’ for all of the volunteer time and effort that the board members expend during the year. Read more…

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:


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…

MAEC Christmas Event

Mark and and I showing off our 50 / 50 tickets

Some 100 elevator types attended the Mid Atlantic Elevator Association’s vendor expo and Christmas party on Tues. A very nice event that is gaining in popularity every year. 25 Vendors set up table top displays early on Tues and the doors opened at 11:00. Everybody enjoyed a good buffet lunch at noon. Attendees mingled with the exhibitors thru the afternoon and it was a great opportunity to talk elevators with a lot of the DC area contractors.

Read more…

Murphy Celebrates 80th Anniversary

The “Murphy Elevator Family”

What a night – and for good reason. Murphy Elevator of Louisville KY – the epitome of an Independent Elevator Contractor – hit its 80thanniversary – and they did it in grand style.

Greg and Maria Carlisle – the current generation in charge – brought together a great mixture of family and friends for a night of reflection and revelry. Family included both the Carlisle clan, literally family, and the Murphy Elevator family – the extended company family who are making Murphy Elevator what it is today. 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.

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