Archive for the tag “GALaxy Controls”

NAEC Night at the Park

On Monday night, NAEC did an experiment and invited a bunch of Atlanta area elevator types to join them in a luxury box at Turner Field. The least exciting part was the one to nothing loss of the Braves to the Pirates. There was no defense needed on the field because there was no offence. So we pretty much ignored the field.

But the rest was a ball. There were 34 attendees all together. NAEC contractor, supplier, and consultant members got a chance to rub shoulders on a beautiful Atlanta evening. Most of the NAEC staff was also able to be there. The environment, food, drink, and company were all outstanding. A very fun night. I wish I had taken some pictures.

GALaxy controls have a great presence in the Atlanta area. Either Lerch Bates or Premier Elevator deserves the credit for firmly anchoring GALaxy as the control of choice in these parts. I got a chance to thank Tim Murphy of LBA, and Phil Reid, Hugh Bertchin, and Robert Barber of Premier Elevator all in the same evening.

Based on the popularity of this event, NAEC is looking for opportunities to host similar member get togethers in other cities / venues. If you think that something like this might go over well in your area, you ought to give Teresa a buzz and plant the seed with her.

A great time was had by all.

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.

Nebraska Ho!

Ah, the glamor of business travel. Last week Monday, I left the office at 8:30 AM headed to LaGuardia and out to Lincoln NE for the annual Elevator U gathering. I finally got to my hotel room at 11:20 that night. The airline gods really had it in for me. Mechanical problems, delayed flights, missed connections, cancelled flights. I experienced probably every possible snafu – and all in one day. To get to Lincoln, you need to go to either Detroit or Minneapolis – then to Omaha – then it’s an hours drive. Whew.

That’s the bad news, the good news is the time we had at Elevator U. Mark Yako was along, as was Brian Musholt from Hollister Whitney. Our companies are specialists in non-proprietary products, and most the University types demand non-proprietary products. This group is great for us which makes our time in the booth fun – we have a lot of member support.

There were some 110 plus attendees who benefitted from all of the education and enjoyed the social events. David Smarte (Delaware Elevator) gave the attendees a complete review of the NAEC’s CET program, and its benefits for the university elevator types. Shawn and Kathy were there in an NAEC booth and said they found several prospective new members – this is the way things are supposed to work – each group feeding off of, and into, the other.

Nebraska Capital Dome - A recent historical mod by O'Keefe Elevator

Nebraska Capital Dome – A recent historical mod by O’Keefe Elevator


We had some great interaction with O’Keefe Elevator – they are the powerhouse contractor is this part of the country. First of all, we stayed in a Marriott in which O’Keefe Elevator had modernized the equipment and all the cars were all running on GALaxy controls – a feather in the cap of the good guys. As part of the education, a group from O’Keefe gave us a tour of their historic modernization at the state capital building, and then Mark and I went over to Omaha and had a great evening with the whole crew (less Brett Ables who was tied up). O’Keefe is an impressive company in every aspect.

Terri Flint (U of Michigan – President) and Martin Culp (U of Maryland – Chairman) are to be congratulated. Elevator U is a contributing and growing association representing a vital portion of our industry. Nice work

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.

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