Archive for the tag “Hudson Elevator”

A week in California

I spent last week in California running like a crazy man on a lot of diverse missions.

It’s been a long time since there have been strong California independent contractors doing a good deal of traction elevator work. Do you remember Oliver & Williams? Reliable Elevator? Western Elevator? Tri County Elevator? I can’t tell you when these companies sold, but it’s been a while.

Now, there seems to be a resurgence of contractors filling the vacuum they created way back then. Emery Wilcox and the rest are growing Ascent Elevator, Chuck Morphew and other Reliable alumni are doing well with 5 Star Elevator, 24 hour Elevator and Guardian Elevator are both new to me.

This growing west coast strength causes me to think it might be time to get GALaxy a more widely known product. We have made only sporadic attempts to sell – and in fact sell very few GALaxy’s on the west coast. We need to continue our expansion and this market looks promising.

The Clock Tower at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

The Clock Tower at the Santa Barbara Courthouse


I also had a chance to go all the way up to Santa Barbara to survey a really interesting job with my old friend Michael Shaw – Republic Elevator. They are going to add a top floor to an elevator in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This is a classic California style building – all ceramic tile on the interior and a crazy mechanical contraption that actually still turns the clock tower clock hands. Michael wants to use a combination of Hollister Whitney and GAL Products and we came to the conclusion that it is in fact very doable. This will be a show job for us and Republic.

Teresa was in the San Diego area at the same time – attending an ASAE (American Society of Association Executives) Executive Symposium with the NAEC President, Brian Farley of Hudson Elevator, and Vice President, Bret Abels of O’Keefe Elevator. I was delighted to be able to join them for several evenings.

All of us got out one night and broke bread with Mike Corbo and Eric Zommers – both good friends and golfing buddies from Mitsubishi Elevator. A good time was had by all.

It was a good trip business wise, and it was good to get out of the frigid Northeast

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Euro Lift 2015

Spent last week in Kielce Poland working a booth at EuroLift 2015. This trip is always fun – the business? – a challenge to say the least.

We (Teresa joined me this year which made the trip especially nice) traveled overnight Saturday thru Amsterdam to Warsaw where we took a day and a half to adjust to the European time. We had a chance in Warsaw to have dinner again with Tom Sullivan a long time, good friend, of my son Dustin. This year his wife Sarah also came out. They are a neat couple – Americans who have been living in Warsaw for some 5 years now. They now have their first bambino and are beginning to look forward to transferring back to the good ole U S of A.

Warsaw is a beautiful city. The weather was October perfect on Monday – sunny with maybe a high of 70. An ideal day for touring an interesting city. There is a mix of new high-rise, modern architecture, which is within blocks of the re-built old city with traditional streets and squares. There are many excellent restaurants, the people are terribly friendly, and there is virtually no language barrier – everyone there speaks English fluently. Don’t miss Warsaw if you ever get the chance.

On Tues AM, Peter Ackerman, owner of Lifts & More, and Hollister Whitney’s representative in Poland, picked us up for the 2 hour drive to Kielce. He and I spent the day setting up the booth. We needed to overcome some self-inflicted difficulties, but with Doug Dietrich of Hollister providing long distance technical support, pulled it together and had two running Rope Gripper demonstrators before the sun went down. Ahh – the glamour of business travel.

Peter Ackerman and me in the Lifts And More booth

Peter Ackerman and me in the Lifts And More booth

An aside – On Tues, thanks to my son Dustin (Midwest Elevator in St Louis) and his sweet wife Lauren, Teresa and I became Grandparents again – Joleen Elizabeth – all happy and healthy.

Weds, Thurs, and Friday were show days – 10 till 5. The show is very well organized, and the facility is as good as any anywhere in the world – but this is really a regional show and it doesn’t demand 3 days – 2 would be great. There were 115 exhibitors (slightly down from last time) working booths that ranged from very modest to really elaborate. Don’t know the final attendance numbers, but it seemed to us that it might also have been less than 2 years ago.

Brian Farley (Hudson Elevator), President of NAEC, was in Prague visiting his Daughter who is in school there, flew over and joined Teresa for meetings with Polish Lift Association. They reported that their talks were very interesting – both associations trying to figure out if there are things that they could do better. Teresa felt like they fielded many more questions than they had a chance to ask – so be it – new contacts made – our elevator world continues to shrink.

When working the booth, language can become a stumbling block. I was very happy to have Peter there to back me up. The Rope Gripper is technical enough that it’s hard to get features and benefits translated. Even though A17 code and EN81 code are essentially the same, the terminology is very different and subject to interpretation even when being discussed in the same language. Makes working the booth fun and challenging.

Rope Gripper banner in Polish

Rope Gripper banner in Polish

In Poland, the contractors use bi-directional safeties and a solenoid pin through the governor wheel to address the Ascending Car Overspeed and Unintentional Motion issues. Rope Gripper is a much more elegant solution but their market doesn’t demand it. They have no rules to prevent slipping traction. We have taken our at-bats here, Peter Ackerman is a conscientious and competent representative. I doubt if I will return to EuroLift.

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