Archive for the tag “John Sweeney”

Fun in the sun with a gun

People who know me recognize this question: “Who has more fun than we do?” It comes jumping out of my mouth rather frequently – and it did again last Friday.

The event was named “Sporting Clays For Charity”. Nick Montesano, owner of DTM Elevator Consulting, deserves the kudo’s for coming up with this plan. It is absolute genius. He is also taking credit for the weather – sunny and 70 – for mid April that’s about as good as it gets around here.

So a whole bunch of elevator types (Contractors, Consultants, and Suppliers) get to spend a day together pursuing an activity that they all really enjoy, and at the same time raise money for a couple of very worthy charities – perfect! Who has more fun that we do?

Do you know Sporting Clays? It’s a little like golf – but with a shotgun. (you do ride around in a golf cart) There are 10 stations to shoot from and each attempts to duplicate some sort of hunting situation. Each participant shoots 100 rounds. (makes your shoulder sore huh, John). There are targets that come from overhead, under your feet, right to left, and left to right. There are even clays that bounce across the ground imitating a rabbit. If you like shotgunning, this is nirvana.

Michael Bonardi, Yours Truly, and John Sweeney. A day of sporting clays for charity

Michael Bonardi, Yours Truly, and John Sweeney. A day of sporting clays for charity

It is a very social game as well. Our squad consisted of a couple of really good friends – Michael Bonardi from D & D Elevator and John Sweeney from Jersey Elevator and me. We goofed on each other for the misses, congratulated each other on the good shots, and generally giggled our way through the 3 hour round. Who has more fun than we do?

The event was held at the Peconic River Sportsman’s Club in Manorville NY (I think this is about 15 miles due east of London England – a loooong way out on Long Island) The charities were The Visitation Academy – a special school for young ladies, and The Freeport Junior Club – a group dedicated to teaching young people about the safety and fun associated with shooting. Nick Montesano and I both have a passion for introducing people to the shooting sports.

Good friends, good fun, good weather, good food, good cause.

Who has more fun than we do?


Site Visit to San Antonio

It’s always fun to watch Teresa work.

Last weekend I accompanied her on a site visit to San Antonio TX to check out the location of the NAEC Annual Convention and Trade Show this fall. John and Andrea Sweeney, current NAEC President and First Lady, also came along. John will preside over this convention and become what is affectionately called a ‘has-been’ at its conclusion.

You can’t believe the effort that goes into this sort of preparation. This contract is signed – it’s going to happen in San Antonio some 6 mos from now. Teresa is there doing what she calls the ‘broad brush’ stuff. She will go back and pass her notes onto Kerrie Rebmann who is the staff meeting planner. Kerrie will go on site a couple of times between now and then to do the tie-down details.

So, you ask, “what’s the broad brush stuff”? I’m gonna tell you. In both the HQ hotel and the overflow hotel, we looked at guest rooms, breakout rooms, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, ball rooms, bar rooms, and public spaces –we talked about décor, views, acoustics, lighting, seating, bedding, breakfasts, lunches, hors d’oeuvres, dinners, food stations, buffets, cocktails, patios, average temperatures, plan B’s, and plan C’s. We met with the hotel management and food service manager , the Chef, the Sous Chef, and the banquet sales types.

At the Convention Center where the trade show will be, we also had a run thru of capabilities. We saw and talked about registration, entry, security, loading docks, layout, floor loading, ceiling heights, power, lighting, heating, cooling, set up, and tear down. The Convention Center has its own set of management and sales types all of whom could not have been more helpful.

Three hours were also made good use of by representatives of the SA CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) who gave us a soup to nuts tour of the city – quite an up-and coming area – already the 7th largest city in the country.

And this is the broad brush sort of stuff? I cannot imagine what the rest of the NAEC staff goes through as the event draws near.

There is a two week long rodeo festival that we were lucky enough to get in on – hint – try the Texas wine. We walked thru only one of the three buildings full of anything southwestern – whew – hundreds of vendors. Each of us bought components of what will be our outfits for the “Diamonds and Denim” event in September. The Diamonds and Denim event is going to replace the formal dinner dance which has been a part of NAEC conventions since forever. (BTW – this is the NAEC’s 65th birthday year)

Beyond that – and I know this will shock those who know me, as well as Teresa, John, and Andrea – we put the bar and restaurant scene to a severe test. San Antonio has a unique feature – a river that runs right thru the town – The Riverwalk – Sidewalks on both sides – packed with bars and restaurants. Private barges and water Taxis travel up and down the river at all hours, taking revelers from top to bottom. Andrea said she could do it backstroke but we didn’t allow her to show us.

The American Culinary Institute has a campus and restaurant where we had dinner – Yum – crazy different fare. Restaurants from dive to divine (we checked em all out) are lined up one after the other. For the most part it is a get your boots on, get a buzz on kind of place.

So here’s the upshot. San Antonio – go there and have some fun. Don’t miss the NAEC this fall.

Interlift 2013

Just returned from 7 days in Germany at the 2013 Interlift Trade Show. Interlift is one of the largest elevator gatherings in the world. This year there were some 18000 visitors who came to see exhibits erected by 504 vendors from 40 countries taking up 45,000 square meters (485,000 Sq feet).Whew – elevators on a big scale.

Our emphasis at Interlift is the Hollister Whitney Rope gripper. The European Code – EN81 – has just added amendment 3 which for the first time has requirements to protect against unintentional car movement with the doors open – one of the hazards that Rope Gripper is designed to protect against.

I am always baffled by the different approaches to elevatoring that are generally accepted in different places in the world. In North America, Australia, and Asia, almost without exception, we address ACO (Ascending Car Overspeed) and UCM (Unintentional Car Movement) with a rope brake – read the Rope Gripper.  In Europe, their approach is very different. They make modifications and add a battery back-up to a traditional bi-directional safety in order to comply. Both are equally convinced that the other is just plain crazy.

Frank Musholt in the Hollister booth at Interlift

Frank Musholt in the Hollister booth at Interlift

This year, because Hollister Whitney is not a household name in the rest of the world, we introduced a new web site – – take a look. It contains everything about the HW Rope Gripper.

The show itself can be grueling – it goes from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm four days in a row. If you have ever worked trade shows, you know that this is an endurance test. We take a large enough contingent that we can work in shifts – this allows for some time to actually go and see the rest of the show as well as working the booth. This year, the old guys – Walter & Herbie Glaser, Frank Musholt, and I – worked the booth in the AM and the younger guys – Paul Seifried, Brian Musholt, and James Varon took over in the afternoons. Made it more comfortable for everyone.

Teresa also attended and worked a booth for NAEC – looking to attract membership and attendance at their events. John Sweeney, President of the Association, along with first lady Andrea, represented NAEC at many of the official and unofficial functions. I think they found Interlift an eye-opener from the industry/ NAEC standpoint and I know they had ball hanging out with the international crowd.

For the 6th Interlift in a row – (12 yrs cause it’s held every other year) Hollister Whitney hosted a large group of Americans and other friends for a night out in Munich. Crazy fun. We all take a coach from Augsburg to Munich, have a great Bavarian meal, (this year we were at the Hauxenbaur, maybe the most famous Bavarian restaurant in Munich) and then carry on to the Hofbrauhaus (world famous beer hall) for even more merriment.

Walter Glaser welcomes Hollister's guests at the Hauxembaur

Walter Glaser welcomes Hollister’s guests at the Hauxembaur

It is a tradition that the NAEC President gets up and directs the oom pah band in the Hofbrauhaus and John Sweeney did yeoman’s work to raise the bar on this count. I have the video but it’s too large to attach here – take my word for it – entertaining. Shelly Klehr from MEI (Mikes Klehr’s spouse) also showed off her director’s skills – whew, neither is ready for the Philharmonic.

We got to catch up with a lot of our international friends. Dirk Henning and Philip Molineus from Henning are big players in Germany and had the booth directly across for ours. Dagcan Piroglu from Moston, our representative in Turkey, was also in the same hall exhibiting. Peter Lycett had a large contingent with him from ILE in the UK. John Wang from DTS in China with his two new compatriots John Curzon and Peter Collins of Ensota. We also had a good chance to talk with our representatives in India, Ashok Subhedar and Swapnil Astunkar from DSA.

Walter and John Sweeney get into the atmosphere at the Hofbrauhaus

Walter and John Sweeney get into the atmosphere at the Hofbrauhaus

Peter Ackerman from Lifts & More was there. Peter represents Rope Gripper in Poland and introduced me last year to the Euro Lift show in Kielce Poland. For circulation during Interlift, he and I co-authored an article in the Elevatori Magazine “How It Works” supplement.

Every Interlift, there are more participants from the US. Twelve years ago there were very few. This year – and forgive me if I’ve left some out – we saw our friends from: AFD Industries, Canton Elevator, Texacone, Wurtec, MEI, ELSCO, CE Electronics, Elevator Solutions, NAEC, Elevator World, Jersey Elevator, Atlantic Elevator North, and City Elevator (New York).

Interlift is an important gathering for the elevator industry. If you can ever make it fit into your schedule and budget, you ought to go experience it at least once.

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