Archive for the tag “Midwest Elevator”

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.


Catching Up

I have fallen way behind in keeping up with this blog. Just too much to get done and too short on time.

Since I sat down to blog last, I have be bouncing around like a crazy man – I always learn a lot from these forays – it sometimes amazes me how much I don’t know about elevators. A lot of it , per usual, has been fun.

In early August I spent several days in the Chicago area doing elevator stuff. Gregg Gibbs of Anderson Elevator gathered his favorite group of elevator crazies for a day of fun in Michigan City IN. The whole Anderson Elevator family came out to play. Also got to catch up with Ron Selke – and OLD friend from the days when life was much more dangerous.

Friday of that week was the Chicago Elevator Association golf outing so, painful as it was, I had to stay. Glenn Duncan said that total attendance was down but that sponsorships were still growing. Their tournament is held for the benefit of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation. Going to Chicago is still like old home week for me.

Mid August the usual group of pilgrims made the trek up to Long Island Maine where Steve and Chris McDuffie (Pine State Elevator) once again blew us away with wine and warmth. When you hear the term Island life you usually think of the Caribbean or South Pacific – well, Island life in Maine is no less interesting or fun. One afternoon we all hopped onto The Blue Nun (Steve’s boat) and motored over to another island for a spectacular lunch with amazing views of the Maine coast.

More recently I got together with a group of elevator types in a Manhattan restaurant to surprise this year’s William C Sturgeon Award winner with the news. Trouble with this one is that it won’t be public till the NAEC convention so I can’t spill the beans.

Teresa and I had a house full of guests for the annual IAEC Boat cruise around New York a couple of weeks ago. It was a great night – beautiful weather. In a bid to spice things up a bit, the consultants set up gambling tables on the boat – fun stuff. There are a lot of people who come to NY just for this event.

Got to shoot up to Boston and play golf in the Mass Elevator Safety Asso. outing. Rollie and Mark did their usual outstanding job and the weather was better than I ever remember it being. Mark Yako and I played host for Tom Horan of Fujitec and Neil Hussey of Stanley Elevator. We had a ball even if none of us played particularly well.

For Labor Day weekend, Dick and Carol Vinciquerra (AFD Industries) invited us over to their home in Canton OH. We got in a little bit of golf and a great deal of fun – Including being invited to Mike and Patti Paschke’s ( Canton Elevator) for what is turning into an annual event – their ‘corn roast’.

Whew – I caught up – but it starts again tonight. Bob Kazar, Mike Paschke of Canton Elevator, and Dustin Witham (Midwest Elevator) are in route to NY right now. The four of us will meet Chris Dodds (Kencore Elevator) sometime in the middle of the night tonight and take off for a couple of days of offshore tuna fishing. Hopefully next week I can show you a couple of 100 lb + Big Eye tunas!

Shoot to Honor and Support

Shoot to Honor and Support

Well, they did it again. Scott Akin from ECI / EDI and his crew organized a day of shooting sports as a fund raiser. Money raised goes to homeless veterans – what a good cause. 56 elevator types slogged our way through blizzard conditions to be there – road conditions were terrible but there were only two drop outs – amazing. Whew – lots of cars and trucks in the ditch.

The day at Ten Mile River Gun Club is a crazy good experience. There are two events and everyone does both – either in the morning session or the afternoon. My squad – Rob Cuzzi of VanDeusen Asso., Chris Dodds of Kencore Elevator, and Dustin Witham of Midwest Elevator – started the day with a pheasant tower shoot. There were 300 birds released and there are plenty of them still cackling about the amount of errant lead in the air. The shooters had some hearty laughs and we all came away with big smiles on wind burned faces.

The snow let up in the afternoon and we switched to shooting clays on the sporting clays course. If you are not familiar, sporting clays is a little like golf with a shotgun. Each shooting station (think golf hole) presents a different shooting situation. Clay come from and go in every imaginable direction. It’s a very social sport where we all got a chance to congratulate and rib one another on our hits and misses.


Throughout the day, we solved most of the world’s elevator problems. So I sit on the A17 Standards Committee, Rob Cuzzi has been a consultant for years, and Chris runs construction and mod for Kencore – and who had the code questions correct – you guessed it – Dustin. He went two for two when it came to the code. This was only mildly less embarrassing than him beating my score on the sporting clays course. Time to move over Dad.

John O’Sullivan of Centennial Elevator had the right card, and came away with the big prize at closing ceremonies. He won a very nice black powder rifle that had been donated by GAL. Rich L’Esperance Jr, also Centennial Elevator won the top gun award for the best score on the clays.

A great time was had by all, and all for the benefit of homeless veterans – doesn’t get much better than that.

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…

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