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2011 ECA Annual Meeting

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Members on the first day of the event

A look back at the events of the Elevator Contractors of America (ECA) annual membership meeting held in March in Sarasota, Florida.

The Elevator Contractors of America (ECA) held its  annual membership meeting on March 13-15 at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Sarasota, Florida. The program featured an outdoor opening reception, along with a business meeting and a variety of speakers and presen tations. The meeting was blessed with sunny, warm weather, which was enjoyed by the nearly 50 people in attendance.

The ECA Board of Directors met on the first day. This meeting was followed by a lovely reception on the lawn, with views overlooking Sarasota Bay. Members and guests were able to discuss business and personal matters occurring over the past year, over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The fine weather and great location were very welcoming.

The program began bright and early the next morning. ECA Chairman Neil Hussey formally welcomed everyone and thanked reception sponsors GAL; Elevator Doors, Inc./Elevator Cabs, Inc.; National Elevator Door & Cab; Computerized Elevator Control Corp.; and Motion Control Engineering for their support. Then, motivational speaker Robert Carrow taught the importance of excellent customer service. His high-energy approach soon involved the entire audience in what proved to be an exceptional presentation. Carrow demonstrated effective personal habits that can guide and encourage everyone in the organization to excel. Successful people constantly renew their skills and encourage others to do so. Motivation is like a shower; it wears off. Good communication skills are essential to achieve excellent customer service. Asking questions and listening are key. Body language is essential to understand what the customer wants. Today’s extremely competitive business environment makes excel -lent customer service essential.

The next session was presented by attorney Paul Waters. Waters has extensive experience assisting elevator companies with OSHA matters and accident investigations. He emphasized that the new administration has taken a much more aggressive approach to workplace safety. Employers must have strong safety policies and enforce them without exception. Proper management of an OSHA inspection is very important. Waters gave examples of the OSHA process and advice toward achieving compliance and protecting companies’ interests.

Members then enjoyed a brief break, followed by a second presentation by Carrow on negotiating skills. Every member of a business organization is a sales representative. First impressions are important to help develop buyers’ trust. Effective negotiation can be enhanced by understanding buyers’ personality styles. Identify the personality and adapt the negotiation to that style. Carrow’s presentation was very thought provoking, and many questions by ECA members followed.

After enjoying a delicious lunch provided by ECA, members returned for afternoon roundtable discussions. Members rotated between three tables, led by Carrow dis-cussing teaching staff customer service, Jackie Mortman of Hub International considering the risk of workers’ compensation retaliation claims, and Hussey and Mike Warfield examining the current state of labor relations in the industry. These discussions have proven to be one of the most popular aspects of the ECA’s annual meetings.

The second day began with the ECA business meeting, open only to ECA members. The speaker program began with Jim Higgins, International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) assistant general president. Higgins described the current state of employment and challenges facing the industry. Common areas of concern were outlined, particularly the need to emphasize industry training.

R.D. Merritt and Allen Spears from the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund updated ECA on the many pro-grams available from the fund. John O’Donnell, national director of the National Elevator Industry Education Program (NEIEP), provided a detailed update on the many programs offered by NEIEP, as well as its future plans. Members then enjoyed a brief break, followed by a presentation by Robb Betts of the National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans and Kevin Stringer, IUEC general secretary-treasurer, who discussed the current status of benefit plans covering IUEC members.

The final speaker, Mortman, made a very interesting presentation regarding workers’ compensation claims. It is very important for management to carefully administer the claims in order to help limit losses. Hussey closed the very successful meeting by thanking everyone for coming and participating. Members were very enthusiastic about this year’s program and are looking for-ward to enjoying the next such event, scheduled for March 4-6, 2012.            

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