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CECA Meets on the West Coast

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Members of the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) had the pleasure of meeting in Victoria, Canada, on June 14-18 for their annual convention. Hosted by John and Lesley Dodd of Victoria, another successful event revolving around the association’s annual general meeting and exposition was greatly enjoyed. Opening Proceedings

The first day of events had day-long board of directors and Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation of Canada (EESFC) meetings, both of which took place behind closed doors. The real fun began that evening with EESFC’s fundraising “Casino Night,” which saw two big winners. Joel Frohlinger of Janus Elevator Products best used his play money and won a real prize, an Apple iPad, which he donated to the Pop Frohlinger/Joe Marchese Golf Outing. Karen Piquet of Riverside Elevators also left with a bigger smile than the rest of us, as she won CAD350 (US$364) — half of the Foundation’s 50/50 raffle. The other half went toward the education of Canada’s schoolchildren on the safe use of industry equipment.

The next day commenced with an all-day golf tournament at Arbutus Ridge Golf Club in Cobble Hill, followed by the evening President’s Reception.

The reception was hosted by outgoing President Joseph Kerr, and bustled with the meeting of new acquaintances and renewing of old ones.

Kickoff

The Kickoff Breakfast on June 16 started the busier days of the convention. It was a fortuitous time to honor Charles L. Courtney, who was celebrating his 91st birthday. This veteran of the industry joined C.E. Electronics after “retirement” in 1985 and still comes to work each day.

Gisele Battle then presented Walter Guderian an award for his 60 years of dedication to the elevator industry. Be-ginning in Germany with Schindler and Rudolf Prey, he emigrated to Kitchener, Canada, in 1956 and worked for Otis before starting Delta Elevator Co. in 1967. Guderian purchased a new building in 2001 to expand the manufacturing of Delta-branded elevators. Though he officially retired in 2005, Guderian remains an important part of the company. He mused, “If I had to do it over again, I would.”

John Dodd then introduced the morning’s speaker, world-champion rower David Calder, who represented Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and brought home a silver medal. Attendees wondered at Calder’s medal as they took great care in passing it around. He spoke on the drive to win that is pushing him toward the 2012 games to win the gold. Appropriately, he spoke on “the wisdom of longevity,” which, he said, always turns to gold when combined with passion, commitment and ex-citement.

AGM

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) then began with Kerr’s opening and introduction of Treasurer Barry Piquet, who gave an overview of the year’s finances. Piquet stated that while the low U.S. dollar negatively affected CECA’s balance sheet, membership numbers have in-creased to the highest since 2003. Kerr then presented Membership Chairman George Foleanu’s report, which expounded upon these statistics. CECA is comprised of 35 contractor, 75 supplier, seven dual, five honorary and six subscription memberships. Regionally, these  128 break down into 45% in the central, 15% in the eastern and 10%in the western parts of Canada, with the remaining 30%in the U.S. The report also noted that the CECA newsletter began in spring 2010, the CECA website has a useful “Supplier” tab, and the convention website was im-proved.

Eastern Region Chair Pedro Oughourlian then gave his report. There were four Eastern Region meetings since the last AGM, and progress has been made toward establishing two committees with Régie du Batîment du Québec. An effort to requisition a translated copy of the Foundation’s Safe-T Rider© material was made, but the organization was unable to get it converted to French.

Fortunately, supplier member Guy Seguin has volunteered to make efforts to translate it from English. The association also has a new labor agreement until May 1, 2013, and 57 mechanics and helpers were reported out of work.

Brian Elliott, Central Region chair, then began his report, which noted that his region also had four meetings since the last convention. In Ontario, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) has formed a “Risk Reduction Group” to consider unintended motion and ascending-car overspeed and encouraged the industry to participate. The council has also been working with the TSSA on operational issues, a strategic plan and risk-informed decision making.

The Field Advisory Committee, upon which Elliott sits, has had discussions with TSSA regarding plunger grippers installed on in-ground cylinders as a safety device. When owners modernize, they are given the option to retain, re-move and replace with a rupture valve and obtain a variance. This committee has also enabled the enforcement of single-unit initials: a single car is not considered the final car, and for minor issues, compliance is given 30 days. The EB 241/09 Bulletin for Moving Walks is also in effect, requiring that owners check their units’ stopping distance daily. DO 245/10 for car-top railings has also retroactively affected rules on the approximately 20,000 units in Ontario. By di-rector’s order, pressure switches on B355 units are now required on installations with tanks below the head.

Notes from the committee also included that implementation of the CSA B44-10 code, previously scheduled for January 2012, has been delayed. Additionally, B44-2010 is now available to code-committee members on the ASME website. It is likely that the code-adoption document will be posted by TSSA in late 2011, with adoption following six months after posting. The maintenance portion will be adopted six months after posting of the main code.

Elliott continued with a report on the Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (MTCU), which is being replaced by the Ontario College of Trades. The Employment Mobility Act has also been made law. Apprentices currently need to obtain both MTCU’s Certificate of Apprenticeship and TSSA’s Certificate of Qualifications, though an exemption exam is available at any Ontario college. There is a CAD2,000 (US$2,087) federal government incentive for those who complete their apprenticeships. The ministry has the most students to date (37) enrolled at its Durham College location. The industry has 639 active apprentices and 52 active employers in the province.

Next, Western Region Chair Ryan Wilson spoke on his region. The British Columbia Safety Authority (BCSA) has adopted the 2007 code, and its mechanic certification is expected to be implemented in mid 2012. CECA sees this as positive, since continuing education will now be a requirement and hopefully increase pride in the trade, but there is risk of losing experienced mechanics to retirement if they do not desire to fulfill requirements such as writing an exam. Monthly maintenance requirements are now being enforced in the province, with quarterly tasking only ap-proved by an OEM engineer on a site-by-site basis. Blanket approvals for “maintenance pro-grams” are no longer accepted. Fortunately, CECA was able to intervene so that these requirements were not worse for its members.

Labor harmony has been guaranteed for at least three years, but there is a shortage of manpower for mechanics in all provinces; 100 helpers are unemployed, which has contributed to higher rates of worker’s compensation claims. Project cancellations are down, but developer liquidity and payment risk continues, even with projects restarting. Markets are improving across the board, but they remain much worse than those of 2007.

Teresa Witham was then invited to speak on United III, taking place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 10-13, 2012. She revealed that only 13 sites in North America are equipped to handle such an event, with two of these in Canada. Bert Tolhoek, host of CECA’s 2013 convention, also talked to attendees. He relayed that it will occur on June 4-8, 2013, in Niagara Falls, Canada, at the Hilton Fallsview Casino and Resort. The 2014 convention is to be in Quebec City. Plans for 2015 are to meet in Vancouver, and there is a possibility for United IV (2016) to take place in Canada.

Oughourlian returned to note that the nomination committee had no changes (as this was not a term year, though the Central and Eastern Region chairmanships would be open next year). Officers and directors for 2011-2012 are as follows:

  • President: Ryan Wilson
  • Vice-president and treasurer: Barry Piquet
  • Secretary: Joseph Kerr
  • Eastern Region chair: Pedro Oughourlian
  • Eastern Region director: Daniel Desy
  • Central Region chair: Brian Elliott
  • Western Region chair: Heiner Marnet
  • Supplier chair: George E. Foleanu
  • Supplier secretary and membership chair: Michael Ryan

New business included the passing of a motion to start a message board for the CECA website to help connect contractor questions that the association receives with contractors. It was noted that the website gets around 1,500 hits per month.

Expo and Dinner Dance

Following the AGM, attendees could visit the approximately 40 booths set up on the hotel’s ground floor. This is a good number for the resort locale. That night, the annual Gala Dinner Dance got underway, and the eating and dancing was punctuated by special awards presented by Kerr and new President Wilson.

Suppliers Breakfast

Supplier Secretary Michael Ryan led the next morning’s Suppliers Breakfast. He spoke on concerns regarding the number of exhibitions taking place for suppliers and the possibility of combining shows or utilizing some concepts used by the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) in the U.S., such as during its midyear conferences, which NAEC suggested as a good fit for CECA. Concerns about such close integration and the difficulties of passing through customs (especially with booth materials) were raised. There was also a discussion on the subject of tabletop booths and sponsorships, and both were generally seen as positive options.

Educational Sessions

Along with one more day of exhibits, June 17 included two well-at-tended educational sessions. The first was on BCSA and gave an overview of mandatory maintenance, single-bot-tom cylinder replacement and code changes by Janice Lee, P. Eng and elevating devices provincial safety manager. The second, “Energy Efficiency in Elevator Drive Systems by Magnetek,” was presented by Donald Vollrath, principal engineer at Magnetek.

Wine and Dine

The closing event at Church & State Wines Victoria was a treat for all involved. Attendees were given wine on which to sip while watching an exhibition of the birds of prey kept at the vineyard. The birds both educate guests and protect the grapes from avian pests with their commanding presence. Afterward, a variety of dishes were served in the winery’s restaurant. With plenty of fellowship and business to be had, this year’s convention was no exception to the rule that CECA is a valuable organization. We look forward to next year’s mega event in Atlantic City. 

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