Contractors, Consultants and Little Gold Men

While our focus this month is on consultants, a large part of our book is devoted to contractors at NAEC’s 69th Annual Convention and 2018 Exposition. When the contractor association decides to have its event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, it draws a large crowd. For many on the East Coast, it is just a “day trip.” Some 2,800 attendees visited more than 200 booths at the four-day convention. NAEC managed a boardwalk atmosphere for parties, while doing business and promoting education to members.

The numbers and influence of consultants in our industry has grown tremendously over the last 30-40 years. Bruce Powell, one of the consultants we interviewed this month, said, “Back in the ‘good old days,’ the fact that elevator suppliers were very reluctant to release technical information led to the growth of the elevator consulting industry.” My father seemed to think OEMs cut back on their engineering departments in recessionary times (such as the early 1980s), and that encouraged many of those engineers to start consulting firms. There is no doubt they now have a major influence on all high-rise construction and the vertical transportation within. We have four articles this month related to the work they do. Elevator Consulting Engineers – What Do They Do? by Hans M. Jappsen is an Elevcon paper. The author maintains that consultants must be neutral and independent. He gives three examples of the work done over the years in Europe. Modernization Across Industries by David Hansen describes how Vertical Transportation Excellence (VTX, a division of Gannett Fleming) works and gives examples in retail, higher education and government projects. It Has to Be Safe by Marjon Oosting describes how Liftinstituut in Amsterdam, founded 85 years ago, is committed to being an absolutely independent consultancy. She notes that more and more consultants are taking over projects from drawing board to completion. Our interview by Kaija Wilkinson with Powell, More Than Math, is a fascinating look at a long career of working with OEMs. He says, “The most challenging and rewarding consultancy project is the last one and the next one. Each job has little wrinkles that make it unique and challenging.”

The International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC) takes a stand in a white paper: Should ASME A17.1/CSA B44 “Converge” With ISO 8100? This is a very important subject everyone in the industry should consider. The paper gives in-depth history of all the codes involved, with comparisons. Many thanks to IAEC for coordinating with us on its publication.

So, what about those “little gold men” marching across our cover this month? It is in honor of our first-ever Ellies Award Winners. Every industry has its awards — like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys. Even in our hometown of Mobile, Alabama, we have the “Nappies” handed out by Lagniappe. It is a way to get a community actively involved — by voting on the best downtown bar, the biggest hamburger or the most painless dentist. The categories can get pretty esoteric for the newspaper’s Nappies, but the Ellies are very straightforward, and no one is allowed to vote for themselves more than once (a day)! Candidates in our first Ellies Awards were nominated by the industry and voted on by more than 12,000. It was way too much fun for our T. Bruce MacKinnon handing these out at the NAEC Exposition. MacKinnon also took our cover picture.

This issue has much more for your enjoyment, including a Continuing Education article on the Fluke ScopeMeter by David Herres and a great report on the Ninth Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies by David Cooper. Enjoy!

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Ninth Symposium on Lift and Escalator Technologies


More Than Math


Ready for the World


Industry veterans appointed, retire.

Are-You-Ready-for-Obsolescence 2018

Are You Ready for Obsolescence?


Improvements All Around


Fluke ScopeMeter

The Best and Worst Elevator Art of 2018

The Best and Worst Elevator Art of 2018