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Draka Hires Controller

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New escalators (photo by Matt Hibbard/SaintLouis Business Journal)

Draka Elevator has announced the appointment of Stephane LeBlanc to the position of business unit controller for Draka. Reporting to Sterrett Lloyd, Draka president, LeBlanc joins the company from Prysmian, where he was head of controlling in France. His primary responsibilities will be managing financial controls and risks, developing strategic business analyses and leading the financial staff. LeBlanc earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting degree and has a Graduate Diploma in Public Accountancy from McGill University in Montreal.

CEA Golf Outing A Success

The Chicago Elevator Association (CEA) held its annual golf outing on August 5 at the Gleneagles Country Club in Chicago to benefit the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF). There was plenty of sunshine for the golfers, and a dinner and raffle were provided to attendees following the outing. The charity event also had a 50/50 raffle drawing for EESF. Brad Hunt of Peelle Co. and Ken Grohowski of C.E. Electronics aided in the collection of US$1,635 for the drawing.

CEA thanks the event’s many sponsors and its golf outing committee – in particular, Glenn Duncan, Tom Przybyla and Gary Schreiber, all from Parts Specialists, Inc. The association considers the event a great success and is donating US$2,000 to EESF to further its mission to educate the riding public on the safe use of elevators and escalators.

Janus Appoints Sales Representatives

Janus Elevator Products has expanded its sales force with the addition of two new sales representatives in the southern U.S. Jane Patton and Rich Uzelac have been appointed Regional Sales managers, and will provide sales and service support for Janus’ entire line of products. Patton comes to Janus with 10 years of technical outside sales experience, most recently with Elite Technical in Orlando as director of Business Development. Patton will cover seven southern states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Uzelac brings more than 25 years of sales management experience in real estate and construction. He previously managed sales for Construct Source Direct in Dallas. His territory will include Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Atlantic Yards Delay

A New York state court judge ruled that the agency supervising New York City’s Atlantic Yards project must reevaluate how extensive delays in the second phase of the development will affect the surrounding community. One of the largest single-developer projects in the city’s history, Atlantic Yards stretches across 22 acres of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Construction of phase one is currently underway and includes multiple high rises, a sports arena, a new rail yard for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Long Island Railroad, and a new subway entrance. Nonprofit group Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn is concerned that the project’s skyscrapers will block sunlight to surrounding neighborhoods and flood them with the arena’s game-time traffic. The project’s second phase, originally estimated for a 10-year build time, is now slated for completion in 2035.

NFPA Scholarship Recipients

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Safety Educational Memorial Fund Committee has awarded scholarships to four fire-safety students based on their contributions to fire-safety activities, academic achievements and leadership abilities. NFPA awards the scholarships each year to recognize students for their pursuit of careers in fire safety.

Pamela Herald was awarded the Arthur E. Cote Scholarship. She is a junior at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. Richard Emberley, a senior in the Fire Protection Engineering Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, received the John L. Jablonsky Scholarship. Penelope Ingles is the recipient of the George D. Miller Scholarship and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in fire science. Kevin Frank, a PhD student at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, was awarded the David B. Gratz Scholarship.

America’s Center Receives New Elevators

Phase one of renovations to America’s Center Conven-tion Complex in St. Louis, Missouri, was nearing comple-tion at the end of July. The largest part of the project, phase one, began in February 2010 at a cost of US$29 million and saw significant improvements made to the building’s infrastructure, including elevator upgrades and the installation of eight new escalators. The new escala-tors provide improved reliability, energy efficiency and safety. The second and third phases of the project are ex-pected to be completed by summer 2012.

Seattle Building Achieves LEED Certification

The new Seattle-based headquarters of the Casey Family Programs, a foundation working with child-welfare agencies, has achieved Leadership in Energy and Envi-ronmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification. As one of the most energy-efficient buildings in Seattle, it was de-signed to reduce water usage by 33% and its energy foot-print by 25%. In addition, 95% of all construction waste was recycled.

Otis Acquires Marshall

Otis announced in July that it acquired Pittsburgh-based Marshall Elevator Co., one of the largest privately owned and operated full-service elevator companies in Pennsylvania. The terms of the acquisition were not dis-closed. With a business history in the U.S. dating back 193 years, Marshall is one of the nation’s oldest continu-ously owned and operated elevator companies. An Otis spokeswoman stated that all of Marshall’s approximately 80 employees will join Otis.

Otis President Didier Michaud-Daniel further explained:

“Otis is pleased to expand its global presence through a strategic acquisition effort. We are proud to welcome an organization with a heritage of innovation and customer focus and look forward to the contributions of our newest employees in the U.S. We will continue to acquire com-panies that fit with our organization, provide opportuni-ties to further service our customers and deliver value to our stakeholders.”

Over the past two years, Otis has grown its service portfolio to over 1.7 million units worldwide, in part through more than 60 acquisitions. This year alone, Otis has acquired 12 businesses, including RSU Number 3, a city-owned elevator service company in St. Petersburg, and Servis Vyathu, of the Czech Republic. Since 2009, the majority of Otis’ acquisitions have been Europe based, with 20% in the U.S. and 10% in Asia. Otis’ parent com-pany, United Technologies, spent US$2.8 billion on acqui-sitions last year.

Research Into Airport Vertical Transportation

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) has allocated US$250,000 of its 2012 fiscal-year budget to research the potential benefits of on-demand escalators and moving walks. It will focus on reduced energy use, air emissions and maintenance costs, and describe the implications of modifying elevator and escalator codes to permit these technologies in the U.S. TRB notes that many other countries have benefited from allowing on-demand systems that sense passenger activity and either slow down or stop when there is no demand.

The large number of escalators and moving walks that many airports require makes them a prime candidate for this technology, as current ASME A17.1a-2008 code man-dates the units run continuously as long as terminal facil-ities are open. This is often 24/7 operation in such places, leading to wasted energy and more frequent maintenance than may be necessary. A request for proposals for this study is expected in November.

Annual Chicago Cruise to Benefit EESF

The 5th Annual Chicago Cruise set sail on Lake Michigan on June 29, with 122 attendees aboard the Summer of George, to benefit the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF). Raising more than US$17,700, the annual event is held to further the Foundation’s mission of educating the public on the safe and proper use of elevators, escalators and moving walks. At the “check” presentation, the amount raised equated to the purchasing of materials for the Foundation to educate 60,593 children with its Safe-T Rider© program. While supporting industry safety, pas-sengers also enjoyed the city’s skyline, partaking in hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.

Recent Serapid Hires  

In June, Serapid, Inc. of Sterling Heights, Michigan, hired three new employees for positions in engineering and manufacturing. First, Devin Badaczewski is a designer in the engineering department. He has held several internships prior to joining the company, and plans to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree at Flint, Michigan’s Kettering University in December. Second, Emanuel Chirila is a project engineer with over 17 years of Mechanical Engineering experience designing small mechanics and assembly automation machines. Finally, Anthony Lelej is a builder in the manufacturing depart-ment. Prior to joining Serapid, Lelej worked as a job setter for American Axle in Detroit.

Manhattan Office Tower

Real-estate firm Hines and Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc., a family-owned investment company, have joined forces to develop a 28-story office building in midtown Manhattan at 1045 Avenue of the Americas. As of August, Hines had completed demolition activity of the site, which has been owned by Pacolet Milliken for the last 57 years. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners will design the office property, which is to be built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® qualifications. Construction on the steel-and-glass structure could start as early as 2012.

NFPA Launches New Program

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed and launched a new Certificate of Educational Achievement program, allowing NFPA seminar attendees to further validate their code knowledge and earn additional continuing-education units. NFPA has expanded six of its essential fire and life safety seminars by an additional day to include a review session and self-assessment exercises followed by an exam for attendees to demonstrate their ability to understand and apply the information they have learned. Upon successful completion, attendees receive a certificate of achievement confirming their understanding of each topic. Available topics at locations across the country include: Life Safety Code® Essentials with Focus on Occupancies; National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code; Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Fire Alarms; Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems; Installation of Sprinkler Systems; and Fire Pumps.

For more information or to register, contact NFPA toll free: (800) 344-3555 or visit website: www.nfpatraining.org/certificates.

Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Plans

In a deal with New York City, two state legislators have relinquished their power to veto controversial high-rise housing from being built at the city’s Brooklyn Bridge Park project. In exchange, 40,000 sq. ft. will be shaved from a high rise planned for John Street, and two other planned buildings at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights could be downsized or eliminated. Brooklyn Bridge Park has been a topic of controversy since project planners announced in December 2004 that more than 1,200 luxury condominiums would have to be built to offset the park’s estimated US$16.1-million annual maintenance costs. The new deal between the city and legislators helps ensure the completion of the 85-acre waterfront development. Currently, only one high rise offering 440 luxury units at Pier 5 has been built, with another 780 units on hold due to the economy. The city plans to gather proposals from developers interested in building 180 condominiums and a 225-room hotel at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Heights, one of the few finished portions of the park.

Thyssenkrupp Elevator Using Propane Fuel

ThyssenKrupp Elevator announced in July that it is test driving propane-fuel technology for its service vehicles in the Phoenix market. The company, which runs a fleet of 3,300 vehicles in North America, has partnered with ROUSH® CleanTech to engineer Ford E-series cargo vans to run on liquid propane. Three of the elevator company’s vans are taking place in a pilot program.

According to studies funded by the Propane Education and Research Council, when compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, automobiles burning propane emit at least 18%less greenhouse gases, 20% less nitrogen oxide and 60%less carbon monoxide than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Tom Armstrong, director of fleet at ThyssenKrupp Eleva-tor, remarked:

“We are excited about deploying this new alternative-fuel product in our fleet. We expect the pilot program in Phoenix to lead to significant cost savings in both fuel usage and maintenance intervals. A successful pilot will inform our use of alternative fuels in all our North American markets in the future, which will reduce the operating costs for our fleet overall.”

Lerch Bates Now Marta Consultant

Lerch Bates Inc., an independent vertical-transportation consulting firm, has been selected by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) to provide elevator and escalator consulting services for a five-year period that began in January. The company will provide full-time services to support the maintenance, repair and modernization of MARTA’s elevators and escalators, including specialized consulting, project management, design engineering, cost estimating, equipment condition assessments, work performance audits, standards development, incident investigations, construction inspections, contract and code compliance inspections, and training.

Former NYC Bank Preservation

In July, an advocacy group concerned with preservation succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order to halt work on a New York City (NYC) landmark office building at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street. The Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation is concerned about implementations of restrictions designed to protect the building’s interior, including the strong diagonal line of its twin escalators connecting the first floor and the mezzanine. This section is recessed from the street and, according to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, “appears to float, creating the impression that both levels occupy a single, monumental space.”

The building, now owned by Vornado Realty Trust, is a former bank and originally part of Manufacturers Trust Co. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Gordon Bunshaft. Architecture experts have fought for preservation of the structure. Other reasons cited for preservation are that the glass-and-steel construction blur the distinction between inside and outside, the apparent paradox of a transparent safeguarding structure and a deceptively inaccessible steel safe.

Elevator World Relaunches Website

The Elevator World, Inc. website relaunched on September 6, showcasing a complete redesign. The over-hauled site includes new features, such as the recently launched eDirectory, an online business directory and monthly web exclusives. Boasting an improved user interface, the site continues to provide all of the news and industry tools and information users have come to expect from Elevator World’s online presence.

Peelle To Supply Empire State Building

The Peelle Co. announced in August that it was selected by Otis to work on the modernization of two freight cars in New York City’s Empire State Building. The project calls for seven doors (6 ft. X 7 ft., 6 in.), three stainless-steel power gates and two stainless-steel cab enclosures. The original equipment was installed by Peelle for Otis in the 1960s (ELEVATOR WORLD, September 2011). Peelle will supply and install the material with its Local 1 International Union of Elevator Constructors workforce.

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