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The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) held its Silent Auction fundraiser on May 10 during the Opening Night reception of the IAEC Annual Forum. As part of the evening’s activities, attendees played Exhibitor Bingo. Bingo cards were given out listing all vendors, and attendees had to visit each booth to get them stamped. Those who filled their cards with stamps were put into a drawing for an iPad, which was donated by C.E. Electronics. In addition, various other exhibitors donated items for the silent auction, ranging from Kindles to gift cards.

D.C. Metro Options, Workers Needed

Washington, D.C. Metro officials are working to improve the system’s escalator and elevator service. According to them, US$148 million will be spent over the next five years to replace 140 escalators and 30 elevators in the system. As part of the upcoming budget, Metro is asking for 10 more workers in its escalator- and elevator-maintenance division. However, according to the agency, it would need to hire an additional 55 workers at a cost of US$6.8 million to fix the escalator problems. The calculation of 55 additional workers does not include the maintenance needs for the new Metro line to Dulles International Airport, which will have 100 elevators and escalators. It is reported that the Metro’s budget gap for the coming fiscal year is US$66 million, making it unclear how many technicians the agency can hire.

According to Metro board member Tommy Wells, the transit system is also looking into whether it should con-tract out the work to maintain and repair the 588 escalators and 236 elevators at the region’s 86 stations. Wells, concerned about the “steep decline” of Metro’s vertical-transportation systems, believes the Metro may do better to utilize outside contractors who are held to “performance measures,” rather than in-house repair teams.

Draka Announces Partnership, Certification

Draka and ECS, an escalator parts manufacturer, have joined efforts for a strategic partnership in which Draka will carry the entire ECS product line with a special focus on the New York and New Jersey metro areas. Based in Chicago, ECS manufactures steps, step chains, polyurethane rollers and machined and injection molded parts for most escalators. In addition, it specializes in refurbishing worn escalator steps.

Certification

Draka also recently announced that its new Sure Stop RB500 rope brake was certified to CSA B44.1/ASME A17.5 and has been verified to meet all ASME A17.1 code requirements. It has also been tested and certified by the National Elevator Inspection and Testing Center. The product is designed to instantly arrest movement on elevator speeds up to 500 fpm. The patent-pending design is a one-piece brake that operates electro-mechanically, and no additional hydraulic unit is needed.

MEI/VMI Fitness Center

Minnesota Elevator, Inc. (MEI) and Vertitron Midwest, Inc. (VMI) both of Mankato, Minnesota, have added a 24-hour fitness facility available to employees and spouses. According to Steve Romnes, president of VMI, physical health has been a big part of the MEI and the VMI culture over the past few years, therefore building a fitness center seemed appropriate. In 2010, both companies created a wellness program called, “Elevating Good Health.” The program includes various program sessions and reward incentives for healthy practices among employees.

In addition, MEI was named one of the healthiest employers by the Minneapolis and St. Paul Business Journal Healthiest Employers®. Although MEI and VMI both actively participate in the health program, MEI was the only one named by the Business Journal, as one of the requirements was to have an office in Minneapolis or St. Paul.

18TH-Annual IAEC Dinner Cruise

The New York Region of the International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC) will hold its 18th-annual dinner cruise on August 18. Dockside cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the ship departing promptly at 6:30 p.m. for the cruise around lower Manhattan, New York. The cruise will include a cocktail hour, dinner and dancing. Docked at World Yacht, Pier 81 at West 41st Street, Manhattan, parking is available at the pier. The event will benefit the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation, the mission of which is to educate the public on the safe and proper use of elevators, escalators and moving walks through informative programs such as Safe-T Rider©. For more information or to register, visit website: www.iaec.org.

Janus’ Commander T2 Approved

The Commander T2 touch-screen car-operating panel (COP) from Janus Elevator Products, Inc. has been approved by the New York City Department of Buildings, Elevator Division. The T2 is among the first touch-screen panels approved in the U.S. for use as the main elevator COP. The Department of Buildings determined that the vandal- resistant panel is in compliance with ASME A17.1, ICC/NCANSI A117.1-1998 and the New York City Building Code. The panel increases elevator efficiency for transit time, enhances passenger experience and lowers the effects of wear and tear. The T2 replaces traditional push-button panels and offers a customizable interface that can be matched to building décor and programmed to deliver supple-mental information. High- resolution graphics can pair tenant logos with floor buttons, provide multimedia building information and entertainment, or deliver advertising messages.

For more information, contact Janus at 125 Ricefield Lane, Hauppauge, New York 11788; toll free: (800) 527-9156; fax: (631) 864-2631; e-mail: sales@januselevator.com; or website: www.januselevator.com.

Thyssenkrupp Elevator In Fig At 7th

U.S.-based general building company Turner Construction has announced the signing of an accord with Brookfield Properties, a real-estate developer that manages and owns properties in North America and Australia. Turner is to provide renovation services to a retail mall in down-town Los Angeles. The project includes six elevators and four escalators to be installed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator. The company will use its own units, with the exception of two Minnesota Elevator, Inc. elevators, built to Target’s specifications. The four ThyssenKrupp Elevator-built units feature regenerative drives.

Known as Fig at 7th, the mall is situated at 735 South Figueroa Street. The entire project is valued at around US$23 million and requires the renovation of the entire three-story enclosed retail mall spread across 330,000 sq. ft. The existing elevators and escalators will be removed for the new equipment, and this work and many other renovations designed by Gensler are to be completed by May 2012.

Serapid Announces Marketing Manager

The Serapid Group announced the appointment of Bonnie Taube to the position of marketing manager for North America and Europe. Taube’s responsibilities will include creating marketing strategies to grow and expand Serapid business worldwide. Prior to joining the company, Taube worked in publishing as the founder and president of a commercial real-estate magazine. Following the sale of the publication, she worked as an advertising executive for The Oakland Press. Taube has an English degree from Syracuse University.

13TH Competitors Classic Announced

The 13th “Not-So-Annual” Competitors Classic has been announced. The golf outing will take place at Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas on October 28. A shotgun tee time is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The event, which began in 1992, is open to all members of the elevator industry, past and present. It has grown from four players at the first two events to over 100 players from across the country in recent years. Organizers hope to have a reunion photo shoot with former industry members who attend. To make reservations, contact Daryl Anderson via e-mail: dda@hkaconsulting.com, John Reynolds via e-mail: john@hkaconsulting.com or Jim Sternberg via e-mail: jim@hkaconsulting.com.    

The Vermont Receives Approval

The Los Angeles City Council has granted construction approval to The Vermont, a mixed-use development to be built in the Mid-Wilshire district. The 464-unit apartment complex will include two high-rise towers at 22 and 28-stories tall surrounding a quarter-acre courtyard, with 41,000 square feet for ground-floor retailers, recreational space and underground parking. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® Silver-certified complex will be built at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. The preconstruction process is now underway by developer J.H. Snyder. Construction is to begin at the end of 2011, with completion estimated in 2013. The development is expected to create more than 1,500 union construction jobs.

Smartrise Appoints Maglietta

Smartrise Engineering, manufacturer of a non-proprietary elevator control platform, has announced the appointment of Tony Maglietta to the role of western regional manager. Maglietta brings 13 years of elevator-industry experience to the position. He will be responsible for the marketing and sales of Smartrise elevator control solutions from California to Colorado to Western Canada.

Ali Ezzeddine, vice president of Sales and Business Development for Smartrise, stated, “Smartrise’s unique control solutions and commitment to customer service is allowing Smartrise to grow through a tough time in our industry. With [Maglietta’s] industry knowledge, regional expertise and business leadership, his contributions will allow Smartrise to continue to exceed our goals for growth.”

Wiring-Diagram Restoration

Jim Collett, a retiree with 40 years of experience from the International Union of Elevator Constructors, offers redrawing, restoration and markups of existing wiring diagrams. Collett began his career as an electrical draftsman for Haughton Elevator Co. in Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where part of his job required him to markup wiring diagrams with changes from the field and revising standard diagrams and point-to-point tables and materials lists. Over the next 15 years, he worked in construction, modernization and service repair before becoming a service superintendent in Seattle, a job that provided his first exposure to a technical information library.

Eventually, Collett found himself in Monterey, California, working as a local representative for an independent company. Around this time, he decided to develop a technical library of his own. After purchasing a computer and a large format scanner, Collett began scanning the diagrams in his possession. After several years, he ended up with 20,000 sheets of vintage, obsolete, hard-to-find and out-of-business-elevator-companies’ wiring diagrams, manuals and engineering releases. Collett cataloged and assigned an item number to each document, which included the manufacturer, installation date, type (hydraulic, traction, etc.) and a short description. The diagrams were then converted to PDF files for customer convenience.

When Collett retired from the industry in 2000, he began to further pursue his diagram-restoration work. Using the skills he learned some 45 years ago, along with a graphics program, Collett can scan almost any size document, and redraw, restore, mark up, catalog, then convert it to almost any file format. 

For more information, contact Collett at phone: (831) 324-4697 or e-mail: elevatorinfo@att.net.

PNC Plans Pittsburgh Skyscraper

PNC Financial Services Group Inc. is planning to develop one of the world’s most environmentally friendly skyscrapers. The US$400-million tower will serve as PNC’s corporate headquarters and sit at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh. With 800,000 sq. ft. and nearly 40 stories, the headquarters will be designed by Gensler Pittsburgh, which plans to exceed Leadership in Environmental and Energy De-sign® Platinum-certification standards to meet PNC’s mandate for sustainability.

The design will feature street-level retail, about 400 underground parking spaces, fuel cells, solar panels, geothermal systems and other alternate-power generation sources. Other green features include optimally oriented building façades, operable windows, occupant-based heating and cooling systems, rainwater collection and water reuse.

Scraping will begin later this year on the land assembly. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2012 and be complete in summer 2015. It is estimated that the project will create 2,500 construction jobs, with 500 workers onsite during peak periods.

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