Elevator U 2014

The board of directors’ meeting

A busy event in sunny Nebraska showcases gathering of university industry people.

Lincoln, Nebraska, played host to the latest iteration of Elevator U (EU) on June 23-26. Close to the University of Nebraska, The Cornhusker, A Marriott Hotel in the capital city, was a convenient place for those who were able to book rooms there, as it accommodated not only the many educational sessions and seminars, but also a busy exhibition with 35 tabletop booths. The 17th annual event also included a tour of the Nebraska State Capitol, which was within walking distance.

The first day of events started with a golf outing at the nearby Wilderness Ridge, with a board of directors meeting taking place that night. During the latter, it was revealed that EU had 114 current members, and though this number was lower than that of the previous year, there was a consensus that outreach to potential and new members had been successful. Plans to spread the word of EU’s educational opportunities and hold events at more colleges/universities were summarized, and attendees introduced themselves for the benefit of the new directors and guests.

The following morning began with an opening from President Terri Flint and host John Harper of the University of Nebraska. Flint asked new members to stand, showing that a large portion of attendees fit this category. Harper said the university was thrilled to have EU and “would love to host again.”

David Smarte, representing the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC), began the day’s presentations by explaining the NAEC Certified Elevator Technician (CET®) educational program. Attendees seemed interested to hear that, since CET was built on an apprenticeship program, its implementation does not necessarily cause “more work”; rather, it could be thought of as “apprenticeship with education.” He also outlined how NAEC and state departments of labor can help set up an apprenticeship program. Dave Flint from the University of Michigan interjected, “If you’re not using an apprenticeship program, I strongly suggest you begin one” due to its synergy with human-resources development. He said this is particularly needed for the employment of former military personnel, who must participate in apprenticeship programs to receive their federal grant. Doug Witham announced an NAEC bylaws change made last fall that helps universities adopt the CET program.

Following a roundtable session on “Preventative Maintenance Vs. Run to Failure,” Tracey Fackler, Richard Taylor and Kevin Robinson from Draka Elevator Products presented on seismic requirements and unintended elevator movement. In addition to mentioning their company’s worldwide presence and company structure, they spoke on seismic monitoring, elevator traveling cable, earthquakes and fiber-optic transmission options.

The fun “Vendor-Mercials” came next, with SnapCab, Mathis Electronics, Codedataplate.com and Smartrise Engineering entertaining the audience, while promoting their products and services. That evening, a “Murder Mystery Dinner” captivated the audience, which was busy finding clues to solve a complex crime.

Glenn Duncan began the third day with the Nominating Committee’s report on approved changes to the EU bylaws allowing associate membership (excluding standing for election and holding offices) and honorary membership. As Terri Flint, Ed “Jaz” Jaskowak and Duncan are original board of directors members, since the inception of EU, they were made honorary members. For 2014, Martin Culp (University of Maryland) was elected chairman of the board, Terri Flint (University of Michigan) was elected president and Neil “Eddie” Morris (University of Virginia) was elected vice president.Flint extended honorary membership to Chip Albertson, an EU member with the Smithsonian Institution who passed away in February.

The first morning presentation was by Dennis Rhodes of Imperial Electric on changing elevators from geared to gearless types. Including a video demonstration, it compared and contrasted AC and DC gearless motors; explained the benefits of AC permanent-magnet synchronous motors; and outlined roping configurations, gearing types, sheave adaptation and other changes, such as structural ones made during modernizations.

Mark Nothstine from C.E. Acoustics, Inc. then presented on the nature of sound and how to mitigate its intensity (and that of other vibrations) in an elevator installation. He noted the importance of customizing acoustic material and its location for a quieting/isolating effect.

Though Dotty Stanlaske of NAESA International had to cancel her talk on the organization’s QEI program, Dick Gregory updated attendees on what information he had gleaned from recent NAESA meetings. Attendees were glad to hear that several sessions over the course of the week applied to recertification for either or both QEI and CET.

From there, Brett Ables, James E. Rowe and others from O’Keefe Elevator Co., Inc. led most attendees to the Nebraska State Capitol, where they helped guide a fascinating tour of the historic building’s recently completed elevator modernization for which O’Keefe was the general contractor. There, they were joined by the extremely hospitable Capitol Administrator Robert C. Ripley and Preservation Architect Matt Hansen. Look for a full report on this unique installation in an upcoming issue of ELEVATOR WORLD.

A large room was set up for the continuation and finale of the busy expo, which followed the tour. In it, a silent auction was held for the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF), netting US$4,195. A 50/50 raffle was also conducted. This was won by Mark Drake but donated back to the Foundation, which added US$1,136 to the donations. Finally, men from five companies donated a combined extra US$900, bringing the grand total to US$6,231.

Culp opened the final day of EU by commenting that the conference and its attendance had been very good throughout. Chris Marshall of SmarTork Inc. then presented on “Wind Stack Issues on Hoistway Doors,” explaining how elevators are in a “wind tunnel” (the shaft). His product helps overcome the resistance created by this situation by allowing the door operator to work with the spirator (EW, November 2011). Marshall updated the audience with news that the product is being tested by the U.S. government for use in its own elevators. Though your reporter had to catch a plane at noon, the final day continued with “Elevator Code: Alterations and Acceptance Inspections 2010 and 2013” by John Rearick of Codedataplate.com and “Safety” by Bob Shepard. The next EU annual meeting will take place at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, during the week of June 22, 2015.  

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