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Elevator U at ISU

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Nearly 140 school, manufacturer, supplier, installation, service and consultant representatives attended this conference at Iowa State University (ISU).

Each June, a significant number of U.S. elevator-industry personnel gather at a major university to participate in the Elevator U (EU) Conference. This year’s event took place June 17–20 at Iowa State University (ISU), and, as in the past, was very well attended. Nearly 140 people from throughout the U.S. participated, representing 51 schools, 66 product manufacturers and suppliers, local and national elevator installation and service companies, and elevator consultants.

Early on day one, conference attendees boarded two buses to travel to Denver, Iowa, home of the Schumacher Elevator Company factory. Participants enjoyed a three-hour tour of the factory, allowing ample opportunity to see firsthand how elevator system components are manufactured and assembled, then tested and prepared to be shipped throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After returning to the ISU campus, conference attendees prepared for the evening recreational activity – a trip to Des Moines to attend an Iowa Cubs professional minor-league baseball game. It was a full day for those who participated in both events, but it provided terrific learning and socializing opportunities, so there were no complaints.

The next two days were dedicated to educational activities that consisted of technical presentations and an ongoing vendor equipment exhibition. The first day of the conference got off to a nice start with welcoming remarks by 2012 EU President Martin Culp of the University of Maryland and Bob Crew of Iowa State University. Glen Duncan, EU nominating-committee chairman, took care of the first order of business by introducing the proposed slate of officers and directors for the coming year. The following were elected to office for the 2013/2014 year:    

  • Terri Flint – president 
  • Bob Schumacher – vice president 
  • Steve Pydynowski – Treasurer 
  • Brad O’Guynn – secretary 
  • Don Ross – director
  • Brad Haldeman – director 
  • Tom Sybert – director
  • Martin Culp – chairman of the board
  • Glenn Duncan – founding director

Following this formality, the educational sessions got under way, with the day’s first presenter being Said Lounis of Serapid Lifts. The session began with a video of various Serapid lifts moving in concert to a beautiful musical score. It was a vertical-transportation ballet the likes of which we had never seen. The technical aspects of these devices were then described in detail, as were their many applications that aid in the transportation of personnel, as well as goods.

Trans 21’s Lawrence Fabian next presented a new subject for attendees to consider and in which they showed a great deal of interest. In his presentation “Modern Campus Circulators,” Fabian described various automated people-mover systems (APMs) that have been installed worldwide and explained how they are being used in various cities, airports, healthcare institutions and one major university. The intended (and some unintended) benefits these systems have provided were also described and the potential application of APMs on additional university campuses was extensively discussed with the audience.

A presentation by Billy Shrum of Maxton Manufacturing on “Diagnosing and Troubleshooting Hydraulic [Elevator] Problems” followed Fabian’s.

The afternoon sessions started off with the Vendor-Mercials, an anticipated traditional feature of every EU Conference. Gorman Company, Inc.’s Michael Johnson took to the podium first to speak on the proper application and use of Gorman’s products.

Next, SnapCab’s Adam Twersky livened things up a bit with a rap music presentation of rhythm and rhyme during which he covered the full scope of products and services SnapCab offers to the industry. With a little help from his friends in the audience, “The Twersky Show” was a real hit.

Mathis Electronics always surprises with its presentations during the Vendor-Mercials, and this year was no exception, as thespian Ed Mathis covered all aspects of the company’s offerings by imitating a very familiar movie scene.

Things got a bit more serious as Walter Barnes presented the Electronic Controls product line and discussed how his organization continues to serve the elevator industry.

The final Vendor-Mercial was a skit acted out by Ed Jaskowak, Don Ross, Brad Welch and John Rearick, during which they promoted the availability and application of the Written Maintenance Control Program developed by Vertical Assessment, LLC.

Following an afternoon break, educational sessions resumed with a fine presentation by Martin Rhiner of Brugg Wire Rope, during which the various configurations and properties of steel wire ropes were discussed. Also covered were hoist-rope inspection criteria and the detrimental effects of wire-rope exposure to excessive moisture.

When educational sessions were complete for the day, attendees took a brief break to prepare for the evening Vendor Expo and Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) Silent Auction, during which conference attendees visited with exhibitors and raised US$5,054 for the EESF.

The second day of educational sessions got off to a bright and early start with a Breakfast Membership Meeting, during which EU Committee reports were presented, and the coming year’s officers and directors were announced and sworn into office by Jim Anicich.

The day’s next presenter, Nicholas J. Montesano of DTM, Inc., discussed his consulting company’s successful implementation and utilization of the fully integrated  Helios ESG management and inspection software package. The effectiveness and efficiencies gained by integrating a complete office network with mobile technology were described and explained in detail by Montesano and followed up with an extensive discussion with the audience.

Dick Gregory of Vertex Elevator Consulting was the next presenter who spoke on the importance of specifying, installing and properly maintaining elevator door retainers, either integrated with or in addition to standard door gibs. In his presentation “Keep Your Students Safe,” Gregory presented design data and engineering calculations to emphasize how best to manufacture, install and maintain these products to ensure they will fulfill the purpose for which they are intended, which is to keep elevator door panels in place in response to severe impact loads to which they may be subjected.

The afternoon sessions were started by your author, during which time I presented the state of the elevator industry throughout the Americas and abroad. In addition, the latest products that are available from Elevator World, Inc. were described and discussed, along with some of the upcoming features that will be presented in ELEVATOR WORLD, ELEVATOR WORLD India and on the EW websites at www.elevatorworld.com.

Adam Braman of Helios ESG then explained how project- management software can be implemented and applied to all aspects of an elevator company’s business. As the 2013 EU Conference drew to a close, it was evident from the remarks exchanged by the attendees that this year’s event was another very worthwhile experience, both from an educational and a networking perspective. And, as farewells were exchanged, everyone indicated they would be looking forward to attending next year’s conference, which will be held at the University of Nebraska. For more information on the 2014 EU Conference, visit website: www.elevatoru.org.

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