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Executive Changes, New Hires

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Midwestern and New York companies revise leadership, personnel added to other firms.

O’Keefe Elevator Elects New Officers in Historic Vote

The board of O’Keefe Elevator Co., exclusive thyssenkrupp distributor in Nebraska and Iowa, elected new officers in a historic vote that named Bret Abels president and chief operating officer — the first non-family member to serve as president since the company’s founding more than 100 years ago. Abels previously served as senior vice president. Dennis B. Wychulis was named chairman of the board and CEO; Alan L. Gilmore, senior vice president and secretary; Sam M. Sennett, vice president, Service; and Scott D. Ethington, chief financial officer and treasurer.

After 44 years with O’Keefe, including the past 12 as president, Wychulis is stepping away from day-to-day operations but will maintain an advisory role with the executive management team. Abels, who is also president of the National Association of Elevator Contractors, has been with O’Keefe for 28 years and will take over day-to-day operations. Gilmore has 34 years of experience with O’Keefe and will continue his duties as head of New Construction. Sennett has 20 years of elevator-industry experience, with the last 12 positioning him to assume the role previously filled by Abels. Ethington is in his fifth year with O’Keefe, and previously served as controller.

The changes were unanimously approved by the grandchildren of O’Keefe founder Denis O’Keefe, Sr., who are all represented on the board and own 100% of the business.

Changes in Management at GAL

GAL Manufacturing Corp., headquartered in Bronx, New York, has made two key changes to its management team. Doug Witham, a 40-year industry veteran and 16-year employee of GAL, has shifted from the role of vice president of Sales and Manufacturing to the newly created position of vice president of Business Development. Filling Witham’s shoes in the Sales and Manufacturing role is Steven Ort, who has more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, most recently with Oerlikon Surface Solutions of Switzerland. Ort holds a BS in Business from Central Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Boisvert to Oversee U.S. Sales, Operations for ITI Hydraulik

ITI Hydraulik has named Steve Boisvert sales and operations manager for the U.S. He brings more than 20 years of experience, including 11 years at Motion Control Engineering. Boisvert is a registered professional engineer in Canada. In his new role, he is tasked with setting up ITI Hydraulik’s West Coast operation and continuing to grow U.S. sales. Boisvert states he is excited to become part of a team that considers itself among the best manufacturers of elevator cylinders.

TEI Hires Account Executive

New York City-based TEI Group has hired Sarah Kapitanoff as an account executive. Prior to joining TEI Group, Kapitanoff spent 10 years at thyssenkrupp’s Manhattan, New York, branch and three years at Otis before that. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Business and Communications. She stated, “I look forward to being part of a team that delivers safe, quality workmanship, delivered with integrity to each and every customer.”
Adam Hersh, senior vice president of Sales & Marketing, commented: “We believe Sarah’s skills, intellect and commitment to the vertical-transportation industry are a great match for our company. We welcome her to the TEI Group family.”

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