Fifty and Feelin’ Fine

Fifty and Feelin’ Fine
The hotel balcony provided great views during the President’s Reception.

CECA celebrates its 50th in style in Montreal.

Montreal, Canada, is a city of many nomenclatures: the “City of Saints,” “City Beautiful,” the “City of Terrasses” (in more popular culture), and Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Montreal, city of 100 steeples.” Whichever you prefer (your author’s vote is for the terrasses), Canada’s second most populous city, which is surrounded by centuries of history in architecture, art and French culture, proved itself to be a delightful setting for the 48th annual Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA) Convention as the organization celebrated its 50th anniversary.

With a return to an in-person format, the 2022 CECA Convention was hosted by Ascenseur Adams Elevator Service Inc. and was held in the heart of Montreal at the Westin, which is within walking distance of many prominent Montreal destinations, including the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, the cobblestone streets of Montreal’s famous Parisian-style historic district and the Old Port. Montreal is known for its universities, festivals, art and culture, history and food. And attendees got a taste of it all from the convention’s wide array of events.

Monday, May 30

Although the main show didn’t kick off until Wednesday, the CECA Convention began with the Board of Directors (BoD) meeting. For those arriving early, registration was available, and there were three education sessions held along with the CECA Construction Hoist meeting. And, of course, this was the first night of the notorious hospitality suite located in the Presidential Suite of the Westin.

Tuesday, May 31

Tuesday opened with a golf outing to Club de golf Islesmere, which boasts a rich history and offers an enjoyable but challenging walk through the woods. Back at the Westin, booths were being set up, and two more educational sessions were held before the show really kicked off with the President’s Reception that evening, where CECA President Phil Staite officially welcomed the group.

Upon entering the reception in the Fortifications Ballroom on the ninth floor of the hotel, each person was given a sticker with either a French word or an English word on it and told there would be a game. There was also a choice between a red or white martini (signifying CECA’s and Canada’s colors and the fact that a martini is a drink from the 1970s — the decade CECA was formed).

Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served with an amazing view of the Montreal skyline from the ballroom’s giant windows and balcony. There was continuous conversation throughout the event. A little while into it, the game was introduced: to find the person with the same word as you in the other language. The fastest were given a shot of tequila. The “lucky” winners were then asked to sing a song for 5 s — most of the winners declined, leaving it to just a few songs and one final winner.

The party continued for a while before those 18 to 39 were invited to a Meet and Greet in the Presidential Suite. Again, the Hospitality Suite was open late into the night.

Wednesday, June 1

Wednesday morning began with breakfast, again with the amazing view from the Fortifications Ballroom. Attendees enjoyed entertainment from Spidey, a mentalist and social media star from Canada who was able to correctly name the word someone had picked out of a book, guess who had drawn certain pictures and what they drew and draw a scene that someone was thinking of.

After the entertainment, Staite took the microphone, thanked everyone for coming, and welcomed Pedro Oughourlian, president and CEO of Adams Elevator, to the podium for a welcome and announcements.

Next up, exhibitors had a chance to finish setting up their booths during CECA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). Staite welcomed the group and asked for a moment of silence to remember CECA Western Region Director Alexander Zachata, who passed away earlier in the week.

The officers then each gave their report with the membership report again showing an increase in members: 29 new members, 14 new contractor members and 15 new supplier members. Julie Gilby’s Treasurer’s Report indicated an improvement in 2021 from 2020. She said the organization was in a “great position,” and “we continue to stay strong as an organization.” The Eastern Region indicated challenges in Quebec, including moving to the 2019 code at some point in the future, and the Central Region also discussed the 2019 code. The Prairie report covered Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and the Western report covered Yukon, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia.

Up next, committee reports were given. The Code Committee update included the discussion of the Building Code requiring numbers for the floors instead of letters. The scholarship report mentioned the online portal for CECA scholarships and promoting CECA through scholarships at Durham and Mohawk colleges. The Construction Hoist Committee reported that Mack Csazar is the new chair and Construction Hoist EDAC representative and that the code modification project is moving ahead. The Private Residence Division said the homeowner site is now available in French, and the CAT training program is available with a granted path allowance to Dec. 31, 2014. The committee had also hosted a seminar on risk and liabilities and had been meeting with insurance companies and building associations with a goal of increasing safety. The MCP Library Committee urged everyone to assist in populating the MCP Library, and the MCP Update gave an update on the current codes the MCP is available in — including the 2019 code. For the Education Committee, Staite gave an update on the push for Red Seal (a program that sets common standards to assess the skills of tradespeople across Canada).

Staite then presented the 2022 CECA President’s Award to Steve Husband of GAL Canada for his “never wavering commitment” to and support of CECA and willingness to serve, includinging his current roles on the Scholarship Committee and as golf co-chair and as a past member of the CECA BoD. About the recognition, Husband said, “One thing about CECA is the friendships. Those memories stay with you forever. To get this award from one of my closest industry friends is pretty special.”

As for the board members, Don Sanchez agreed to continue for another term as Western Region Director, Chi Kit Wong accepted the nomination of Western Region Director to replace Doug Guderian’s floating position, Don Cowan accepted the nomination of Central Region Director, Karl Lepage agreed to continue on for another term as Eastern Region Director, and Jeff Collins was re-elected by the Supplier members for another four-year term as a Supplier Director. All were approved.

During the call for new business, there was a report of the start of the 1839 Club to engage the youth in the industry. Increased visibility of CECA was also discussed, along with how lobbying efforts have already started accomplishing this. After the AGM, the BoD met briefly for the President’s Meeting.

Then it was time for lunch and to visit the exhibits. The eighth floor was filled with exhibits from 47 companies representing all facets of the vertical-transportation industry. Contractors and suppliers alike made their way around the room and visited the booths. One booth (Automisation JRT — which won the Best Booth Award) even had service robots serving coffee.

Later that afternoon, a Bridge Builders Meeting was held along with another education session before the past CECA President/Current Directors Function, the cocktail reception and the night’s main event: the Black & White Gala Dinner Dance.

The Gala Dinner Dance was extra-special this year, as the event celebrated CECA’s 50th anniversary. Held a few blocks away from the Westin at the Plaza Centre-Ville, the event opened with entertainment from an Elvis impersonator who encouraged a number of “volunteers” during his act.

Staite discussed some of the history of CECA. He said there was a seven-month elevator strike, but the elevator contractors got together to find a solution. “They saw the benefit then of a group of companies working together for a common good,” and the group was incorporated as a nonprofit on May 29, 1972, in Montreal. The first CECA convention was held in Toronto in 1975, and they wore tuxedos, which is why this year’s event was a black and white theme.

During the night, special guests and the BoD were recognized, along with honorary member Jean Pierre Viau and convention sponsors. Membership recognition awards were given before the band Rebound played familiar songs to which the crowd sang and danced along. Fitting the celebration theme, birthday cake was served for dessert.

Thursday, June 2

After a big night out, some participants returned to the Fortifications Ballroom for the Supplier Breakfast, while others enjoyed the Contractor Continental Breakfast.

Collins ran the Supplier Meeting, welcoming everyone and asking the new members to stand up and introduce themselves. He mentioned that there are now 153 supplier members with the addition of 15 new supplier members this year. Again, Collins discussed the MCP Library Update, asking for the group’s help. He also provided information on the work permits that are needed for doing business in Quebec.

Again, the exhibit booths were open to visit and the final two education sessions were held before the Thursday Fun Night off-site event at Érablière Charbonneau, which gave participants a chance to experience an authentic Quebecois sugar shack tradition complete with dinner, drinks and fun.

The 2023 convention will be hosted by CKG Inc. in Halifax on June 13-16. In 2024, CECA will be a part of United in Atlantic City, and the 2025 event will be hosted by Alcor Elevator in Niagara Falls.

Education Sessions

The following education sessions were held during the 2022 CECA Convention alongside other events:

  • The Peelle Co.: “Vertical Door Modernization”
  • Webb Electronics Inc.: “Remote Two-Way Video Is Here … Are Your Monitoring Stations Ready?”
  • Elite Elevator Services: “False Cars, Running & Working Platforms”
  • David McIvor: “Upgrade Your People Plan and Business Operating System to Reach New Heights”
  • GAL Canada – A Vantage Company: “GALaxy Controllers With Focus Primarily on Our E-Hydro”
  • Emercom: “Everything You Need for 2019 Code Communications Installations”
  • CEDES: “Unraveling the Door Protection Requirements of CSA B44-19”
  • FieldBoss: “Elevator Contractor Cybersecurity Risks and What You Can Do To Protect Your Business”

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