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Getting Back to Business

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A Clear and Unified Vision - Elevator bank; photo © Scotia Plaza
Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick

Just prior to writing this, I sat in on a meeting of U.S and Canada industry leaders. Organized by Elevator U and led by Eddie Morris (University of Virginia), the meeting included the executive directors of all the major associations, three of whom were new in 2020: The National Association of Elevator Contractors’ Rena Cozart joined Jim Borwey with NAESA International and Amy Blankenbiller with the National Elevator Industry, Inc. as new to the group. Old hands Sheila Swett and John W. Koshak of the International Association of Elevator Consultants, Shawn Cowden of the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation and the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association’s Catharine Bothwell joined in the discussion of where the industry is heading at this point in the pandemic. About 70 people were on the call at one time. All who spoke were enthusiastic and felt the tide was turning and the prospects for summer and fall were good. Everyone is ready to get out and see people in person again. Most organizations have been using the time in isolation to reorganize. Several have hired new staff or have new directives. All felt the momentum rising in the industry. 

Much as I hate the term “new normal,” we seem to be moving into it seamlessly. Industry indices are all up — including hiring, modernizations and even demand for office space. A national index tracking demand for office space gained 29% last month, led by growth in Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C. Overall demand is still at 38% below pre-pandemic levels. There are a lot of questions and uncertainties about the future of the office market, but major office owner KBS is bullish on the office market — and that is good for vertical transportation.

We ran the third COVID-19 Impact, Outlook survey and found the view, especially from consultants, much improved for the next six months. Speaking of which, consultant Koshak has written an extensive study, SARS-CoV-2 Mitigations in Elevators, which identifies the characteristics of the coronavirus and examines the technical solutions for sanitizing an elevator.

This month we are focusing on Special Application Lifts, and we have an amazing variety of styles and locations:

  • DOPPLER Inclined Elevators by Giannis Nikolaou: The 20-year-old Greek manufacturer designs inclined elevators for many hard-to-reach properties in accordance with EN 81-22.
  • Role in Revitalization by Kaija Wilkinson: Boutique hotel The Bee in the historic district of Danville, Virginia, gets an ADA-compliant platform lift.
  • Special Applications for Special Projects by Craig Brown: Alimak has designed vertical solutions for industrial and construction industries for 70 years. The article reviews some of their largest and highest.
  • KLEEMANN Home Solutions by Dimitris Rimpas: A new generation of electric and hydraulic lifts makes optimum use of space and advanced electronics from the Greek manufacturer.
  • Sharing the Water by Bill MacLachlan and Harrison Swadley: In this Project Spotlight, Hill Hiker builds an inclined elevator that allows a disabled family member to reach the water of the family lakeside vacation home.
  • Access to the Acropolis by Wilkinson: Italy’s Maspero installs a lift in one of the world’s oldest surviving citadels with the help of the Onassis Foundation and under the watchful eyes of local archaeologists.

A clever story everyone can enjoy is A “Marriage” Made in Heaven: Steve Grainer and Mitsubishi Electric US This is a great interview with my old friend Steve Grainer, who is retiring after 50 years in the industry. He was Mitsubishi’s first U.S. hire — so he has some tales to tell. Enjoy this issue, and let’s get back to business! Stay safe.

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