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Hawaii Hosts NAEC 2015 Educational Conference

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The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) convened in picturesque Honolulu for its annual spring event, tackling topics from safety to the ever-growing need for education.

For many, the journey to Honolulu, Hawaii, was a long one, but there were no complaints about the destination. The National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) 2015 Educational Conference played out against a stunning backdrop of sun and surf on April 18-21 at the Sheraton Waikiki and tackled the topics of the day through education sessions, roundtable discussions and social activities.

At the Welcome Reception, NAEC President Brian Farley greeted the more than 200 attendees, decked out in traditional Hawaiian leis and feasting on local fare, by calling attention to the multiple generations present. It was indeed a family affair, as NAEC members, many already working in multigenerational family businesses, also brought their children and, in the case of Farley, parents to enjoy the event and locale.

Relationships factored into the following morning’s Opening Breakfast, as well, as Farley pointed out the many past NAEC presidents in attendance, all of whom remained much engaged in the conversations at hand. That continuity has served the NAEC well, according to Farley, who described the NAEC board as the “gold standard in board conduction.” The efficiency and effectiveness of the board will continue under Bret Abels, the next NAEC president, and Joe McNally, the next vice president, said Farley. He thanked the board for putting together the conference and helped focus the crowd by stressing two important factors for the future: safety and the new Vertical Transportation Management Program, a personnel-development course intended for those seeking a comprehensive grounding in the elevator industry, including technical and general business training.

Keynote speaker Jan McInnis took over from Farley and wrapped up the breakfast with tips for conflict resolution and dealing with change, something she had heard the industry was slow to welcome. She encouraged attendees to “find the funny in change.” “If you can laugh, you can change the energy,” McInnis said. “Change is stressful, but you can use comedy to have a successful business.”

Over the course of the conference, the words of Farley and McInnis continued to ring true. Beginning with a well-attended Contractor Member Session on Saturday, April 18, conversation turned toward employee satisfaction, good management, good practices and enriched education. Those threads wove their way through much of Sunday and Monday’s education sessions and Tuesday’s Roundtable Discussions. Despite the pull of good weather and a multitude of local attractions to take advantage of, educational sessions were full, and conversations were robust. Change and the need for more of it in some areas, like safety and education, were realities for most attendees. And, as the industry continues to grow and business remains on the upswing, the need to come to terms with that is ever present. NAEC Deputy Director Faye Carter-Powell explained:

“Education has moved to the forefront as a requirement for today’s elevator companies. In an effort to assist the members, NAEC seeks out sessions that will satisfy the continuing-education requirements, not only for the Certified Elevator Technician (CET®) and Certified Accessibility and Private-Residence Lift Technician (CAT®) programs, but state licensing boards, as well. This year’s conference offered 10.5 hr. of CET-approved credit and six hours of CAT-approved continuing-education units. Additionally, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin approved sessions for mechanic license, with the state of Pennsylvania accepting for elevator inspectors and Kentucky for contractor license. Also, approving classes for QEI were NAESA and QEITF.”

There was little doubt that being in Hawaii was a treat for most attendees, many of whom were planning to stay long after the conference ended and journey to other islands, like Maui. Rather than distract, the lovely destination only seemed to enhance attendees’ sense of camaraderie, conversation and purpose.

NAEC Executive Director Teresa Witham said:

“The onsite and follow-up feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive . . . Every category of our membership was represented – contractors (commercial, residential and accessibility), suppliers and associate members (consultants.) We also had a visiting nonmember contractor we hope will join soon. There were many requests to return to Hawaii every five years. It was an upbeat event with great attendance in the educational sessions and fun social events that created a lot of networking opportunities.” The NAEC 2016 Educational Conference is scheduled for April 9-12 in Savannah, Georgia.

Educational Sessions

  • “ELVI Testing Without Weights” by Kevin Heling, Wurtec
  • “What Every Elevator Contractor & Supplier Needs to Know About Structuring their Assets, Lawsuit Protection, Tax Reduction and Estate Planning” by Larry Oxenham, ASAP
  • “Customizing Vertical Platform Lifts: The More Glass the Better?” by Doug Boydston, Handi-Lift
  • “eMarketing” by Mike Ryan, Peelle
  • “Debunking Myth of Elevator Energy” by Jim Bos, James W. Bos, LLC Sustainable Elevator Consulting & Engineering
  • “Leadership for Today and Tomorrow” by Karen Hopkins, The Hopkins Group, LLC
  • “One; Three; and Five-Year Tests of A18.1 Equipment – How to Conduct Them and by Whom” by Lee Rigby, Vertical Assessment Associates
  • “2-Way Communication and Applicable Codes” by David Bryant, Kings III
  • “Calculate Accurate Labor, Equipment, Overhead & Profit” by George Hedley
  • “How to Survive an Accident Investigation” by Brian Farley, Hudson Elevator Group, and David Smarte, Delaware Elevator
  • “Value Added Selling & Working Around the Price Barrier” by Evan Epstein, SnapCab
  • “How to Adjust Rope Tension & Shackles” by Ray Miller, Draka
  • “Get Your Business to Work in Any Economy! How to Take Your Company to the Next Level” by George Hedley
  • “AC Traction Green Component Guidelines” by Ali Ezzeddine, Smartrise Engineering

Roundtable Discussions

Track 1

  • “VTMP” by Rick and Kas Kennedy, Kencor Elevator
  • “The Five Hiring Mistakes You Must Avoid — Don’t Let Employment Law Issues Compromise the Hiring Process” by Ellie Webb, Delaware Elevator
  • “How to Run Your Own ‘HomeSafe’ Program” by Vince Sciamanna, Garaventa
  • “How to Get the Most Out of Your Business” by Mark Walters and Jeff Eaton, Lift Business Advisors

Track 2

  • “ICEP – Intelligent Car Operating Panel” by Chris Dodds, Liberty Elevator Experts, LLC
  • “Old Residential Elevators, Regarding Maintenance and Retrofit” by Craig Jones, Country Home Elevator
  • “Past, Present and Future of Traveling Cable” by Al Hayes, Hayes Elevator
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