IAEC Forum 2017

Sheila Swett and John Donnelly; photo courtesy of Dick Gregory

Annual consultants’ meeting offers education, booths and networking.

This year’s International Association of Elevator Consultants’ (IAEC) Forum was held April 25-28 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown New Orleans, a city guaranteed to provide good times, good food and, of course, good jazz. The 24th conference promised quality educational presentations and valuable connections among the attendees and met those promises thanks to organizers Executive Director of IAEC Sheila Swett and IAEC officer Daniel Swett.

The IAEC Board of Directors met before the conference officially began. It was made known during the meeting that IAEC has seen an increase in membership this year of close to 20%, according to Sheila Swett.

The forum’s opening day consisted of an 8-hr. NAESA International continuing-education seminar presented by Charlie Slater, director of field operations for ATIS Elevator Inspections, LLC, who covered the ASME A17.1-2016 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators in detail. That night’s reception and silent-auction fundraiser for the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) raised US$2,600, according to EESF Executive Director Nikole Gore-Layton.

At the next morning’s breakfast, held in the hotel’s ballroom, Sheila Swett and IAEC President Jim Lawrence officially welcomed everyone to the conference. The location doubled as booth space for 30 vendors, which attendees could conveniently visit.

 The educational presentations started with your author’s “State of the Elevator Industry,” followed by “Legal Writing for the Elevator Industry” from Sheila Swett and John Donnelly. They discussed the unique issues facing elevator experts when working on legal issues and dealing with the writings involved in being an expert witness.

Michael Johnson from Gorman Co. Inc. presented “Root Cause Analysis of Oil-Related Failure in Hydraulic Elevators,” in which he stated, “Failure is a symptom, not a root cause.” Lunch followed Johnson’s presentation as the ballroom was once again opened for attendees to visit exhibitors’ booths.

The afternoon sessions started with “MCP Solutions” from three presenters: Dick Gregory, Vertex; John Rearick, codedataplate.com; and John W. Koshak, eMCP, LLC. Gregory gave a brief overview of how the A17 code defines a maintenance control plan (MCP). He emphasized that, “no matter how smart you think you are or how smart you actually are, you have to use your MCP check sheet.” Rearick presented the written MCP solution, and Koshak showcased his latest product: the electronic MCP (both available at elevatorbooks.com). The eMCP allows users to survey and develop MCPs electronically using an iPad or iPhone.

The final presentation of the day came from Martin Rhiner with Brugg Lifting, who showcased the company’s “Coated Traction Product.” A key benefit of this new technology is the ability to reduce investment costs by up to 40% and maintenance costs by up to 90%. This new rope product, however, is not yet available in the U.S.

The much-anticipated social event, a dinner cruise aboard the Creole Queen paddlewheeler, took place Wednesday evening. Dinner and drinks were provided for attendees to enjoy while listening to jazz during the cruise down the Mississippi River.

Thursday morning opened with Jim and Matt Lawrence of James Lawrence and Associates discussing International Building Code Chapter 30, NFPA 13 and NFPA 72. Pat Tobin with MEI – Total Elevator Solutions followed with a presentation titled “FOBs and Other Operating Devices.” “Digital Productivity Tools and Apps in Our Industry” by Steve Reich-Rohrwig of MAD Elevator Fixtures was next. If you’re looking into making an app for the industry, Reich-Rohrwig says, it must “improve productivity and/or improve quality.”

The final day concluded with the IAEC General Membership Meeting, during which the 2018 officers were sworn in. They are:

  • Jim Lawrence, president
  • John W. Koshak, vice president
  • Paul Rosenberg, secretary
  • John Rearick, treasurer
  • Joseph Caracappa (East Region)
  • Daniel Swett (Central Region)
  • Martha Hulgan (Southern Region)
  • Michael Fagan (Western Region)
  • TAK Mathews (international)
  • Bob Dieter (at large)
  • Hanie Lancaster (at large)
  • Tim Marshall (at large)
  • Joseph Neto, Jr. (at large)
  • Richard Blaska (at large)
  • Sheila Swett, executive director                                                            

Hulgan is new to the board. Koshak, in his new position as vice president, is taking the place of Leo Fenili, who is retiring.

“The forum was a huge success,” said Sheila Swett, continuing:

“The presenters were informative and professional. They filled in gaps that sometimes, as consultants, we forget we have. Discussions of best practices improve everyone’s business potential. Our vendors brought the newest products to display, and the one-on-one information they supply is useful long term. I have always said the way our conference is put together allows vendors and consultants to make contacts for the betterment of the end client — a win/win for all involved.”

The 2018 IAEC Forum will be held in Chicago with a tentative date during the last week of April. For more information, check iaec.org.

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