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IAEC-NY 23rd Annual Fundraiser

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The networking event raises US$15,000 for the EESF.

The New York Region of the International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC-NY) held its 23rd annual fundraiser on August 25 at the PHD Lounge atop the Dream Downtown Hotel in New York City (NYC). As always, the proceeds of the event go to support the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) in its mission to educate the riding public on the safe use of elevators and escalators.

At 6:00 p.m., the 280 participants consisting of IAEC members and other vendors, manufacturers and company representatives started streaming into the lounge, ready to relax, chat and enjoy the evening. A number of people from outside NYC were also in attendance. Vice President of Sierra Consulting Group Joe Caracappa greeted guests down in the lobby, while Lift-Tech, Ltd. CEO Bill Mogg received them in the lounge: “There he is! How are you? Welcome!” A number of bartenders at two bars kept the drinks flowing, and servers walked around the room offering guests spicy barbequed chicken skewers, steak and cheese wontons, mini lobster rolls and yellowfin tuna. A buffet table serving Mediterranean appetizers stood at the foot of the DJ’s music station, where the DJ kept the room alive with pulsing beats and modern music.  

The event was put together by Melissa Aponte, President of Lift-Tech, and her husband Nelson Aponte, who said, when introducing himself, “I’m the appointed volunteer, alongside of the main volunteer.” For him, owner of Capacity Elevator Industries Corp., the venue afforded the perfect opportunity for elevator professionals to relax and talk shop: “I think it is easier to enjoy yourself — and talk business even — not feeling uptight. . . . It’s a shame it’s only once a year, but we build it up for this one night.”

For 21 years, the IAEC-NY hosted the event on a World Yacht Charters ship. EESF Executive Director Nikole Gore-Layton noted, “The committee wants to do a couple of years on land and then go back to the cruise, and continue in that way.” The views of downtown Manhattan from the PHD Lounge’s balcony were impressive. At nightfall, cloudy skies gave way to a city of blinding lights. “You know what else makes this venue nice?” asked Nelson Aponte, adding:

“The fact that we can go out onto this balcony and look at the New York City skyline is a topic of discussion. It’s a privilege to be in a venue surrounded by successful companies discussing their completed projects and their works in progress.”

The room was alive with conversation, networking, new connections and friendly catching up. From industry veterans to new arrivals, everyone was excited to be there. Mogg said with a laugh, “You see the young, the good, the bad and the ugly!”

The fundraiser this year consisted of live and silent auctions. Grandstand Sports and Memorabilia, Inc. had a number of items available. For the ladies, there were purses and jewelry up for grabs. CEO of Inner City Elevator Esteban Catarineau purchased a large amount of merchandise that contributed to the fundraiser. Jonathan Sieg of Grandstand Sports and Memorabilia led the live auction of sports events and concert tickets in a commanding auctioneer voice. President of Elevator Technical Services Sheila Swett won two tickets to a Billy Joel concert in NYC. As in times past, the IAEC handed the EESF a big — literally — US$15,000 check.

Participants were eager to help the EESF. Principal Engineer at Magnetek Donald Vollrath said,

“We certainly support their efforts in terms of education, and I know one of my compatriots has taken the EESF training program to his child’s school at the elementary level and tried to educate children.”

The impact of the event is not small. IAEC-NY claims to have donated more than US$300,000 to the EESF over the years, equating to more than a million second graders being educated with the Safe-T Rider program by this event alone. Melissa Aponte reports she has received positive feedback from participants since the event. She would like to thank Stephanie Preira of Lift-Tech for helping organize and plan it. The fundraising committee is in the planning stage for next year’s iteration, so stay tuned. See this month’s Online Extras for more great photos. 

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