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It’s a Small World

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Anyone who has been to Disney World has probably taken the boat ride, in which children from many different countries are singing the impossible-to-get-out-of-your-head song, “It’s a Small World.” The song emphasizes how close we all are, despite the many barriers, customs and languages. That amusement ride recently turned 50 years old, so it was actually developed in a time when the world was still a very big place, foreign travel was reserved for the rich, and international connections were quite unusual for the ordinary person.

While Walt Disney deserves some credit for making the world smaller for children, I firmly believe that my father, William C. Sturgeon, deserves credit for bringing “elevator worlds” together. He believed in associations as the “glue” to hold local industries together and magazines as the means for niche communities to communicate. As he wrote about the elevator industry in various countries, he tried to help each nation’s industry build its own institutions. He encouraged journalists to write about their (our) industry and to exchange ideas with ELEVATOR WORLD in the U.S. Because of what he encouraged, the second and third generation here at EW can travel to any country and find friends.

As we continue our 61st year in business, we have taken dramatic steps to strengthen the ties formed decades ago by Sturgeon, and to build some new ones, as well. India’s elevator industry had no magazine until six years ago, when Elevator World, Inc. and Virgo Publications became partners. Now, there are more than 8,000 subscribers to EW India. In South America, Sturgeon encouraged Carmen Maldacena to write for EW, as well as Subir & Bajar, the Argentinean magazine, so she did, traveling all over the continent to report on the Latin American industry from her base in Argentina. Recently, Maldacena came to us to encourage a partnership with that magazine, produced by the association Camara de Ascensores y Afines. In China, our longtime correspondent Peng Jie recently produced EW China for the World Elevator & Escalator Expo in May. He is another international correspondent who, as a young man, met Sturgeon and was influenced to bring our worlds closer.

Lastly, but maybe most importantly, Elevator World has purchased the Turkish magazine Asansör Dünyası, which means “Elevator World” in Turkish. Many years ago, my father met the publisher of this magazine, encouraged him and gave him permission to use the name in exchange for an information flow from Turkey. When his daughter, Yelda Beray, decided to sell the magazine, she came to us first. Sturgeon’s grandson and my son, T.Bruce MacKinnon, had met with the Turkish magazine’s principals a number of times at expos in Istanbul, and he led the charge for Elevator World to establish a branch in Istanbul and cement the deal. Support for the purchase came quickly from local associations and companies. The complete write-up on the acquisition is in this issue accompanied by an exploration of the Turkish market and a history of Asansör Dünyası (P. 38).

The focus topic this month is on equipment for the field. A great Continuing Education article by Rob Wurth talks about the Wurtec False Car — how to install and use it — with excellent graphics. Wurth highlights its safety systems and includes inspection tips and schedules. Also focusing on safety in the field, Paul Waters notes that little has changed in the approach OSHA takes to our industry. He says it continues to be “all stick and no carrots,” with OSHA giving no emphasis to voluntary change, only to punishment.

Association and company events fill this month’s issue. U.S. contractors gathered in Tampa for education at the spring event of the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC). Their Spring Educational Conference broke all previous attendance records, which bodes well for the industry in the U.S. In Europe, more than 100 industry leaders met in Amsterdam for the European Lift Association Conference, which focused on “A Safe Ride at the Heart of the Building.” Meanwhile, in Germany, ThyssenKrupp Elevator is building a very modern-looking test tower, designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn, in the middle of an ancient town, Rottweil. It will be the second-tallest structure in Germany. In the U.K., Shorts Lifts celebrated 65 years in the industry with an “open day,” in which the Bradford, U.K. manufacturer brought its products to a beautiful site near Canary Wharf in London. In Mumbai, the International Elevator & Escalator Expo had more than 10,000 visitors and 175 exhibitors. In its fifth year, this event has continued to draw industry members, as well as building developers to exhibits and technical sessions. This event had a unique exhibit: a “Memorial Wall” featuring posters of elevator-industry leaders who have passed away in recent years. Of the 10 featured veterans, most were Indian; however, one was European, and three were from the U.S. — George Strakosch, Quentin Bates and Sturgeon — proving once more that the elevator industry is truly “a small world after all”!  

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