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It’s All About the People

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Things are stirring out there in the VT-verse. Fresh off the virus lockdowns, a new world awaits. It is a long, slow opening, like a flower bud, but no one is quite sure what it will look like. Big OEMs are buying small companies, medium-sized companies are getting bigger, groups of entrepreneurs are breaking off to go out on their own and the venture capital dollars are floating around in the mix. For the most part, this is normal “repositioning” that happens based on the changes in business temperature, financial crisis and generational pressure. The stimulus of venture capital money adds a different flavor to the soup (sorry to mix metaphors between gardening and cooking). In some cases, it allows companies to grow faster and make decisions sooner. How the industry will change is a subject we are following, but it may take a while for it all to shake out. Stay tuned.

This month, our issue is all about the people of our industry. We love doing The People Issue every year. It is fun to see who is nominated and what their colleagues say about them. These folks are truly admired by their peers. This year, we have 15 people featured — many from sales, but also scientists, consultants, company leaders and an educator. They come primarily from the U.S. and Canada, but two hail from Portugal and India, as well.

One of our features is about a person retiring from the industry — Mary Lewis. The article, There’s Something About Mary by Kaija Wilkinson, is a wonderful reflection on her years at KONE Spares where she used her business development chops to recreate the central purchasing department, a real gamechanger for the company.

Unfortunately, there are people we lost this month, too. The death of my close friend, Martha Hulgan, was a shock. She served on my board for 20 years. Martha mentored a whole industry of women and fought to make the industry more inclusive. Maureen Barbee called her a “dynamo of our age.” Keith Jenkins, eccentric, “wicked smart,” consultant extraordinaire died in February. He understood the impact of computers before anyone else in the industry. In spite of all that brainpower, he spent an afternoon teaching me how to pack a duffle bag for wrinkle-free clothes. Very much a Renaissance man.

Our focus this month is on Hydraulic Elevators and Components:

  • Stop, Look, Listen by Richard Linn. Linn introduces a new company, Lift Control Engineering, and its new hydraulic controller, which is being field tested.
  • Hydraulic Elevators in Europe and the U.S. by Dr. Lee Gray. Our historian takes us back to the mid-1800s when hydraulic elevators started in Germany and France. By 1880, Otis had its own indirect hydro.

Other features in this issue are:

  • Heart of Life by Kaija Wilkinson. TKE’s first-of-its-kind installation in the new Trinity Tower features eight TWINs with two cabs operating independently in the same hoistway. Two are panoramic elevators that look out over the La Défense business district in Paris.
  • Cable Cars by Sheetal Shelar Patil. Dr. Tomasz Magiera, ropeway expert and project manager for Cable Car Solutions in Germany, shares insights on the significance and versatility of this mode of transportation in this Industry Dialogue.

I hope you enjoy The People Issue profiles — and all the other information in this issue. Let’s emerge from hibernation and see each other soon.

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