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Mentors

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Whenever I’m asked how I got into the business of elevators and escalators, I always reflect on my early days at Jaros Baum & Bolles (JB&B) Consulting Engineers. Within weeks of joining JB&B, I was putting my drafting skills, recently acquired at the City University of New York, to work making schematic drawings of various elevator and escalator arrangements that were being considered by the Twin Towers’ architects and their elevator consultant, Cal Kort, who was my boss and a partner at JB&B. We considered and drew up various possible elevator solutions, which included using all local elevators dispatching from the Plaza Level, as well as one scheme that used nearly as many escalators as elevators, throughout the towers. For the latter scheme, our riser diagram contained a complex arrangement of crisscross escalator trusses and elevator cabs that fortunately bore no resemblance to the final vertical-transportation system that was ultimately implemented to serve the buildings.

Our efforts resulted in the production of more than 100 layout drawings and the review and approval of hundreds of elevator and escalator shop drawings. It was tedious work for us that developed what became a lifelong sense of pride in having been involved to the degree that we were in such a significant project. It was a busy time but one that we thoroughly enjoyed and during which we, as young draftsmen, were mentored by our elders and developed our elevator engineering skills. As we eagerly engaged in this activity, we found it made us proud and resulted in the building of a great Esprit de Corps within our company.

I’ve often thought it may have been this early career experience that inspired me to implement what has become a fine and much appreciated aspect of ELEVATOR WORLD; and one that has grown to become much anticipated and, even more importantly, highly participated in by EW readers each year – our Annual Project of the Year Contest.

Each year since its inception in 1998, the Project of the Year Contest has grown to include more and more entries.  This year is no exception, as we have received 31 entries in seven categories. The winners in each category are included in this month’s issue of EW. In addition, contest entries will be presented in subsequent EW issues throughout 2012. In reviewing these project reports, you will see the accomplishments of individuals in our industry that came about as a result of them working together on various complex projects with not only people within their own organizations, but also those from other subcontractors. 

These projects came to fruition as a result of people working together to complete them on time, within budget and to their clients’ satisfaction. Much of this work was possible due to the constant level of mentoring ongoing in our industry.

In addition to the project entries included in this month’s issue are a number of articles, comments and reports that not only reflect the team spirit so prevalent in our industry, but also the high degree of mentoring that continually takes place in it. An Industry Profile article of Steve Romnes of Vertitron Midwest, Inc. authored by our managing editor, Angie Baldwin, describes how Romnes attributes his success to the people in his life that taught him not only the business side of the elevator industry, but also helped him to develop the skills he now uses to deal with our industry’s technology. Romnes gives a great deal of credit for his success to his mentors. And, as I discuss mentors, I can’t go another moment without discussing mine. Since I first met George Strakosch more than 30 years ago, he has always been there to provide his expert advice and guidance. In this month’s issue, you will see in the Comments section that he continues to keep me on track by correcting a mistake that I made in my last ASME A17 code meeting report. Thank you, George, for looking after me!

And, be sure to read my ultimate mentor’s Re-Call-Backs column in this month’s issue. Here, Bill Sturgeon has provided us with his words of wisdom, as he has each month for nearly 60 years. This month, he discusses something very serious for us all to consider, especially in these complex times of social strife and economic instability. Don’t miss a word of what Bill has to say on page 8. It will give pause!

As we start a new year, we have provided you with a lot of food for thought in this month’s issue of EW. Be sure to take it all in and provide us with your views on what we have presented this month and/or any other topics you would like others in our industry to consider. And, lastly, as so many of us have done and continue to do, seek out your mentors for advice, thank them for being there for you, remember what they have said in the past, and listen to what they have to say now and in the future.

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Elevator World | January 2012 Cover

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