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NAEC 2011 in New Orleans

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A recap of September’s National Association of Elevator Contractors’ (NAEC) Annual Convention & 2011 Expo held in New Orleans

Since its formal establishment in 1950, the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) has directed its efforts to the interests of independent elevator contractors and suppliers of products and services. Promoting safe and reliable elevator and escalator transportation has also been among the biggest priorities to the organization and the industry. The demonstration of these efforts was evident at this year’s NAEC annual event.

On September 12-15, New Orleans, or as some call it, “The Big Easy,” welcomed the 62nd NAEC Annual Convention & 2011 Expo. Nearly 2,100 gathered in the bayou at the Hilton Riverside Hotel located on the bank of the Mississippi River and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to attend the event’s meetings, educational sessions and roundtable discussions, which were followed by a two-day exhibition featuring more than 150 booths from companies around the world.

September 12

The event opened with a golf tournament, followed by the Union Shop Caucus Meeting moderated by Greg Carlisle of Murphy Elevator and Bruce Moore of Empire Elevator Co., and the Merit Shop Caucus Meeting moderated by Mark Boelhouwer of Oracle Elevator Co., in addition to the well-attended Vertical Initiative for Elevator and Escalator Women (VIEEW) Meeting (see sidebar on p. 80). The first day concluded with the President’s Welcome Reception, where NAEC’s President Rick Kennedy thanked guests for attending, while people mingled and enjoyed traditional Cajun food and entertainment from a jazz trio.

September 13

The second day started early, with the 6:00 a.m. Fun Run ’11, which took participants around the city. Afterward, Kennedy proceeded with the Opening Breakfast, where guests observed a moment of silence for 9/11. As it was the end of Kennedy’s term, he thanked the NAEC board of directors and staff for contributing to his presidency and formally introduced the entire NAEC board.

Following breakfast was the General Business Session, which covered a range of reports presented by committee members. John Curzon provided his treasurer’s report, and noted, “Finances are in fine shape…. Money is used judiciously.” Convention host Moore stated that it was quite an experience to host the convention and encouraged attendees to participate in a survey pertaining to the event. In addition, Kennedy added that NAEC membership was down 2% and suggested it would take a while before numbers reached what they were five years ago.

Toward the end of the session, while Erik Bleyle presented his report, an important announcement was made – the Certified Elevator Technician (CET®) program was formally accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The announcement was greatly welcomed, and attendees stood to applaud the industry’s accomplishment. It was announced that the process of obtaining this recognition was quite a feat, as Bobby Schaeffer and several others committed to achieve the certification more than 10 years ago.

During the late morning and afternoon, the optional yet locale appropriate Swamp Tour took place, concurrently with three Member Sessions. The Supplier Member Session/2012 Space Draw was led by Curzon and included discussions from the NAEC Exhibitory Advisory Committee led by Michael J. Ryan of The Peelle Co., in addition to a booth space draw for next year’s event. The Contractor Member Session was led by Kennedy and discussed issues pertaining to NAEC committee credentials, introduction and voting of the board nominees, in addition to other industry-related matters.

During the Professional Member Session, led by Robert Cuzzi of Van Deusen & Associates, Cuzzi reported that the need for a professional members committee still exists. The meeting also included a discussion on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers wanting to take a more active role in NAEC. In addition, members of university elevator organizations urged the importance for them to be more involved with NAEC. Cuzzi added, “We need to start working more as a team – suppliers and consultants, all of us.”

Following the Member Sessions were five roundtable discussions. The topics covered include:

  • “Practical Application of the PBC ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7” by Dirk Schroeter and Carsten Schumann of TÜV SÜD America, Inc.
  • “Landing System for Elevators: New & Reliable Technology” by Robert Wachendorff of Wachendorff Automation GMBH & Co. KG
  • “Reducing Worker’s Compensation Costs” by Beth B. Henderson of MOD Management, Inc.
  • “Making Practical Sense of Social Media Marketing” by Tom Sybert of C.J. Anderson and The Elevator Radio Show
  • “Participation in Charity Work” by Patrick Edwards of Integrity Home Lifts

During the late afternoon, the Accessibility & Residential (A&R) Caucus Meeting was led by A&R Committee Chairman Henry Handel. The meeting included intense discussions as members voiced the importance of increasing the number of CET/Certified Accessibility and Private Residence Lift Technician (CAT®) certifications to improve the industry’s credibility. Handel discussed different licensing processes and how they are becoming more stringent and difficult. He urged members to get their employees into the programs and added, “NAEC is fighting for accessibility.”

After each day’s meetings and sessions, members gathered to  laugh and share stories about their lives and experiences since their last meeting. Some talked about their fond memories of the elevator business and referred to industry professionals as some of the most reliable people they have ever known. The camaraderie at NAEC 2011 demonstrated just how committed the elevator industry really is and how much potential it has when it works together.

EESF Party

The second day ended with a well-attended cocktail party hosted by the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF) and sponsored by C.E. Electronics, the Elevator Conference of New York and Peelle. More than 70 additional EESF party tickets were purchased at the last minute. The gathering was quite the reunion for many.

September 14

During the two-day expo, educational sessions were delivered by various industry professionals on topics pertaining to CET and CAT continuing education, the QEI program and several other industry-related subjects. The sessions offered various continuing-education credits and the first day included:

  • “Operation and Control of Permanent Magnet Elevator Motors” by Donald Vollrath
  • “Safety Crossfire” presented by the National Elevator Industry, Inc. Safety Committee
  • “NEIEP: The Importance of Continuing Education” by Jon Henson, Dave Settle, John Spinella and Tim Daly
  • “Residential Elevator Doors” by Kirk Lewis
  • “Destination Dispatch System” by Randy Huff
  • “Rider Enabled Material Lifts” by Puneet Mehta

Educational Sessions Continued (September 15)

  • “Establishing an Apprenticeship Program,” (panel discussion)
  • “How Equal Should Equal Rope Tension Be?” by Dennis Kelly
  • “Non-proprietary Serviceable & Maintainable Elevator Designs” by Emery Thran
  • “Maintenance Procedures for Motors” by Richard Carson

The day concluded with a cocktail reception and traditional Mardi Gras celebration held in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel. Guests enjoyed a delicious meal and live entertainment, complete with a very festive Mardi Gras parade.

September 15

The final day started with the Awards Breakfast, where Kennedy gave thanks to the exhibitors and participants. A video of the three-day expo setup was shown to illustrate just how much work goes into this annual event. Following the video, the Exhibitor Awards were presented, with the following being recognized for their efforts:

  • CemcoLift, Inc. – The Spirit Award
  • Courion – Best Island Booth
  • Maxton Manufacturing Co. – Best Multiple Booths
  • Parts Specialists – Best Single Booth

Paul Horney of Innovation Industries, Inc. received the Contractor’s Choice Award, and Marv Schumacher was the recipient of the William C. Sturgeon Award, considered the most prestigious award in the industry. Shumacher delivered a speech on his passion and dedication to the industry over the years.

After the awards distribution, Kennedy thanked the outgoing directors for their service to NAEC and presented them each with a plaque. Kennedy then welcomed former NAEC president Lien Randle to the stage, where she inducted the new NAEC officers and board of directors.

After the additional educational sessions and a closed-door board of directors meeting were held, NAEC attendees gathered at Mulate’s Restaurant for the annual Dregs Party, which was certainly a night to remember.

Ladies of the VIEEW Talk Shop at NAEC  

by Angela C. Baldwin

Early Monday evening at the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) convention in New Orleans, approximately 30 industry women gathered in a Hilton Riverside Hotel meeting room for the annual Vertical Initiative for Elevator and Escalator Women (VIEEW) meeting. Animated conversation, the reacquainting of old friends and the accompaniment of wine and cheese made for a festive and relaxed atmosphere.

When the meeting convened, elevator consultant and VIEEW founder Martha Hulgan of MMH & Associates, LLC, thanked this year’s VIEEW sponsor, Jackie Mortman of JM Associates. Hulgan then asked for introductions from all in attendance as well as an answer to one question: “How has the VIEEW helped you?” The question sparked such a response that Mortman decided to postpone her planned presentation for that evening until the following year, so the conversation could continue.

The answers to the VIEEW’s impact on each attendee were varied, thought-provoking and encouraging for the future success of the group. For some, the VIEEW was a new and welcomed experience where they could listen to and learn from industry veterans and meet new people. For others, the annual event has proved beneficial over the years and is eagerly anticipated. According to Sue Hansen, co-owner of Metro Elevator, “It is so good to meet people in the trade for a long time. This is a great resource.” Mary Lewis of KONE expressed the need to reach out to more women and become a “good ole girls’ club.” Stories of industry advancements, the good people that make up the industry and the changing roles of women abounded until it was time to head out to the President’s Welcome Reception.

Before the meeting was adjourned, the possibility of initiating a one-day regional women’s meeting/training session was discussed. A positive response to the idea led Hulgan to decide to explore it further. Hulgan also left the group with a challenge to contribute to a VIEEW pledge to the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation by the NAEC spring meeting. The meeting ended with hopes for the VIEEW’s continued growth, and a calling to all to spread the word about the VIEEW and its benefits.

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