NAEC 2012 Spring Educational Conference Gathers in Puerto Rico

Welcome Reception

Poor weather could not stop the productivity of this March 24-27 National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) event.

More than 130 delegates and their spouses met on the sunny (and sometimes rainy) “Island of Enchantment,” Puerto Rico, from March 24-27 for the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) Spring Educational Conference. The agenda called for education, board of directors meetings, golf, good food and sightseeing, with an unspoken expectation of camaraderie, beachcombing and relaxing for the few days at the oceanfront InterContinental San Juan.

A two-week drought ended several days before our group arrived, so while locals celebrated the much-needed rain, NAEC members fretted golf tournaments and beachfront relaxation would be compromised. Weather would have no effect on the wealth of education planned for the four-day conference, however, and the varied array of speakers and topics was eagerly anticipated by attendees.

Saturday, day one of the conference, opened with a board of directors meeting followed by afternoon caucuses of contractors, moderated by Greg Carlisle of Murphy Elevator; suppliers, moderated by Paul Horney of Innovation Industries; and professional members. That evening, a welcome reception was held outdoors on the hotel’s covered terrace with a backdrop of palm trees and the Atlantic Ocean. A light rain fell as participants mingled and caught up on stories from the field, the attributes of new products, the slight improvement in the economy and how families were doing. A local trio played Puerto Rican tunes as members visited food stations with such fare as red snapper, corn and crab bisque and Caesar salad. The reception was well attended, and animated conversation and drinks flowed well into the evening.

A bright morning greeted guests at Sunday’s Opening Breakfast, where NAEC President Greg Carlisle welcomed attendees and recognized the NAEC staff and board members for their hard work. He also recognized conference sponsors, a new addition this spring.

With rain in the forecast, talk of golf cancellations made the rounds with the morning coffee. But, primarily attendees geared up for the first day of educational sessions. After breakfast, educational sessions began with Rick Lowenberg from Minnesota Elevator, Inc. (MEI) speaking about implementing a successful continuous-improvement program and Heinz Strickler from Bucher Hydraulics discussing how to install, adjust and troubleshoot electronic valves.

During the sessions, news was relayed by NAEC staff that the much-anticipated golf tournament scheduled for that afternoon at the Dorado Beach Golf Club’s Pineapple Course was cancelled due to rain. Disappointed would-be golfers tried to come up with a Plan B once the education sessions were completed. Most enjoyed the buffet lunch on the terrace followed by some down time at the pool area, spa, fitness center and resort restaurants and bars. As the day wore on, the skies cleared, and attendees were able to venture to the beach. 

Education was the order of the day on Monday, when attendees had four morning sessions from which to choose, followed by two afternoon sessions. A board of directors meeting also took place that afternoon. The day was capped off with a dinner in the hotel’s ballroom highlighted by a rousing group of Puerto Rican dancers who gathered delegates (both eager and reluctant) to the dance floor for some lessons.

Tuesday morning’s roundtable discussions saw a good turnout, with engaged groups all around. Each of the seven groups remained in conversation until the buzzers were signaled by moderator John Sweeney of Jersey Elevator that it was time to move on to the next 45-min. round. Following the morning’s discussion groups, many attendees spent the afternoon playing golf at the Bahia Beach Golf Club, where a 1:00 p.m. shotgun start was joined by sunshine or touring Old San Juan with the help of a local guide. About 30 attendees joined the Old San Juan tour, where a steep climb up the San Juan National Historic Site, a former military fort, was made worthwhile by its interesting history and spectacular views. The anticipated afternoon of shopping and sightseeing helped, too. That evening the Dregs Party was held back at the hotel’s now-familiar outdoor terrace, where delegates ate, drank and relaxed before preparing to head home the next day.

The NAEC staff, as usual, put together a worthwhile conference full of top-notch education in a picturesque location. Delegates commented often on the attributes of both, with many already planning to attend next year’s educational conference in Dana Point, California.

Future Spring Educational Conference Schedule

  • 2013 Conference – Dana Point, California April 13-16 Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
  • 2014 Conference – Fort Myers, Florida March 29-April 1 Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa
  • 2015 Conference – Honolulu, Hawaii April 18-21 Sheraton Waikiki
  • 2016 Conference – Savannah, Georgia April 9-12 Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa

Spring Conference Education

  • “How to Implement a Successful Continuous Improvement Program” by Rick Lowenberg of Minnesota Elevator Inc.
  • “How to Install, Adjust and Troubleshoot Electronic Valves” by Heinz Strickler of Bucher Hydraulics
  • “Taking the High Road to Leadership” by Jane Sanders of GenderSmart Solutions
  • “Two-Way Communication in A/R and Commercial Applications” by David Bryant of Kings III Emergency Communications
  • “How to Help Me Win for You: Strategies and Practices for Defending and Handling Lawsuits” by Kevin Shires of Vernis & Bowling of Atlanta
  • “Retrofitting ‘Plan B’” by James Marinelli of Electrodyn Systems, Ltd.
  • “VFE 2500 Linear and Harmonic Door Operators” by Steve Husband of GAL Canada Elevator Products Corp.
  • “How to Become Invincible to Lawsuits and Save Thousands in Taxes” by G. Kent Mangelson of the American Society for Asset Protection
  • “Permanent Magnet Gearless Motors and Drive Control” by Rick Cahoon of GAL Manufacturing

Spring Conference Roundtable Discussions

  • “The Advantages of Bio-Based Hydraulic Oils” by Dr. Todd Tarrant of Hydro Safe Oils
  • “Mechanical to Electronic Elevator Safety Compliance” by Francisco Ortiz of Elevator Controls Corp.
  • “The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ® Rating System, Sustainability and Green Building” by Brad Nemeth of ThyssenKrupp Elevator
  • “Best Practices in Managing Your Annual and Five-Year Test Programs” by Sanjay Kamani of TessT, LLC
  • “Marketing Your Business” by Jane Sanders of GenderSmart Solutions
  • “Licensing for the Accessibility and Residential Technician” by David Smarte of Delaware Elevator
  • “Contract Indemnification” by Stuart D. Schwartz of Gottlieb Siegel & Schwartz, LLP
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Elevator World | June 2012 Cover