NAEC 2014 Educational Conference Breaks Attendance Records in Fort Myers, Florida


Residential elevator safety, growth of NAEC membership and the ever-improving economy topped discussions during a week full of education.

The Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa in Fort Myers, Florida, hosted the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) 2014 Educational Conference March 29-April 1. Record-breaking attendance of 244 ensured big crowds for member meetings, educational sessions and receptions.

Fishing outings and golf tournaments rounded out the week, known as much for its leisure activities and social gatherings as for its top-notch, varied education.

According to NAEC Executive Director Teresa Witham, there was an upbeat attitude in Fort Myers all week:

“The educational sessions were filled, and the social events were bursting at the seams. We also had more forums for open discussions this year, which were very well attended. There were a number of first-time conference attendees, and we had more nonmembers than usual.”

Witham also pointed out that the week featured great weather most days, which, followed by a hard winter in many parts of the country, “certainly held some appeal.”

Registration opened Saturday at 11 a.m., and member meetings began in earnest that afternoon. The well-attended Contractor Member Session was led by NAEC President John Sweeney of Jersey Elevator Co., who, with the help of Integrity Elevator Inc.’s Patrick Edwards, turned the conversation to the benefit of peer groups. Meanwhile, down the hall, the equally full Supplier Member Session covered topics like NAEC membership, the newly completed specifications database, the need for NAEC volunteers and the recently announced 2019 NAEC convention destination of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a surprising choice that garnered a positive reaction from attendees.     

The Accessibility/Residential Committee meeting led by Edwards later that afternoon opened a discussion that managed to weave its way through the rest of the week — the growing residential market and the need for increased safety measures. That topic prevailed among attendees from the Accessibility/Residential Forum to Louis Blaiotta Sr.’s “3 & 5 Rule, Swing Doors & Clearances for Code” educational session to the Open Mic Session moderated by Jackie Mortman of JM Associates/Burnham + Associates, a division of HUB International. Another hot topic proved to be the improving economy, which has industry folks happily busy and education at a premium. There was no lack of discussion about both welcomed realities.

Educational sessions, which began Sunday morning and continued through Tuesday afternoon, tackled subjects from safety and door operators to leadership and marketing. “The combination of business sessions and technical programming caused there to be something for everyone,” Witham said. 

Attendees were made aware that a survey asking about their experience would be sent to them after the conference. Prior to that, however, Witham felt confident the event would be deemed a success. She said:

“We are appreciative of the attendees who took the time to attend – we know that’s not always easy to manage. Based on the feedback we’ve received, I do believe those who attended felt it was well worthwhile. There was a great deal of positive buzz about educational ideas for the convention in San Antonio and the next conference, which will be held in Honolulu.” 

Educational Sessions

  • “Internal Controls, Best Practices and Tax Updates on  Final Repair/Capitalization Regulations” by B. Scott Taylor, CPA, and R. Arden DeLoach, Jr., CPA
  • “3 & 5 Rule, Swing Doors & Clearances for Code” by Louis Blaiotta, Sr., Columbia Elevator Products Co. Inc.
  • “Lightweight Stone Panel Systems for Elevators” by Omar Pineda, Stoneworks of Art
  • “Deploying iPads to Lower Costs, Improve Service Outcomes and Close Sales” by Steve Metzman, iBusiness Technologies
  • “Emergent Leadership” by David Crouch, Caterpillar Safety Services
  • “Mechanical and Electrical Adjustment of MOVFR Door Operators” by Tony Glick, GAL Manufacturing Corp.
  • “Tailoring Your Management Style to Maximize Results” by Amy Blankenbiller, AJB Strategies
  • “Job Hazard Assessment — A Plan for Work Safety” by Lee Rigby, Vertical Assessment Associates
  • “e-Marketing” by Michael J. Ryan, The Peelle Co.
  • “Platform Lift Design: Top 10 Code Issues” by Douglas W. Boydston, Handi-Lift Inc.
  • “It’s All in Your Hands: How Scientific Hand Analysis Can Change Your Life” by Jayne Sanders
  • “Fall Protection” by Chuck Sharp, D-C Elevator, and Dave Smarte, Delaware Elevator

Roundtable Discussions

  • “The 3 & 5 Rule Squeeze — National Code Consensus for Smaller Running Clearance in 5.3 Private Residence Elevators and Vertical Platform Lifts” by Craig Jones, Country Home Elevator
  • “Codes That Interface with A.17.1/B44 and Affect Elevator Installations from Specs to Final Inspection” by Al Hayes, Andro Elevator
  • “Liability Insurance” by Patrick Edwards, Integrity Elevator Inc.
  • “Accessibility Codes for Elevators and Lifts” by Kevin Brinkman, Kevin L. Brinkman & Associates, LLC
  • “What’s Trending Now? Privacy & Social Media in the Workplace” by Ellie Webb, Delaware Elevator
  • “Mergers & Acquisitions” by Mark Walters, Lift Business Advisors, Inc.
  • “Lien Services & Collection Avoidance” by Jerry Bailey, NCS
  • “Inclined Platform Lifts” by Don Zimmerman, Home Elevator of Texas
  • “Installing Hydraulic Elevators Quicker Than the OEMs” by Travis Hall, Alliance Elevator

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