NEII Annual Meeting
Chicago provided the backdrop for the 81st gathering of the National Elevator Industry, Inc.
The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®) met on April 1 at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport for its 81st annual meeting. The full day of meetings began with the Full Regular Member Annual Meeting, which included the election of directors, followed by the Trust Members Annual Meeting, where Trust Committee members were elected.
The NEII Board of Directors and General Membership meeting, to which ELEVATOR WORLD was invited, completed the rest of the morning. During that informative meeting, new Codes and Standards Director Kevin Brinkman was introduced and welcomed. Brinkman reports directly to the NEII board and replaces former Director Brian D. Black, who will now serve as NEII Codes & Safety analyst. Brinkman has 30 years of industry experience and is president of consultancy Kevin L. Brinkman & Associates, LLC.
New board of director members, along with officers and Trust Committee members, were introduced, as well. New president, Lawrence Wash, executive vice president for KONE Americas, said:
“I am honored and excited to begin my tenure as president of this board of talented individuals and proven leaders in the building transportation industry. The success of this organization is a direct result of the hard work and deep commitment they have consistently shown to expand NEII’s leadership position as an authority in the areas of codes and safety, steer the adoption of the latest innovations in the industry, and ensure the safety of both the riding public and elevator technicians.”
A number of committee directors reported on their committees’ progress over the past year. Of particular note was a discussion by the Government Affairs Committee on California’s efforts to update its elevator codes. Current pre-rule draft language under discussion as of this writing proposes to make more than 125 changes to the ASME A17.1-2013/CSA B44-13 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators that would restrict the use of certain machine-room-less (MRL) elevator designs, impose significant costs and inhibit technological innovation, among other impacts. NEII has been and will continue to meet with officials in California to address factual errors and seek adoption of a more appropriate elevator code.
The Central Code Committee reported on its goal to have consistent codes across the U.S., with minimal deviations from model codes. According to Amy Blankenbiller, NEII Government Affairs director, the committee is looking at ways to cut down on code deviation state to state. NEII is also striving for comparable mechanic licensing laws across the U.S. Currently, 19 states have no licensing requirements.
Field Employee Safety Committee Chairman Corey Ward discussed that committee’s activities, including the recent update of NEII’s Arc-Flash Hazards and Electrical Safe Work Practices position paper. The study, and resultant paper, is updated every five years and intended to provide guidance to members whose employees are engaged in work in the elevator industry that might expose them to arc-flash hazards, and to assist members in complying with applicable OSHA and NFPA standards. Ward also alerted attendees to increased discussions within the industry on the topic of confined spaces.
The NEII Communication Committee’s work was discussed by Committee Chair Kathy Rucki. She reiterated the committee’s purpose of overseeing the NEII brand position and being its face to the press. The committee publishes the NEII Now newsletter for NEII members and The Insider, a bimonthly newsletter available for subscription at the NEII website.
The NEII Trust Committee, which was happy to report its good health in all regards, shared some interesting statistics with the group: in 2008, 50.3 million hr. were worked in the industry, a high point that slipped in the global recession. Hours in 2014 climbed back to a respectable 41.0 million, with an increase of 1 million hr. a year expected over the next four years. The industry appears healthy now and for the foreseeable future.
Sasha Bailey, NEII representative to the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation (EESF), updated attendees on EESF’s extensive rebranding efforts, including a new mascot and revamped school program to be unveiled in the fall; more community outreach; and more online accessibility to the program. Bailey introduced EESF’s new executive director Nikole Gore-Layton and Tom Sybert, the foundation’s current chairman, who were both in attendance.
National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) National Director John O’Donnell concluded the morning’s reports with an update on the program’s increasing enrollment and the growing new hire activity throughout the U.S. NEIEP restructured in 2008, becoming more in-line with college courses and credits, an enticement for potential students. O’Donnell said NEIEP now offers increased opportunities for pre-exam review, post-exam remedial support and hands-on practical learning. O’Donnell and a number of NEIEP staff members set up a replica of an interactive classroom for everyone to explore. The elaborate classroom, toured by all before lunch, was impressive, and the staff on hand did well furthering attendee understanding of the hands-on experience and its impact.
After a nice lunch, the NEII Board of Director’s executive session commenced and continued throughout the afternoon.