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FS2 Opens Seattle Office, Names Mikkelsen Principal

Fortune Shepler Saling (FS2) has opened a Seattle office, headed by Steve Mikkelsen. With the addition of Mikkelsen as principal, FS2 extends its elevator-consulting services to clients in the U.S. Northwest. Mikkelsen has 16 years of experience in the architecture field, and 13 years of elevator-consulting experience in the Seattle market. He has handled vertical-transportation analysis, planning and architectural coordination for an array of projects throughout the U.S. and world.

Welts Joins Lerch Bates

Ron Welts has joined Lerch Bates Inc. as Elevator Consulting Group project manager in San Francisco. Welts has nearly 20 years of industry experience, including installation superintendent for KONE and various roles with Otis. He served in the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer in the early 1990s, and holds a BS in Marine Transportation from California Maritime Academy and an MBA from St. Mary’s College of California. His new role involves providing vertical-transportation consulting for designs, maintenance, due diligence and modernizations throughout Northern California.

Eklund’s Names Wright Sales Manager

Eklund’s, Inc. has named David Wright Sales manager. Based in Houston, Wright will manage sales teams in Eklund’s Northeastern, Midwestern, Western and Southern offices. With 20 years of experience in sales and business development, Wright was most recently business development director at Whirlwind Steel Buildings, Inc. He earned a management degree from the University of Phoenix in Houston.

Industry Veteran Adrian Joins Thurston

Bill Adrian, a 30-year industry veteran who spent the past 24 years with Republic Elevator in Santa Barbara, California, has joined Thurston Elevator Concepts Inc. in Azusa, California, as vice president/general manager. While he believed he would retire with Republic, family needs necessitated a career move, he said. Adrian has worked for Westinghouse, Mitsubishi Electric and Schindler. At Republic, he held various positions – service technician, foreman, project manager and operations manager – before becoming general manager approximately eight years ago. He said Republic remains strong under the leadership of Jef and Elliott Dell. At Thurston, Adrian is working alongside owner/founder Randy Thurston, handling a growing workload for what Adrian called “one of the larger independents in the greater Los Angeles area.”

Caporale Joins UIS

Robert S. Caporale has joined the team of forensic analysts and technical experts at Unified Investigations and Sciences, Inc. (UIS) of Jacksonville, Florida, reporting to Gulf Coast Service Center Manager Mike Hoffman. Caporale has an MSc in Lift Engineering from the University of Northampton in the U.K. and an AAS in Electrical Technology from the State University of New York. During his 30 years as an elevator system designer and engineer, Caporale worked on some of the world’s most iconic buildings, including the original World Trade Center in New York City and the Willis (now formerly Sears) Tower in Chicago. He served as editor of ELEVATOR WORLD for 20 years and is currently editor emeritus. A QEI who coauthored The Vertical Transportation Handbook, Caporale remains active on ASME A17 code committees.

Miller in Charge of Mobility 101 Boston Office

Mobility 101, a national retailer of mobility solutions, including limited-use commercial and home elevators, has hired Mary Lynn Miller as manager of its new Boston-area branch in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Formerly an account manager for ThyssenKrupp Elevator in Boston, Miller has been focused on accessibility products since 2005. She has a total of 30 years in the elevator industry.

Manhattan and Beyond

Tall buildings continue to multiply.

Midtown Supertall Is Both Modern and Traditional

SHoP Architects recently released new renderings of 111 West 57th Street, the 1,397-ft.-tall, 60-ft.-wide tower to be built adjacent to the historic Steinway piano building in the Midtown area of New York City, New York Yimby reports. One of a cluster of supertall, super-thin residential skyscrapers taking shape in the neighborhood, 111 West 57th, also known as The Steinway Building, will have a stepped, contemporary profile and terracotta façade accented in bronze, which promises to help it fit into its historic surroundings. It is expected to be complete by 2016.

New Renderings Reveal Manhattan West Details

Developer Brookfield has unveiled new renderings of its Manhattan West development, consisting of a 60-story residential tower, ground-level stores and an adjacent hotel, New York Yimby reports. Open pedestrian areas at ground level promise to enliven the neighborhood, and a building at 450 West 33rd Street slated for redevelopment or demolition will serve as a critical link between Manhattan West and Related Co.’s massive Hudson Yards project (ELEVATOR WORLD, November 2013).

Jersey City a Hotspot for Tall Building

Jersey City, New Jersey, is becoming a hotspot for tall building, with at least four major projects in the works. Construction has started on a development eventually slated to include New Jersey’s tallest building, at 70 stories and 222 m, dezeen.com reports. Adjacent to a rail station linking Jersey City to Manhattan, Journal Squared is a residential development consisting of a trio of towers. Besides the 222-m-tall one, there are also 193- and 175-m-tall towers. The shortest tower is being built now and scheduled for completion in 2016. Journal Squared features a metal-panel façade and was designed by HWKN and Handel Architects. Other projects proposed in Jersey City include the 42-story, mixed-use HAP Tower and the 47-story Kushner-KABR apartment building next door to the nearly finished, 55-story Trump Tower Residences. Proposals stretch beyond Jersey City. In downtown Newark, SoMA Newark, a 15-million-sq.-ft., mixed-used development that includes at least one 1,000-ft.-tall tower is in the early planning stages, and the mixed-use Teachers Village is set to open this year.

Residential Tower Part of Long Island City Resurgence

Excavation has begun on 42-12 28th Street in Long Island City, New York, New York Yimby reports. Upon completion, the 58-story building is set to become the tallest residential tower in the neighborhood at more than 646 ft. Included in the plans are 477 residential units covering 392,824 sq. ft., and 5,878 sq. ft. of retail. The development is just one of several that are part of a Long Island City residential building boom. The 142-unit 27 on 27th and the 790-unit The Linc LIC were recently completed, the 50-story, 509-ft.-tall 10 Court Square is under construction and plans are progressing on a 45-story, 473-ft.-tall tower at 29-26 Northern Boulevard.

Trump Building Getting a Neighbor

Lawmakers in Jersey City, New Jersey, have passed a tax abatement for the 47-story Kushner-KABR apartment building at 65 Bay Street, next door to the nearly complete, 55-story Trump Plaza Residences, New York Yimby reports. Although no construction start date had been announced as of late March, the project promises to enhance the growing verticality of Jersey City. Designed by Humphreys & Partners and developed by Kushner Companies and the KABR Group, the building is similar in design to the Trump building and includes a rooftop pool on its base. It is set to include 446 units.

Industry Goings On

Elevator specialists move, expand, shift gears.

Area Access Expands Location, Adds PVEs

Area Access Inc. has added 4,000 sq. ft. to its Manassas, Virginia, location and enhanced its product offerings with a new line of pneumatic vacuum elevators (PVEs). The PVEs come in three sizes and are ASME 17.7 certified. The physical expansion brings the location to 16,000 sq. ft. and enables Area Access to better meet increased demand by having more storage and training space. The company also has a Norfolk, Virginia, location.

Peelle Reorganizes, Expands Sales Department

The Peelle Co. has reorganized and expanded its sales team, which now consists of two departments: Sales and Project Management. Sales is tasked with handling initial client contacts and relationships, including specifying products and providing price quotes. Project Management is responsible for guiding orders through the process until they are handed off to Engineering and Manufacturing. Peelle also added two employees. In Sales, Matt Yelland was hired as Regional Sales manager, focusing on the Midwest and Northeast. His experience includes working as a senior sales consultant at KONE. Steven Mullen has moved from Peelle’s Engineering department to Project Management. Peelle states Mullen’s experience performing field surveys and on-site support make him ideal for his new job.

Elevator Screen Owner Captivate Buys Competitor

New York City (NYC)-headquartered Captivate Networks, which owns the majority of business screens in elevators, is buying The Wall Street Journal Office Network (WSJON), which has offices in NYC and Chicago and owns most of the screens in North American lobbies, Advertising Age reports. The deal increases Captivate’s screens from 10,000 to 12,000. WSJON debuted in 2006 in office lobbies, entering the elevator market a year later, but was never able to catch up with Captivate.

Alps Moves to Pennsylvania

Alps Wire Rope Corp. has moved its Columbus, Ohio, warehouse to 1549 Bobali Drive, Suite C, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17104. This is the final move in Alps’ strategic realignment process, implemented to ensure its warehouses are positioned around the country to provide fast delivery. The former warehouse served the company for more than 21 years and is considered one of its most successful. The new one can be contacted at toll free: (800) 424-9986, phone: (717) 939-5757, fax: (717) 939-7545 and email: adam.benner@alpswirerope.com.

Detroit Elevator Strengthens Residential Focus

Detroit Elevator Co. in Ferndale, Michigan, has enhanced its focus on residential elevators by rearranging staff and expanding the residential section of its website, www.detroitelevator.com. “Detroit Elevator has been building, installing and servicing residential elevators in Michigan for 100 years now, but there really wasn’t that great of a demand until recently,” Vice President Don Purdie, Jr. said. “Now, they are becoming more popular, so we’re making a concentrated effort to expand our efforts.”

ACEEE Seeks Industry Input on Energy Efficiency

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) seeks representatives of elevator OEMs to participate in a think tank that will look at ways elevators can conserve energy and, in turn, spur economic development and protect the environment. ACEEE then plans to prepare a report summarizing opportunities, and barriers that could be addressed by public policy. The project, which is fully funded, is expected to require a time commitment of approximately one day over a three-month period during the summer. For more information about ACEEE, visit www.aceee.org. For more information about participating in the think tank, contact Harvey Sachs at email: hsachs@aceee.org or phone: (202) 507-4014.

Altra Makes Forbes List

Altra Industrial Motion Corp., which makes electromechanical power-transmission products for such sectors as the elevator industry, scored 97 out of 100 on Forbes’ “America’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies” list. The Braintree, Massachusetts, company’s high “Accounting Governance and Risk” (AGR) score meant it tied for both the second-highest overall score and the highest score within the small-cap category on the 2014 list. 

Companies on the list were selected by GMI Ratings, after review of more than 8,000 North American public companies. Those with the highest AGR scores for all four quarters of 2013 made the list. Companies are ranked based on various factors, such as revenue and expense recognition methods, bankruptcy risk, Securities and Exchange Commission actions and high-risk events.

NYPD Directive: Avoid Elevators During Fire Response

In April, the New York Police Department (NYPD) directed its officers to avoid elevators at all times when responding to fires, reversing an earlier directive advising them to cautiously use them, the New York Daily News reported. The directive came several weeks after an officer died as a result of injuries he received in a housing-complex elevator while responding to a fire. Another officer was hospitalized as a result of that incident.

Government Backs Idea of Wooden Skyscrapers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to building tall structures out of laminated wood, The Oregonian reports. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the department would help fund training for architects and engineers in building tall with wood, and is putting US$1 million toward a design competition. Using wood in tall buildings is viewed as more environmentally friendly and less costly than using concrete or steel, and the idea has gained some traction, despite such buildings being more vulnerable to fire. Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill maintains wood could be safely used in a 42-story skyscraper. A 24-story tower has been proposed in Stockholm, Sweden, and a nine-story apartment building framed in wood was built in London in 2009. 

States Add Elevator World as Continuing-Education Provider

The states of Georgia, Alabama, Virginia and Washington have recently added Elevator World, Inc. as an approved continuing-education provider. These states are in addition to Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Elevator World also administers the State of Florida Certificate of Competency exam, which certifies the holder has received the training necessary to perform the duties of a Certified Elevator Technician (CET®). Only CETs are properly licensed and registered to construct, install, inspect, maintain or repair vertical conveyances in Florida.

Plans for Fairmont Austin Progress

In March, plans for the 47-story Fairmont Austin to join the growing hotel population in Austin, Texas, moved forward with developer Manchester Texas Financial Group LLC awarding the construction contract to Hunt Construction Group of Indianapolis, the Austin Business Journal reported. No groundbreaking date has been given. Hunt is also the general contractor on the 33-story JW Marriott Austin, which is more than halfway finished.

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