Niagara Belco

(l-r) Joe Hickey, vice president of Mechanical Design; Derek Moorse, general manager; and John Sonke, president

Niagara Belco provides specialized industry equipment to places across North America.

Hamilton, Canada-based Niagara Belco Ltd. is a supplier of swing-door assemblies to elevator contractors and manufacturers of commercial and residential accessibility lifts for North America. Founded by the late David Balmer as BELCO (standing for “Balmer Elevator Lift Co.”) in 1983, the company has grown from a humble three to 20 employees.

Balmer’s contribution to the elevator industry is substantial, and remains a large part of the culture and pride at Niagara Belco today. In 1989, the company was brought into the Niagara Elevator family by Russ Redmond and Al Braden to become Niagara Belco Inc. (and, later Ltd.). It emerged as one of only a few companies to bring its specialized group of products to the North American market.

Joe Hickey and John Sonke came to own and operate the company in 2004. Sonke is a licensed Elevating Device Mechanic Class A and former inspection manager for the Technical Standards & Safety Authority. Because of ongoing engineering and design innovation, Niagara Belco is now recognized as one of the most comprehensive sources for swing-door products in North America.

With the addition of a marine application certification by the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada, Niagara Belco now has elevator swing-door solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and marine projects. In 2014, it was commissioned to provide full elevator packages to ferry boats in Newfoundland, Canada, and has more applications for coming years.

For the traditional elevator sector, the company offers full-package commercial accessibility lifts, limited-use/limited-access elevators, residential elevators and low-rise, small footprint hydraulic elevators.

All companies, regardless of their size, are largely successful because of the commitment of the people involved. Niagara Belco is no different in that regard. “Our philosophy is simple: we can’t do it alone, but as a team, we can do anything.”

Most recently, Derek Moorse joined Niagara Belco as general manager, adding a diverse business background in the elevator industry to the management team (ELEVATOR WORLD, December 2015). He told EW the last year has proven successful for the company, and the future looks to be promising:

“We’ve managed to put together a fantastic team here, and, in my experience, a combination of the right people at the right time can make a massive impact on the success of a company. We also believe that our customers are our partners, and our competitors are opportunities. In this day and age, our smartest strategy is to create alliances and strategic partners, rather than competitors, to gain our share of the marketplace. We are very excited about our future and the people [who] will be with us to share in it.”

Niagara Belco provides custom and standard entrance solutions to all the major OEMs, including Otis, Schindler, thyssenkrupp and KONE, as well as many smaller companies in which custom environments are critical design criteria. Its control system is nonproprietary and uses components available across the continent. Applications include solar-power-generation-plant towers, 1920s replica high rises, oversized stage entrances, NEMA 7 explosion-proof stainless steel and correction-facility security doors.

Joe Hickey, vice president of Mechanical Design, explained:

“We realize that some applications make it impossible to order an ‘off-the-shelf’ product, and as an elevator company, sometimes, the doors are an afterthought. We don’t see it that way, and experience on both sides of that fence has educated us on the importance of ensuring all details are crystal clear. For that reason, we also offer onsite design consultation anywhere in North America. We want success and repeat business just like you do.”  

Those at Niagara Belco believe its diverse background, with in-house experienced engineering expertise, creates an environment that thrives on challenge and understands commitment. It stands by its products with a limited two- and five-year warranty on all major components and a lifetime warranty on all structural components.

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