Onward and Upward
NEII names 2021-22 BoD, outlines goals at virtual meeting.
National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) hosted more than 70 attendees in mid-July at a virtual meeting led by NEII President Greg Ergenbright. Board of Directors (BoD) officers for 2021-2022 were nominated and unanimously elected. They are:
- President: Ergenbright, who has been president of Schindler’s U.S. operations since 2013. He has 25 years’ industry experience.
- Vice President Erik Zommers, senior vice president/general manager of Mitsubishi Electric U.S. (MEUS). He has been with MEUS since 1989.
- Treasurer Jared Radabaugh, global business unit controller at Prysmian Group, where he provides financial, analytical and decision-making support to the elevator/escalator business units.
- Secretary Amy Blankenbiller, executive director of NEII who leads the staff to drive industry objectives. She has more than 30 years’ experience in public relations, government affairs and policy development.
In addition to the officers, returning BoD members include James Cramer, Otis; Gary Krupp, Fujitec America, Inc.; Kevin Lavallee, TK Elevator; Sterrett Lloyd, Draka/EHC Global; and Ken Schmid, KONE Americas.
The election was followed by a report from Blankenbiller about NEII achievements over the past year, marked by the pandemic. These include:
- Providing real-time updates to members on state and federal orders impacting elevator workers
- Securing an “essential worker” designation for elevator-industry workers
- Securing access to buildings
- Developing guidance documents
NEII staff has grown to seven, including two involved in government. Blankenbiller announced the new online Code Finder, described as a much-easier-to-access platform. She said the team is working to increase member services and is surveying members to gather ideas.
NEII plans to work with the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA Alliance Program and the National Elevator Industry Education Program (NEIEP) to improve safety, encourage workforce diversity and inclusion, expand industry recruitment and get current code adopted throughout the U.S. For recruitment, NEII and NEIEP developed a new, online flyer. In terms of code, the organization is tracking more than 300 changes and has 60 members on code committees. The team is also monitoring approximately 100 elevator boards nationwide and tracking 376 bills. NEII has eight lobbyists who can help push bills favorable to the industry forward in various states.
The last hour of the meeting was taken over by two excellent speakers, Dr. Brad Brezinski and Dr. Katrice Albert, both of S2A, a Cincinnati-based leadership development firm. Albert spoke first and led with a quote: “Keep rising the power of possibilities through inclusive leadership excellence.” She urged those gathered to “lean” into diversity and advance inclusion. Cultural intelligence, or CI, refers to the ability to interact effectively with people of other cultures and to promote inclusive environments where everyone feels like they belong, she said.
Brezinski continued in the same vein, discussing workplace strategies to promote diversity. These are:
- Allow all voices.
- Embrace feedback.
- Foster collaboration.
- Drive the business case.
- Advocate, sponsor and “make a way.”
- Measure and assess results.