The People Issue
ELEVATOR WORLD is proud to present something new in this issue: a special section devoted to people. Nominations from our readers made this section possible, pointing out important fixtures in our industry, from those who keep the office running smoothly to those who can only be thought of as “industry icons.”
Industry professionals featured hail from all over North America and many parts of the world, many of them performing work in multiple cities. The many accomplished women nominated was a pleasant surprise. EW learned there are numerous female professionals — both in the office and field — who have distinguished themselves as innovative, high achievers who are at, or at least clearly headed, to the top.
We feel we achieved our goal of providing stories from a diverse array of professionals who make and have made an impact on our industry through the work they do and have done for their companies, their communities and the industry as a whole. It was a joy to hear such interesting stories, and we hope you’ll enjoy reading about these hardworking, unique pillars of the industry.
We also hope this is only the beginning of what will become a recurring special section in EW. Let us know what you think of this new feature and if you’d like to see it again. We’re eager to continue hearing and telling the stories of this industry’s dedicated, hardworking people.
- Title: Vice President, Genesis Elevator Co.
- Years in Industry: 10
- Based: Atlanta
Tracy Arntzen is vice president of Genesis Elevator Co., a full-service provider of commercial and residential elevators, dumbwaiters, wheelchair lifts and other home accessibility equipment in the Greater Atlanta area. The company also installs and services new equipment and can service, repair and modernize most elevator products. A 10-year veteran of the industry, she has also seen 25 more “as a devoted spouse of an elevator guy,” Jay Arntzen, who is also president of Genesis.
Jay praised his wife, adding that Tracy:
“. . . is an amazing woman who has provided great expertise to Genesis and worked hard to make sure the company holds true to its family values. She also is cofounder of and directs staff at the Saving Susan Ministry (SSM), a five-year-old nonprofit focused on orphan care in third-world countries whose borders are closed to traditional adoption as a result of human trafficking and government corruption. In addition to this core vision, SSM provides scholarships so these children can go on to trade schools or college once they are ready. . . . All of the organizational cost is funded by a committed board of directors, as well as 17% of Genesis Elevator’s net profits. This way, 100% of all the funds received by the Parent Partner families goes to each child to feed, house, care for and educate.”
Former colleague Dawn Pogue said of her:
“Tracy is a dynamic person to work with. I have gotten to know her through various professional organizations and am impressed with her professionalism, her focus and her energy. I would highly recommend working with Tracy and Genesis Elevator on any project.”
- Title: National Coordinator, EIWPF
- Years in Industry: 20
- Based: Seattle
The Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund (EIWPF) is a national nonprofit headquartered in Maryland aimed at improving labor-management relations and promoting education and economic development. Carisa Barrett has been one of its coordinators for the past six-and-a-half years. She performs research; is an OSHA outreach instructor; manages an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) grant program for new technicians; and last, but not least, is a member of the EIWPF’s Women in the Trades Committee.
QEI-certified, Barrett not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Before entering the vertical-transportation industry, she was familiar with both the book and hands-on aspects of construction, having studied stick welding at Renton Technical College in Renton, Washington, and Green River Community college in Auburn, Washington; Electronics at Green River College; and Labor Law at Grace Carroll Rocky Mountain Labor School in Moscow, Idaho. She was an International Union of Operating Engineers heavy machine operator in the Seattle area for several years in the late 1990s before being drawn to an elevator mechanic apprenticeship with Otis through the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) in Seattle, which lasted nearly five years. Remaining in the Seattle area, Barrett then served as an apprentice with KONE for three years, then a full-fledged IUEC mechanic with thyssenkrupp for four years. For six months, she was a State of Washington elevator inspector before she took the EIWPF post.
Barrett sits on these committees: ASME A17.1 5.11/A17.8 Wind-Turbine Elevator, AWEA Standards and Operations and Maintenance — Towers, IUEC Industry Exploration, and North American Building Trades Unions Women in Trades. In her spare time, she enjoys climbing mountains and hiking around the Pacific Northwest.
- Title: Vice President, Codes and Safety, NEII
- Years in Industry: 27
- Based: Eureka, Illinois
When Kevin Brinkman became general manager at National Wheel-O-Vator in 1990, he looked on it as “an opportunity to be more involved in the overall operation of a company and to gain experience in a new field.” Having been in the industry for more than 27 years now, this professional engineer is vice president, Codes and Safety, for the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII®).
NEII represents the world’s leaders in the industry, advocating for their interests. But, advocacy is only part of what NEII does; code development is also a major concern. The technical and codes teams of member companies work with NEII to ensure the model codes promote the highest level of safety, while advancing innovation and performance.
NEII colleague Nicole Van Velzen nominated Brinkman for recognition, noting that he:
“. . . actively participates in the development and adoption of model codes and standards that pertain to the elevator industry’s equipment, including the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 elevator safety codes, International Building Code, National Electrical Code and others that provide standards for accessibility, fire and life safety, and more.
“Kevin keeps his finger on the pulse of all the developments in codes and standards to ensure the safety of elevator personnel and the riding public. Our industry would not continue to advance safely and efficiently without stringent codes and standards and the codes professionals who come together to develop them.”
For Brinkman, a Huntingburg, Indiana, native who now works in Eureka, Illinois, the best part of the job is “the opportunity to work with a wide range of people in different areas of the industry.”
José Guillermo Deyá
- Title: President, Deya Elevator Service
- Years in Industry: 63
- Based: Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
José Guillermo Deyá says it was simply “luck” that drew him to the elevator industry. It was more than just luck that made him the president of a successful elevator company, however. Through hard work and an enterprising vision, he launched Deya Elevator Service, which today has a maintenance portfolio of more than 2,800 units and employs and trains scores of people.
Born and raised in the small city of Ciales, Puerto Rico, Deyá left home in 1954 at age 18, determined to make his own way in San Juan, the capital city. He lived with relatives and studied at vocational school, and, at age 19, became a mechanic with Otis. He struck out on his own four years later and founded his company. This one-man operation gained a reputation for quality service, which fueled quick growth. He began to hire family members, including brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews. His wife has worked in the business for more than 50 years, and a new generation, with his own children, has taken important roles. He’s never forgotten his own roots, however, and enjoys giving young people the tools and training to build their own careers.
Today, Deya Elevator Service works with contractors on new installations, and does modernizations and, of course, service. This successful family enterprise builds its own cabins and has an electronics workshop that keeps it up to date on the latest technology. In 2014, the company inaugurated a new office in Guaynabo, and in 2016, Deyá was honored as the Chamber of Commerce of Puerto Rico’s Entrepreneur of the Year. You’d think being the president of a highly successful company would be a great source of pride, but for Deyá, “the satisfaction of employing 180 people” is the most rewarding part of his job.
- Title: Branch Operations Coordinator for New Equipment Installation, Modernization and Service and Repair, thyssenkrupp Elevator
- Years in Industry: 14
- Based: Syracuse, New York
If you ask Judy DeZenzio what it’s like working in the vertical-transportation industry, this U.S. Navy veteran who grew up in a military family sees important parallels between the elevator business and the U.S. Armed Forces. “Communication, organization and follow-up within this fast-paced business are also the cornerstones for serving in the U.S. military,” she says.
DeZenzio has 14 years in the industry, and works in the Syracuse, New York, office of thyssenkrupp Elevator, where she serves as branch operations coordinator for New Equipment Installation, Modernization and Service and Repair. A native of Syracuse, DeZenzio has moved around, having lived in Florida, Connecticut and Minnesota. She started her career with thyssenkrupp in Syracuse but spent three years in the company’s Rochester, New York, branch before returning. As she has grown in her job, she has found plenty to love: the pace, the “unexpected opportunities to solve problems” and “the really fabulous coworkers all over the country I interact with constantly.” Fellow workers are, in fact, what tops her list as the best thing about her job: “These people are not only nice, but helpful whenever I feel ‘trapped,’” she said, throwing in an “elevator pun.” When she’s not at work coordinating a job — which involves working with both field and inside personnel — DeZenzio likes to relax with her hobbies of feng shui or practicing tai chi. She was nominated by her branch manager, Matt Reichin, who lauded her as “reliable and exact.”
“Judy is somebody that we all count on,” Reichin said. “She cares deeply about our office and goes the extra mile.” He said that she’s in the office early to help get the field teams on their way, even through last winter’s “ridiculous snowstorms.” And one other thing, he said: “She also keeps the office stocked with chocolates. Perhaps I should have started with that!”
- Title: Mid-Atlantic Regional Sales Manager, Otis
- Years in Industry: 27
- Based: Albany, New York
When Kelly Fuller was a college student, she took a job with Otis during a summer break from classes. Today, 27 years later, she’s still with Otis, having risen through the ranks to a major regional management position. “I started as an administrative assistant, what was supposed to be a ‘summer job’ in college that turned into a fulfilling career,” she said. Her life path changed after she discovered that Otis parent United Technologies Corp. had a program that would pay her remaining college tuition. “My dad encouraged me to take the opportunity, and I can’t thank him enough.”
Fuller, born and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, is Otis regional sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic, a territory that covers all of Pennsylvania and upstate New York (Poughkeepsie, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo). She reports to Regional General Manager Dan Cellucci, based in the Albany office. In the time since those early days, she moved up through the sales department to become general manager of Otis’ Albany office before taking on her current assignment.
Being part of the “Otis family” has brought her many close friendships and the guidance of many dedicated mentors, inspiring her to pay it forward by helping young members of the sales staff so that they may “get as much joy and fulfillment out of this industry as it has given to me.” While crediting many mentors, she particularly points to Sales Manager Tim Reidy, who “really showed me the path through this male-dominated industry” and Dot Mynahan, “my first female manager,” who advocates for the role of women in the business. Seems Fuller has made an impression, herself. Andrew Bierer, who nominated her for this feature, calls her “an inspiring person.” “She never does the bare minimum,” he said. “She’s thoughtful, hardworking, smart and tough, when need be.”
- Title: Director of Engineering, BOCA Group
- Years in Industry: 23
- Based: New York City
Perry Gheorghias was living in Romania when he was invited for a visit by family living in New York City (NYC). It didn’t take long — just a couple of weeks — for him to realize that the U.S. would be a good place to call home. “I decided to get an H1B working visa and help my relatives in developing their business of importing/exporting goods between Romania and the U.S.,” he said. Though vertical transportation wasn’t even on his radar — “I never knew that I would work someday in the elevator industry,” he said — he did hold an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania, his hometown. But, by way of “an interesting job offer” to be a draftsman at Monitor Controls, Gheorghias launched a career that he’s now spent 23 years building.
Today, he’s director of Engineering for BOCA Group in NYC, a role that makes him responsible for performing field surveys, writing specifications, producing computer-aided-design drawings and reviewing shop drawings and closeout documents for the company’s modernization and new-installation projects. It’s a job that puts him where he wants to be, because for him, the best thing about the business is “being able to see and learn about the new developments in the elevator industry.”
EW Correspondent Matthew Jackson, who suggested Gheorghias for this feature, praised him for his devotion “to the craft of elevator engineering. . . . Perry is one of the most creative, caring and thoughtful people in our industry.”
In his free time, Gheorghias enjoys tennis and soccer.
Herbert Glaser, Jr.
- Title: Executive Vice President, GAL Manufacturing Corp. (retired) and Vice President, Hollister-Whitney (retired)
- Years in Industry: 59
- Based: Bronx, New York
Herbert “Herb” Glaser, Jr.’s lifelong career in the industry officially began in 1959. Paul Seifried, vice president of operations, 30-year veteran of GAL and Glaser’s nephew, told us Glaser is now technically retired and living in northern New Jersey.
Seifried also said of Glaser:
“He was a very paternalistic figure, cared for employees as much as his own family and is loved: very approachable and well liked by customers, peers and employees. What was interesting during his time was. . . brothers Herb and Walter on leadership roles in 1967, when the Glaser family bought out the company. As executive vice presidents, Herb and Walter shared in leading the company, along with their father, Herbert Glaser, Sr., who devoted most of his effort to product design and enhancement. Along the way, during the years between buying out the partners until his recent retirement, Glaser led through tremendous growth, overseeing the largest period of sustained growth GAL and Hollister-Whitney (purchased in 1960) experienced.”
Expansion is an important facet of Glaser’s legacy. He was instrumental in both the 2004 decision to establish GAL Canada and, two years later, to purchase fellow elevator door equipment manufacturer Elevator Components Industries of Mississauga, Canada. Another important milestone was kicking off a sophisticated microprocessor-based controller line (GALaxy) in the early 2000s. This new breed of controllers became GAL’s greatest growth product after they took the place of the electromechanical relay controllers of the 1990s.
Glaser was presented with the National Association of Elevator Contractors’ William C. Sturgeon Distinguished Service Award in 2003, along with Walter. “It’s almost impossible to think of Herb without Walter,” Seifried added.
- Title: Executive Vice President, GAL (retired); Vice President, Hollister-Whitney (retired); and president, Elevator Components Industries (retired)
- Years in Industry: 59
- Based: Bronx, New York
Walter Glaser served as executive vice president of GAL Manufacturing Corp.; vice president of Hollister-Whitney Elevator Corp.; and president of Elevator Components Industries Inc. of Canada. With a background in electrical and mechanical engineering, Glaser has been involved in many product designs. His designs and patents include elevator and door-operator control systems, an electromagnetically compensated scale, an elevator door lock for limiting door opening and a recent disc-brake monitor. Glaser’s mechanical designs include elevator disc brakes, governors, safeties and other devices. Over his 45 years of experience in the elevator industry, Glaser holds several U.S., Canadian and British patents, and frequently authors technical articles in the industry. He is also a member of ELEVATOR WORLD’s Technical Advisory Group.
Recognized as the inventor of the Hollister-Whitney RopeGripper®, Glaser also designed, patented and manufactured the GAL FM1 system, which uses a microprocessor on its circuit board to detect door faults. Originally designed as the “Elevator Door Tampering Protection System,” its primary purpose was to make it impossible for vandals to tamper with the door interlock and gate switch. (EW, September 2017).
Son of founder Herbert Glaser and brother of Herbert “Herb” Glaser, Jr., he joined his brother in successfully resisting a proposal by the Bronx Borough president in 1998 to have GAL’s Bronx, New York, manufacturing facility move to make way for a “Yankee Village” for the professional baseball team near the stadium. The New York Times quoted him as saying, “We’re not an 80-day-a-year concern like the Yankees. We’re here 365 days a year.”
- Title: Senior Director, Field Operations, Otis EMEA
- Years in Industry: 14
- Based: London
Erika Goldstein has distinguished herself as a woman of accomplishment who has earned the respect of coworkers and clients. Goldstein cofounded the women’s employee resource group FORWARD with Dot Mynahan (also in this section), recently launched a chapter for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and helped establish chapters in France and Singapore.
Otis recruited Goldstein for its Field Management Development program after she had served four years active duty in the U.S. Army, with deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. To help pay for her education at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, Goldstein joined the National Guard and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. Then, it was on to the Army, where her roles included vertical construction and maintenance officer. She joined Otis Americas as a field management associate in 2004, progressing to positions of increasing responsibility that included service and construction superintendent, project manager and modernization account manager.
In 2011, she was appointed major project manager in Mumbai, where she was project manager of Kohinoor Square Tower, a landmark project in Mumbai. In September 2014, she took on the responsibility of director of Field Operations, South Asia. Today, as senior director, Field Operations, EMEA, Goldstein oversees an international team in 43 countries from her base in London.
Goldstein’s life away from work is exciting and fulfilling. A big fan of music, she plans to learn the art of DJing in the near future. She’s an avid shopper who always loves a great bargain. In addition, she and her husband recently renovated their home — a process she describes as both “challenging and extremely rewarding.”
- Title: General Manager, Sales and Marketing, City Lift
- Years in Industry: 18
- Based: Mumbai
Though he started his career in the automotive field, Mohamed Habeeb found his true calling in the vertical-transportation (VT) industry. Born in Kayalpattinam in southern Tamil Nadu, India, he grew up 1,500 km away in Vizianagaram, India. With nearly 18 years in the VT industry, Habeeb has worked for a number of companies, holding a variety of roles in sales and marketing, and management. He currently serves as general manager of sales and marketing at City Lift in Mumbai.
Habeeb says he approaches his work with a flexible attitude, and strives to be dynamic, reliable, positive and proactive. While with a previous employer, Mitsubishi Electric, he was recognized with an appreciation certificate, awarded by the group vice president, for work he did to secure an important contract. He has also received positive comments from many of his customers.
With each position he has held, Habeeb says he has been well exposed in the management aspects of operations, which has helped him advance his career.
- Title: Owner, Amron Lift Resources
- Years in Industry: 76
- Based: Sydney
John Inglis of Sydney, owner of Amron Lift Resources, consults on elevators, performs code work and makes expert reports, mainly in Australia. His career began in January 1942 at Arnold Engineering & Lifts as an apprentice. His roles there over the next 33 years involved service work, installation supervisor and engineering manager and director. He worked for Otis between 1975 (when Otis bought Arnold) and 1992.
Inglis recalled one of his most memorable projects involving special hydraulic lifts in a munitions factory where no electrical equipment was permitted in the lift shaft (all circuits were air lines and air limit switches, including locks and buttons), taking place around 1950. Another was the Snowy Mountains power station lift (ELEVATOR WORLD, August 1960), the longest-travel passenger lift in the world at that time. Finally, there was a multispeed mechanical selector (only approximately 7 ft. tall) for a lift travel of 1,187 ft.
Some of Inglis’ mentors were EW founder William C. Sturgeon, who he said always encouraged him from around 1955; George Gibson, a longtime friend; Terry Davis, another Sydney industry icon during the late 1920s to 1960s; and Jack R. Wilson, an electrical engineer, formerly of Otis, who was at Arnold Engineering & Lifts from around 1947 until 1953.
Fellow Australian consultant Noel Smith said of her colleague:
“John is now 92 years old, has been involved in all areas of the lift industry. . . and is still working full time. He. . . has been involved with the International Organization for Standardization and Australian Standards for over 50 years. He has been an EW correspondent since 1958 and has one of the largest collections of EW magazines, with currently over 750 copies, dating from 1954.”
- Title: Product Division Manager, MELCO-MEC
- Years in Industry: 34
- Based: Giza, Egypt
Born and raised in Egypt and now making his home in 6th of October City, roughly 30 km from Cairo, Ezz Kinawi earned a BS in Engineering from Helwan University and completed his service with the Egyptian Armed Forces as a lieutenant. He started in the industry as an installation manager with Otis in 1984. Since 1990, he has held roles of increasing leadership with MELCO-MEC, a joint venture of Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric and Modern Engineering Co. of Egypt. For the past six years, he has served as Project Division manager. Kinawi’s career has taken him inside many of Egypt’s iconic structures, such as the Library of Alexandria, and San Stefano Grand Plaza in Alexandria and Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa in Cairo.
For Otis, where he worked until 1987, Kinawi’s projects included installation of 24 2.5-mps geared elevators at Al-Othman Office Tower in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. During the one-and-a-half years between his Otis and MELCO-MEC careers, Kinawi served as an electrical installation engineer for the Saudi Arabian government, working in several of its new buildings in Mecca and Jeddah.
Kinawi stays very busy as division manager. Whenever a new product is released or project staff needs to be hired, Kinawi handles it. He works closely with clients such as property owners and consultants, preparing architectural drawings and specifications; overseeing installation engineers; and coordinating tenders, contracts, pricing and delivery. Kinawi explains this covers every detail, such as “getting the client’s preferred finishes and studying cab décor to determine, for example, whether a heavier load will call for design adjustments.” Kinawi is a member of Egyptian conveyance code committees and provides consultancy services. In his spare time, he can often be found tending to his rooftop plants, surfing the internet and reading books.
- Title: Offerings Manager, PSR/Upgrades – Americas, KONE Spares
- Years in Industry: 18
- Based: Moline, Illinois
Mary Fara Lewis zigzagged her way into the elevator industry almost two decades ago, and, since she arrived, she hasn’t changed course. Educated to be a history teacher, Lewis found out quickly upon her college graduation that she was not alone in that pursuit. “There were too many history teachers,” Lewis said. “And I was standing in a long line for a job.”
While waiting for a teaching opportunity to turn up, Lewis took a part-time job at Stetson Building Products in Iowa. She found out she had a knack for developing a business, and the part-time job turned into an almost 30-year full-time career at the company.
When Lewis took the job at KONE Spares 18 years ago, she was ready for a change and found a welcoming home. She joined KONE Spares at a time of great change and helped lay the groundwork for a streamlined, expansive centralized purchasing department that would grow from two people in 2000 to the 15-person operation it is today. With new services offered to the industry, the total Spares group has now expanded to 54 team members under her leadership.
“That growth is a testament to Mary,” said Wayne Dowty, director, KONE Spares – Americas. “She has been the heart and soul of the operation over her 18 years. She has never settled and always remained an advocate for the front-line purchasing department, as well as our industry customers.”
Lewis has proudly worn many hats over the years, including business development manager, director, purchasing director and now offerings manager, PSR/upgrades. She’s also a familiar face at industry events and a proud mom of one son who resides in California.
- Title: President, Draka Elevator
- Years in Industry: 39
- Based: Rocky Mount, North Carolina
Sterrett Lloyd is president of Draka Elevator (a business unit of the Prysmian Group), where he directs the company’s worldwide operations. Lloyd began his industry service in 1979 as an elevator contractor and is the third generation of his family to work in the industry. He joined Draka in 2001 as vice president of Sales, and progressed to chief operating officer/managing director, then to his current position of president in 2011.
Lloyd’s grandfather and father were in the industry, and he is proud his son is now a fourth-generation elevator man. Though officially in the industry for “only” 39 years, Lloyd really got his start earlier by sorting nuts and bolts from construction projects for his grandfather as soon as he could walk. He began at Mid America Elevator in Indianapolis in 1979 and worked at Abell Elevator and Schindler in Indianapolis and Ohio from 1984 until 1992. He served as president of Abell from 1992 until 2000.
Lloyd said some of his greatest industry memories are of large modernization projects like 5th 3rd Bank in Columbus, Ohio, and new construction like the Grand Baldwin Building and a performing-arts building in Cincinnati. At Draka, he is proud of having taken a local company with one site to a global enterprise manufacturing on four continents and distributing globally with 18 locations.
Nominator Al Hayes called Lloyd a “brilliant man abounding in wisdom and character.” Lloyd says he owes his character to his father and grandfather, who inspired the work ethic that led to his success in the trade, and his mother, who gave him the lessons and ethics to lead and be successful.
- Title: Senior Vice President for Modernization and Construction, TEI Group
- Years in Industry: 40
- Based: Long Island City, New York
It would be fair to say the elevator industry is in Kevin Lynch’s blood. His father, uncles and his father’s uncle were all in the business, so this Staten Island, New York, native comes by it naturally. When something’s in your blood, you stick with it, and, with nearly 40 years of experience, you could say “sticking with it” is exactly what Lynch has done.
Currently senior vice president for modernization and construction at TEI Group in Long Island City, New York, Lynch started his career as a helper for Curtis Elevator, a job he credits for giving him a solid industry foundation. “I was fortunate to start with a small, independent company where you learned to do the job start to finish — not just a single phase,” he said. “I’d say this is where I learned to appreciate the intricacies of the business.”
Lynch spent more than 25 years teaching the trade to newcomers, serving as an instructor at the National Elevator Industry Educational Program, which he finds especially gratifying. “It’s great to see former students grow from apprentice, to mechanic, to foreman, to supervisor, and continue to succeed,” he said. It’s the people he interacts with daily who have made his job most enjoyable. “It is often said that elevator people are a different breed, and I have seen nothing over the years to challenge that,” he said.
A current resident of Warwick, New York, Lynch’s spare time is all about his “ever-growing” family, including his six children and eight grandchildren. Projects around the house and yard, or maybe a little fishing, bring him joy. More than anything else, he credits his wife, Mary, for his success, saying she is “the one who always kept it grounded, always supported any career decision I was making.”
- Title: Owner, Dade Elevator Inspection and Consulting; Co-owner, Elevator Dynamics
- Years in Industry: 17
- Based: Miami
With two companies to think about, Rick Macareno stays busy, but he likes it that way. “I really like finding simple solutions to everyday problems,” says this Miami-based electrical engineer and 17-year industry veteran who owns Dade Elevator Inspection and Consulting, and co-owns — along with his partner, mechanical engineer Nelson Alonso — Elevator Dynamics. “I see lots of innovative designs that are cutting edge, but most elevator business owners and building owners need solutions to the recurring, day-to-day problems, when it comes to their elevators,” he said.
One of the “everyday problems” that vexed Macareno and Alonso dealt with door-restriction issues, “recurring countlessly on elevator inspection reports. Not only were they code violations, but, in our view, a major safety concern.” Through several iterations, they devised DoorClamp, a door restrictor that was reliable, easy to install and required no maintenance, and the basis for an interlock that Macareno believes provides “maximum safety” for passengers.
Their products are used in high-rise buildings around South Florida, including one with a 52-stop, front-and-rear elevator, a total 104 openings. Marareno recounted, “The adjuster was going to have inspection within two days and was anxious to install the door restrictors. I remember delivering a package of our product. . . [and] the technician was in disbelief that everything was there, and he would finish in time. . . . Since then, this major elevator company has been using our product.” Among customers are thyssenkrupp and Fujitec, he said.
Macareno, the son of Cuban immigrants, followed his father into the business. “My father was a technician for an elevator company for over 40 years, and since I was very young, he would take me along with him,” he said. “He is retired now,” he said, adding, “but working for me.”
Zach R. McCain, Jr.
- Title: PE, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Fellow, Certified QEI and Author
- Years in Industry: 58
- Based: Norman, Oklahoma
Providing just one, or several, titles for Zach McCain is difficult for someone who EW Editor and Publisher Ricia Sturgeon-Hendrick, describes as a “huge contributor to education in the industry.” After earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lamar State College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas, McCain took an engineering position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1960, going on to jobs with the General Services Administration that saw him responsible for the operation, maintenance, repair and modernization of building systems, including elevators and escalators. From 1973 until 1990, he worked for the U.S. Postal Service, holding various engineering positions, including managing programs for elevator/escalator inspection, establishing criteria and training certified inspectors. McCain’s elevator-inspection program was the first to be accredited by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to certify elevators in compliance with ASME QEI-1. Sturgeon-Hendrick said:
“[McCain] says he is just an old goat roper from Oklahoma, but the breadth of his knowledge, and how freely it is given to us all, humbles me. He has written books that are used by new salespeople and rookies in the industry (Elevators 101), manuals for training programs (Certified Elevator Technician program Units 1-7), self-help books for technicians, The Maintenance Manual and Handbook for inspectors and mechanics, The Inspection Handbook and The Field Inspection Handbook. Even in difficult times in his own life, he has persisted in sharing his knowledge, constantly updating his books and being on call to those he can help. I call him frequently, and he never fails to be warm and forthcoming — always ready to give me a helping hand or information I need. He is a Renaissance man.”
- Title: Elevator Mechanic, IUEC Local 19
- Years in Industry: 22
- Based: Seattle
Richelle McCaskill-Diaz began her 22-year career in the industry at Denver International Airport as an apprentice and worked her way through as a mechanic for service, repair and modernization for Montgomery/KONE. She transferred to Seattle when work became slow in Denver and worked for KONE, both in construction and as a service mechanic, and chose to try her hand in the office as a service superintendent. After a few years, she was promoted to service manager for KONE’s San Diego branch. She eventually came back to Seattle in 2012 and stayed in the office, working for Schindler and KONE. In 2016, she decided to restart work as a mechanic. She now works for Eltec Elevator in Seattle in that capacity.
McCaskill-Diaz said she has had opportunities to work in many memorable places throughout Colorado, Washington and southern California. These include the Denver International Airport; Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado; the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Diablo Dam in Winthrop, Washington; Sea World San Diego; and Safeco Field in Seattle.
McCaskill-Diaz said being a woman in the industry “has not always been easy and has afforded me some challenges through the years.” She feels “fortunate to work with some of the greatest and patient people throughout” her career, such as Russ Goodwin, Virgil Guildner, George Brim, Roger Farthing and Jerry Bogart. However, her father and brother, Garry and Danny McCaskill, are most responsible for helping her through.
Lindsay LaBrosse, also of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), said of McCaskill-Diaz, “As one of the few women working in the trade, she has always been an upstanding mechanic. . . . She knows how to hold her own with the guys and gives the women in our trade a good name. I’m proud to be her union sister.”
- Title: Past Secretary/Treasurer, Hollister-Whitney Elevator Corp.
- Years in Industry: 49
- Based: Peoria, Illinois
Frank Musholt is a native of Quincy, Illinois, where Hollister-Whitney is headquartered. Before he entered the elevator industry in 1969, however, he lived two-and-a-half hours away in Peoria, Illinois. He said he had an interest to get back home, and, while visiting his mother, saw a local blind advertisement looking for a controller. When he responded (as his background had been manufacturing and accounting), he said: “Herb Glaser, Sr. took a fancy to my résumé and invited me to meet him halfway between Peoria and Quincy. I don’t know where I’d be without Herb Glaser, Sr., and Herb and Walt Glaser. Herb and Walt have been like brothers.”
Musholt said the “star” development at Hollister-Whitney during his career was that of RopeGripper®. “From the inception to the development of manufacturing and marketing, it was a very successful product,” he reminisced. Musholt has seen the company grow from approximately 20 employees to nearly 400 today. He also experienced moving from its old multistory mill building in Quincy to a 100,000-sq.-ft. building in 1981, then expanded to 170,000 sq. ft. in 1989. In 2009 and 2010, he took part in yet another expansion that led to its current 360,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space and 110-ft.-tall test tower.
Musholt declined to elaborate on his own accomplishments, but, as recipient of the 2009 William C. Sturgeon Distinguished Service award, his legacy speaks for itself. Chris Craven, also of Hollister-Whitney, gave a little insight in his nomination of him, saying he:
“. . . guided our company for decades and been a tireless promoter of the industry, involved in all aspects of it, serving on many committees and boards over the years. He has never been one to look for accolades; only one who looks for excellence in any encounter he has. We all should embody the principles of perfection and his respect for all employees and family.”
- Title: Senior Director, Field Operations, Otis Americas
- Years in Industry: 25+
- Based: West Palm Beach, Florida
Dot Mynahan cofounded Otis Elevator’s FORWARD program to recruit more women to the industry in spring 2017 with Erika Goldstein. In less than a year, the program has grown from 12 members to more than 500 Otis employees worldwide.
Mynahan got her start in the industry after answering a newspaper ad for a temporary service clerk in the Portland, Maine, office. Thanks to the company’s Employee Scholar program, she completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial Technology and entered a supervisor training program that allowed her to work in the field for 18 months. At the end of this time, she became a maintenance supervisor based out of the Providence, Rhode Island, branch, then transferred to the Manchester, New Hampshire, office in the same capacity. Taking advantage of the Employee Scholar program once again, Mynahan completed her MBA and subsequently held general manager positions for Otis in Albany, New York, and Portland, before accepting an offer to be the general manager of Delta Beckwith Elevator in Boston.
Mynahan transitioned back into Field Operations in early 2007, becoming the regional Field Operations manager for Otis in Washington, D.C. In 2015, she became the senior Field Operations manager for Maintenance and Open Order for the Eastern Region before accepting a promotion to director of Field Operations in Latin America. She held that role until her recent promotion to senior director, Field Operations, Otis Americas earlier this year. “If you had told me [when I answered the ad] that I would progress from being a temporary service clerk to senior director of Field Operations for Otis Americas, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Mynahan says. Her passion remains training and mentoring others — particularly women — so they can achieve their full potential.
- Title: Director, Contracts and Training & Development, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.
- Years in Industry: 28
- Based: Cypress, California
As the daughter of a military man, Lien Randle considers herself a “military brat,” having moved around a lot. Born in Florida, her family went from station to station, including such exotic locales as Japan and Hawaii.
As the daughter of an elevator man, Randle considers herself a lifelong member of the industry. At age six, she had her first ride on a car top, and, in junior high school, started working for her father, former Air Force fighter pilot Don Randle, at his company, Atlas Elevator, in California’s Bay Area. Filing, answering phones and handling billing took her through high school, then it was off to college and adventure, living for a few years in Paris. At 24, she “officially” started working for Atlas, and today is Director, Contracts and Training & Development, for the Elevator and Escalator Division of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.
Randle, of San Diego, is proud of her company and the people with whom she works. “Mitsubishi Electric produces the highest quality products,” she said, adding that “the people I work with and for [are] extraordinarily dedicated and passionate about our company, our products and our services.”
Though the industry is male dominated, Randle has held her own. In 1998, she was elected president of the National Association of Elevator Contractors, making her at the time the youngest person and (still) only woman to serve in that capacity. Women have made great strides in the business, but she feels there is plenty of room for further progress and would like to see more women fill the upper ranks.
- Title: Joint Managing Director, Creestaa Elevators Pvt. Ltd.
- Years in Industry: 3
- Based: Pune, India
Sneha Rewale serves as Joint Managing Director of both Creestaa Elevators Pvt. Ltd. and Rewale Group. The latter company has been in the manufacturing sector since 1993 and is one of the largest manufacturers of precision sheetmetal and diesel generator sets in India, catering to the needs of giants like Mahindra & Mahindra. The former is a technical joint venture (JV) with an Italian company. In her role, Rewale leads efforts in sales and marketing, and the manufacturing departments of Creestaa.
Despite only having launched in 2016, the JV has seen success and plans future growth. A dedicated showroom of 20,000 sq. ft. complements a 38,000-m2 manufacturing plant, which performs R&D and manufacturing for all components except machines, guide rails, ropes and safety products. Creestaa sends its partner-trained installers to custom jobs, where, under Rewale’s guidance, they are focused on providing the quickest turnaround in the local custom elevator market.
Rewale’s nominator, Dr. Rohit Nehe, said of her:
“The main reason for nominating her is because she stands up as a role model to many people, and especially women, in the elevator industry in India. She is one rare person who is equally comfortable walking on the shop floor and, at the same time, working along with the sales/marketing team in a comfortable setting.”
- Title: Associate Safety Engineer, Special Projects, State of California Elevator Unit
- Years in Industry: 14
- Based: San Diego
Daniel Schmaltz gets high praise from his colleagues, who describe him as bright, capable and having a passion for the elevator industry that “lifts the bar for safety, continuing education and code compliance.” A native of Indiana, Schmaltz earned a BS from Indiana University Bloomington in Public & Environmental Affairs with a minor in Business. He earned a certificate in Negotiation from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later, an MBA from National University in San Diego. Schmaltz began his elevator career at KONE as a senior account executive, where he earned a reputation for successful project completion and led the nation for KONE in sales in 2005 and 2006. After that, Schmaltz held positions of increasing responsibility, with a focus on sales, operations and project management, at major OEMs.
Seeking to further his knowledge about elevator inspection, he joined the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health in 2012 as an associate safety engineer, going on to earn Certified Competent Conveyance Inspector and QEI licenses. He is on the Board of Directors of NAESA International and is a member of the International Facility Management Association. He created a program that involved distributing custom safety bags and providing training to nearly 80 state inspectors, helping ensure safety of both inspectors and the riding public. He also authored numerous policies and procedures currently in place. In his spare time, Schmaltz enjoys surfing, skiing and watching Indiana basketball.
- Title: Software Engineer, Otis
- Years in Industry: 2
- Based: Farmington, Connecticut
Volodymyr Sharovar has been working for Otis as a software engineer for the past two years, after working for SanDisk for three years. He didn’t have a home computer when growing up in Ukraine in the 1990s, but he spent his lunch money to use computers at internet cafés. He was then introduced to computer engineering after emigrating to Canada in high school. “I was very lucky, because the next year, the school board canceled that class, since it taught material which we would learn in university,” he noted.
His current project is deploying an Internet of Things solution for an elevator system. His team is to develop a way to collect/package data and send it to the cloud for processing, as well as communicating with the elevator system from the cloud. He appreciates the global aspect of this project, adding, “It is great to see different regions/teams getting together and working on the same platform.”
In addition to his current manager Shari Parillo, who has supported and guided him in his career, Sharovar thanked his current team members and Principal Engineer Karl Pedersen. Coworker Helion Dhrimaj said Sharovar:
“. . . is a very hardworking and inspirational person. I have worked alongside him, and he has gone beyond his means to help me solve important issues. Vlad also goes out of the way to make any employee at Otis feel like they are a welcome part of our Otis team. He has been involved and is involved in many volunteer organizations representing Otis and also during his personal time. I can’t think of [a] better person to nominate.”
- Title: Corporate Archivist & Records Manager, Otis
- Years in Industry: 14
- Based: Farmington, Connecticut
Stephen “Steve” Showers has maintained Otis’ archives for nearly 15 years. A lover of the elevator industry, he organizes and maintains 165 years of its history, such as Elisha Otis’ first sales journal logs that include the booking of the world’s first commercial elevator in New York City (NYC). He can also proudly show you the booking of Macy’s NYC wooden escalators from the early 1900s, vintage elevator parts and Otis signs. Prior to joining Otis, he processed, organized and arranged the Southern New England Telephone Records Collection for the Archives and Special Collections of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center in Storrs, Connecticut.
Nominator Katy Padgett, who asked ELEVATOR WORLD to “pay tribute to the very few keepers of the industry’s intriguing history,” said of Showers:
“At Otis, we are fortunate to have an elevator history expert whose commitment, passion and extraordinary knowledge have engaged many an enthusiast, reporter and even industry executive. But, the most impressive part of the Otis archive is what’s in Showers’ head. Ask him anything about the industry: Otis — our people, technology, patents, milestones — and he has an answer. And, on the rare occasion that he doesn’t have an answer, he says, ‘I’ll need to research that a bit.’ And he does.
“Moving through modern cities is always getting better with modern advances in people-moving technology. Curators of where we started, how far we’ve come and where we’re going are invaluable to educating the world on the extraordinary people, inventions and milestones of our important industry.”
- Title: Technical Manager, Maxton Manufacturing Co.
- Years in Industry: 15
- Based: Minden, Nevada
Billy Shrum is part of 50-year-old family company Maxton Manufacturing Co., based in Minden, Nevada (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2015). Son of CEO William M. Shrum, III, he has been in the elevator industry longer than the 15 years stated as his “official capacity.” Josh Green of EnBio Industries, Inc. nominated Shrum for The People Issue and said of him:
“I first met Shrum from Maxton Manufacturing three years ago. My company was beginning to introduce our high-performance, environmentally safe synthetic hydraulic fluid into the elevator industry. We were referred to Maxton as one of the first steps to work toward market acceptance. As the technical manager, Shrum became my connection to Maxton. From the first conversation, Billy has been extremely supportive of our endeavor to ensure our fluid works seamlessly with elevator-industry products. It was clear from the very beginning that he was genuinely willing to help our company in any way he could and has done as much as he can to assist — providing opportunities for testing, historical industry information and suggestions for helping us find success.
“Over these last three years, Billy has continued to prove that he is a true, hardworking professional who is both honest and transparent — helping to build bridges and lift others in the industry. These are qualities I think everyone wishes were more prevalent. While his priority has always been doing what is best for Maxton, he continues to provide valuable assistance to our efforts. Billy is always willing to take the time to lend a hand. This can also be seen through the excellent work he is doing that helps support the entire hydraulic elevator industry and to ensure the needs of the market are being met.
“The entire EnBio team appreciates the continued cooperation from Maxton and knows that Billy’s help has been instrumental in allowing us to achieve our goals.”
- Title: President and CEO, ATIS
- Years in Industry: 10
- Based: St. Louis
With a solid background in business, law and economics, Chip Smith’s first experience in the elevator industry was at National Elevator Inspection Services in St. Louis, where he interned on and off for five years. Smith went on to cofound American Testing & Inspection Services, LLC (ATIS) in January 2013 with his brother, Colin, with the vision of a world with no conveyance-related accidents. Prior to that, Smith practiced law, advising clients on entity formation, corporate transactions and labor and employment matters. A graduate of Denniston University majoring in Economics, Smith holds an MBA from Saint Louis University’s (SLU) Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business and a JD from SLU’s School of Law. He also leads Greenleaf Capital Partners, LLC, a firm that invests in businesses such as startups. A resident of St. Louis, Smith is director of the Western Golf Association and enjoys the outdoors. These days, any spare time is spent with his wife, Ashley, and their one-year-old daughter.
Smith’s nominator, Andy Teague, said:
“[Smith] wanted to create America’s premier elevator inspection business by delivering timely and reliable service with integrity and professionalism. Under Smith’s leadership, ATIS has grown to more than 100 certified inspectors and has performed more than 175,000 inspections throughout the U.S. in only five years. Smith’s commitment to providing a superior customer experience is what ATIS continues to build its reputation on.”
- Title: Principal Engineer, Magnetek, Inc.
- Years in Industry: 50
- Based: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Most people in the industry are familiar with Don Vollrath, whether it’s through articles he’s written for ELEVATOR WORLD or presentations he’s given at events. In nominating his colleague for The People Issue, Matt Gergeni noted Vollrath has more than 50 years of industry experience and “more patents than you can count on one hand.” He also played a key role in helping “define the path forward in a business that is always striving to reach new heights.” Vollrath says when he started in the elevator-drives industry, the focus was on developing drives that worked. Today, that has shifted toward designing drives that not only work reliably, but provide the highest levels of safety, comfort and efficiency.
Vollrath started his career with Louis Allis Drives & Systems fresh out of the University of Illinois, where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering. In the early days, his efforts focused on designing innovative drives for industrial applications. The technology and functionality he helped develop would eventually serve as the basis for proprietary drives designed for Otis. Many other customers soon followed as a standard line of drives for elevators was developed. In 1984, the company that is now known as Magnetek was formed.
With no plans of slowing down, Vollrath has remained a steady force in the industry, Gergeni notes, observing:
“As the needs of the industry evolved, so did Vollrath’s professional focus as he transitioned his efforts to developing AC drive controls. . . . Most recently, he has focused much of his effort on developing industry education and training programs such as Magnetek’s Energy Savings Calculator, which helps determine the energy savings that can result from modernization. Don also plays a key role in educating colleagues at Magnetek about the particular operational needs of elevator motor drives, as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.”
- Title: Vice President of Business Development, GAL Manufacturing Corp.
- Years in Industry: 41+
- Based: Atlanta
Doug Witham is the Vice President of Business Development for GAL Manufacturing Corp., where he has worked since January 2000. From his home office in Atlanta, he focuses on customers in the Southeast, conveys his experience and knowledge, and represents GAL at industry events. He has spent his entire career in the elevator industry, beginning with Gregory Elevator, a contracting business in Chicago. In 1977, he moved to Adams Elevator Equipment Co. for 18 years, then Courion Industries for five years.
Witham is a retiree from the ASME A17.1 Emergency Operations, Hoistway and Standards committees, having served for 13 years. He has been an officer with the Chicago Elevator Association; a director and treasurer of the National Association of Elevator Contractors; and a regent for, and chairman of, the Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation.
When asked about the people who most influenced his elevator career, Witham said:
“I had the best start imaginable in going to work with Dick Gregory. He taught me a ton and introduced me to so many who have become great colleagues and friends. And, how do you describe guys like Herbert and Walter Glaser? And, how lucky was I to be invited to join them 18 years ago at GAL? This is their elevator family, and I was fortunate enough to be adopted. In every sense of the word ‘man’ — terms like strength, loyalty, humility, honesty and generosity — Herb and Walt Glaser are the best two men I know.”
Witham was honored with the NAEC President’s Award in 2004 and the NAEC William C. Sturgeon Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and was the Pop/Joe Memorial Invitational Golf Outing honoree in 2016.