The World of Elevator Consultants
When I entered the engineering field, I soon became aware of a practice within the elevator industry that, at the time, was primarily offered by the major consulting engineering firms. In addition to designing the mechanical and electrical systems for buildings, practitioners in these companies also developed plans and specifications and provided field observation and inspection services for elevator and escalator systems. The leading companies in this field at the time were Jaros, Baum & Bolles; Meyer, Strong and Jones; Joseph R. Loring and Associates; and Syska and Hennessey Engineers. In addition, individual elevator consultants were entering this field, and the practices of John Miller and Charles Lerch were growing rapidly.
With numerous skyscrapers being developed during the 1960s and 1970s, the need for elevator consultants was growing and ultimately led to the rapid growth of this specialized segment of our industry. The primary function fulfilled by elevator consultants during this era was to assist architects in determining the required number of elevators for their projects, and provide elevator layout drawings and the mechanical and electrical requirements for the elevator and escalator equipment. This was also a time when more and more elevator systems were being upgraded and elevator modernization projects proliferated. By the late 1980s, the practice of elevator consulting was employing more than 100 experts.
The first ELEVATOR WORLD issue that focused on this service was the 1973 Annual Study, The World of Elevator Consultants. This featured the 12 prominent elevator consultants of the time. By 1991, the Elevator World SOURCE© contained more than 150 listings of elevator consultants from around the world. It was clear that by the 1990s, the practice had come into its own, and in 1992, the National Association of Vertical Transportation Professionals was formed. Today, this group (now the International Association of Elevator Consultants [IAEC]) is comprised of nearly 100 well-respected and influential practitioners.
Several companies responded to our call for reports and articles on elevator-consulting topics, and these have been included here. Louis Blaiotta, Sr. takes us on a journey through time, during which he accurately describes the birth of the elevator consulting field and gives credit to its early practitioners. In his retirement from Columbia Elevator Products Co., Blaiotta is now frequently engaged as a consultant to numerous architects and building owners, as well as to elevator companies. His report not only describes the history and growth of the elevator consulting field, but also discusses the often misunderstood concept of “value engineering” a project and the benefit it can bring when properly applied.
An Industry Profile on CNY Elevator Consulting founder Dan Winslow indicates this company has grown to include four partners and a group of companies that provides a full range of specialized elevator consulting services. Winslow describes CNY’s philosophy of how dedicated elevator consultants can truly make a difference with a positive effect on a project. This issue also includes a report from the consulting firm Vertical System Analysis’ staff, describing how they think outside the box and what they feel makes a good elevator consultant. Performing as part of the project management team and acting as if they themselves are elevator and escalator equipment owners has been a key to this company’s members’ success.
Carmen Heath-Marron of Business Analysis and Change Management (BACM) Consultants, Inc. provides another perspective on consulting that has proven to be extremely beneficial to many organizations within our industry. While most of our consultants focus on the design, inspection, maintenance and evaluation of elevator and escalator systems, BACM’s consulting services are extended to elevator contractors in an effort to help them improve the efficiency and profitability of their organizations. Celebrating its 65th year in business, Lerch Bates, Inc. has provided us with a report on the company’s history and growth. Since its founding in 1947, this company has grown under the direction of its founders Charles Lerch and Quentin Bates to become the largest elevator consulting company in the world.
These reports and articles have been provided to give EW readers a good historical background on the elevator consulting profession. Extensive listings of elevator consultants can be found in our SOURCE and eDirectory (elevatorworld.com/directory), and at IAEC’s website (www.iaec.org). It is clear from these company listings that the field of elevator consulting has grown to include hundreds of practitioners throughout the world and that their services, which are very much in demand in our industry, have contributed to its reputation in the building trades for innovation and safety.