All Posts by Nicole Van Velzen

Innovating Safety: Elevators See Major Technology Advances in Wake of Disasters

[Originally published in Building Operating Management; May 15, 2019]


Every time we turn on the news we see the devastation caused by natural disasters, whether it is an earthquake, blizzard, hurricane, or other extreme weather event. Sometimes, building managers will know far in advance that a threat is heading their way; but other times, as was the case in the recent tornado that hit parts of Alabama and Georgia, ten minutes is all the warning they received.


In either case, preparation, training and practice can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. Is your facility prepared?

As our cities grow, so too have our buildings. Today, billions of people use elevators daily and by 2050, the number is expected to triple as population booms in urban centers. Technological and engineering advances have led to the construction of larger and taller buildings to meet the world’s growing need. Even in the best of times, it can be difficult to effectively transport building occupants. And if a disaster strikes – natural or otherwise – occupants will be unable to evacuate if the building and the building manager are not well prepared.


It will continue to be increasingly important for building managers to recognize the role elevators can play in the safe evacuation of building occupants. Preventive maintenance to keep elevators up to code, combined with a responsible egress plan and clear communication, will save lives in an extreme event.


Building Codes Continuously Support Innovation for Safety

Building managers are very familiar with building codes developed by the International Code Council (ICC), such as the International Building Code (IBC), but may not be as familiar with the codes for elevator and escalator safety developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). ASME A17.1/CSA B44 is the primary code in place for new product elevator/escalator designs and installation. It is used widely throughout North America and undergoes updates every three years by a panel of experienced experts with representation across various aspects of the elevator industry. While building owners are not responsible for enforcing these codes – the authority having jurisdiction oversees that – they still must comply with the elevator safety codes enforced in their area.


One of the key stakeholders in this process is the National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the national trade association of the building transportation industry. NEII’s primary mission is to drive the adoption of model codes and responsible policies across North America, promote safety for passengers and industry professionals, and advance innovation and performance. NEII supports and advocates for codes in several ways, including actively participating on code development committees, like the ASME, ICC and NFPA, to ensure the harmonization and consistency between the building codes and building transportation codes. This is particularly important for issues such as seismic safety that are addressed in both the building and elevator codes.


 New Requirements for Emergencies of All Types

Over the past several years, the codes have evolved to better address how elevators function during disasters.  While seismic requirements and Firefighters’ Emergency Operation (FEO) have been part of the code for many years, these requirements are continuously reviewed and updated as needed. In addition, new requirements have been added, or are being developed, to provide for occupant egress in emergencies and for operation during extreme weather events.  For example, ASME A17.1 now addresses Occupant Evacuation Operation (OEO) technology, flood detection technologies, and back-up power systems, to name a few.


Occupant Evacuation Operations

Unfortunately, it often takes a true tragedy to inspire innovation. In the aftermath of 9/11, it was obvious that more lives could have been saved if occupant egress was more efficient and elevators were part of the solution. Many building code changes have been prompted by lessons learned from that tragedy, including some hardening of the buildings and widening of stairwells. The reality is you cannot build a building that can withstand any possible threat. But what if you could safely use the elevator to evacuate people efficiently? That is where OEO comes in. This technology enables passengers to simply walk to the floor lobby, catch the designated elevator to a safer floor and from there make an efficient exit, freeing up the elevator for other occupants to use.


The idea is not to evacuate every occupant via the elevator, but to have more options for the occupants of the floor(s) of a building most at risk. This important game-changing innovation is already being used. At 181 Fremont in San Francisco, 14 of 17 elevators have been equipped with this technology by NEII member ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation. Many other market leaders utilize similar technologies and buildings are currently being constructed with OEO capabilities to maximize safety.


Advances in building design and elevator technology and changes to the codes help ensure that elevators can continue to operate in fire emergencies, provided the elevators are not exposed to the fire hazard. These changes include provisions to protect against the intrusion of smoke, fire and water into the hoistway, as well as providing for emergency power to the elevators.  The building codes require protected elevator lobbies in which real-time messaging displays provide information, such as availability and estimated time of the elevator car arrival, which the occupants can use to determine their best means of evacuation.


Elevator users in North America are familiar with signs posted in all elevator lobbies warning the public not to use elevators in case of a fire. Those signs had been mandated by the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Codes for Elevators and Escalators for years. With new technologies and safety codes that support new innovations, property managers will need to reeducate their tenants that elevators may be safe to use in some emergencies, once this technology becomes more prevalent.


Firefighters’ Emergency Operation

Elevators have long been required to include features in case of fire emergencies. Firefighters’ Emergency Operation (FEO) is required on all new passenger elevators. FEO Phase I is automatically activated by the fire alarm initiating devices to cause an elevator to travel to a designated landing where people can egress from the building.  Once the car has traveled to the designated level on Phase I and the passengers have exited, the elevator is only available to firefighters. FEO Phase II allows the firefighters to use the car to move equipment or people to aid in fighting the fire or evacuating the building.  


Flood Detection Technology

In response to flooding emergencies, such as Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and Harvey in Houston, there are also enhancements for operation of elevators in flood zones.  ASME and IBC reference ASCE24 which has performance-based language that prohibits elevators from descending into floodwaters. One of the ASME working groups in currently developing a proposal to add more prescriptive requirements to the code. Care must be taken to ensure that any new provisions work effectively with the other systems currently in place (such as FEO, OEO and seismic operation).  


In addition, standby or emergency power systems are important safety features, which allow the elevators to be used for evacuation or to fight the fire. Standby power also ensures that the communication systems in the elevators remain operational.


Most new innovations included in the safety code only apply to new elevators being installed and only when the authority having jurisdiction adopts an updated version of the code.  Elevators typically last 25-30 years before they are updated and some may be older than that.  Unless the local authority requires upgrading older elevators to add these new safety features, they may not be present on the elevators in any given building. 

While the innovation of elevator manufacturers and the development of strong safety codes have been tremendously impactful in improving the safety of elevators in emergencies, there is still much that facility managers must do. The building manager should be familiar with the specifications of the building transportation systems and keep in mind the new safety features available when it is time to upgrade the equipment. The manager should develop an emergency plan for the building, including how the elevators might be used in an emergency, and then provide training for building occupants. 


Knowing how to respond in an emergency and how to best keep your tenants safe must be planned in advance. Have you educated your tenants on what they should or should not do in various emergency scenarios, whether caused by an extreme weather event or perhaps an active shooter or act of terrorism? Have you practiced it with your tenants and first responders? Getting occupants safely out of a building in an emergency relies not only on technology, but also careful planning, training and calm leadership.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

NEII Partners with Construction Inclusion Week

NATIONAL ELEVATOR INDUSTRY, INC. PARTNERS WITH CONSTRUCTION INCLUSION WEEK


In 2022, as a part of our efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion within the building transportation industry, NEII has officially partnered with the organizations who created Construction Inclusion Week. The event will be held October 17-21. 2022. 


We are sharing a lot of messaging about inclusion on NEII's social media channels. Please follow us at Twitter and LinkedIn


We will also post more resources here as we get closer to the event. In the meantime, if you're interested in also partnering with Construction Inclusion Week, it's easy to sign up, and you can do so here: constructioninclusionweek.com. 



About Construction Inclusion Week

Construction Inclusion Week is the first effort to harness the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The objective is to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources.

We recognize and understand that each of our firms may be at different places in our diversity, equity, and inclusion journeys. The intent is that Construction Inclusion Week fosters conversations that create alignment and take us further on this journey for our people and industry partners. If we genuinely want to attract, retain, and develop the best talent for our industry and maximize the diversity of our suppliers, we must grow our industry’s culture to be truly inclusive.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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NEII Announces 2022 Board of Directors

TOPEKA, KS. (July 5, 2022)

NATIONAL ELEVATOR INDUSTRY, INC. ANNOUNCES 2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS


The Board of Directors will lead the National Elevator Industry, Inc.'s (NEII) mission as the organization continues to represent the global leaders in the building transportation industry through advocacy and code development.


NEII, the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced the election of its Board of Directors and officers. The leadership team will serve a one-year term. The elected officers of the Board of Directors include:


  • Erik Zommers, President – Zommers is Senior Vice President/General Manager of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.'s Elevator and Escalator Division. He has been with Mitsubishi Electric since 1989 and oversees all U.S. operations for the division.
  • Kevin Lavallee, Vice President - Lavallee serves as the President and CEO of TK Elevator North America and global COO Field at TK Elevator where he has a history of over 30 years in both the U.S. and Canada with the company.
  • Jared Radabaugh, Treasurer - Radabaugh is the Global BU Controller at Prysmian Group, where he provides financial, analytical, and decision-making support to the Elevator Escalator business units.
  • Amy Blankenbiller, Secretary – Blankenbiller is the Executive Director of NEII and leads the staff team to drive the industry's objectives. She brings over 30 years of experience in public relations, government affairs and policy development to her role.

In addition to the officers, returning members of the NEII Board of Directors include:


  • Paul Bloom, Schindler Elevator Corporation – Bloom is the Chief Operating Officer and Interim Chief Executive Officer at Schindler Elevator Corporation, who brings 29 years of ground-up elevator experience to his role.
  • Jim Cramer, Otis Worldwide Corp. - Cramer has been with Otis for over 35 years and is currently the President of the Otis Americas region.
  • Gary Krupp, Fujitec America, Inc. – Krupp organizes and oversees the management of operations, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing and service across the United States and Canada as the President of Fujitec America, Inc. Mr. Krupp has over 35 years in the elevator industry and began his career with Fujitec in 1996.
  • Richard Parvesse, Draka EHC – Parvesse was appointed President of the Prysmian Group’s Elevator and Escalator Business Unit, Draka EHC in April 2022. Parvesse has been with the Prysmian Group since 2001.
  • Ken Schmid, KONE Americas - Schmid leads KONE Americas as Executive Vice President, also serving as a member of KONE's Executive Board. He has been with KONE in a series of successive leadership roles for over 36 years.

The NEII Board of Directors sets the strategic direction of the association to drive its mission to advance safety and innovation in the building transportation industry throughout North America.


“As the new president of the NEII Board of Directors, I look forward to continuing the work we have started to set some ambitious long-term goals to advance the industry and NEII as an organization," said Erik Zommers, President of NEII. “I have been incredibly involved in NEII for a long time and led its transition to a full-fledged trade association seven years ago. I am honored to continue to serve with this group of recognized leaders as we work to promote safety, drive innovation, and work towards a more inclusive labor force.”


Download Complete Media Release

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

Mental Health Awareness Resources

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), construction has one of the highest suicide rates of any industry, with suicide deaths five times greater than all other construction deaths combined. Mental health in the construction industry is an invisible health hazard that the building transportation industry takes very seriously. 


Long hours, physically demanding work and high stress in the industry are among the reasons there are higher suicide rates and mental health concerns in the construction industry.


Resources:

Center for Construction Research and Training Suicide Prevention Resources

Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Suicide Prevention Workplace Tools

OSHA: Preventing Suicides

Podcast: Suicide Prevention Awareness for Construction

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Elevators in Emergency Occupant Evacuation

Any regular elevator user in North America is likely to be familiar with a particular sign posted in all elevator

lobbies warning the public not to use elevators in case of a fire. These ubiquitous signs are mandated by the

ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, the International Code Council’s

International Building Code used in most of the United States, the National Building Code of Canada, and

through numerous local codes and ordinances. These signs have done their job well—rarely does one see

building occupants jamming the “down” button in elevator lobbies while a fire alarm blares throughout a

building.


The reasons behind prohibiting the use of elevators in a fire were based on historical concerns that have

become modern anachronisms in new buildings. Due to today’s advances in building design and elevator

technology, working elevators don’t become inoperable in fire situations, trapping passengers as the

environment becomes untenable. There isn’t necessarily a serious loss of power to the building or a shutdown

of the elevator system due to intrusion of water into the elevator shafts, capturing passengers engulfed by

smoke or fire.


Ironically, there have been instances that predate our modern building and safety codes in which elevators

have saved countless lives in fatal fire conditions. For example, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in

Manhattan was New York City’s deadliest industrial fire. One hundred forty-six garment workers died from

fire, smoke inhalation or falling or jumping to their deaths from the 10-story windows. During the disaster,

two elevator operators who could assess the conditions of the conflagration chose to stay at their jobs, making

trips to the eighth and tenth floors to carry an estimated 150 workers to safety —approximately half the

number of survivors.


By mid-century, elevator operators were giving way to automatic operation by elevator passengers, directing

their desired destination but lacking any knowledge of whether an elevator was safe in a fire situation. In the

1970s, a number of fatalities occurred in high-rise building fires where people were trapped in smoke-filled

hoistways or taken to a floor where a fire was active.


The Elevator Safety Code responded to this hazard by introducing Phase I firefighter service as a requirement

for new elevators in the late 1970s. This service automatically returns elevators to a main floor and placed out

of service when smoke is detected in an elevator hoistway, lobby or machine room.


In the 1980s, views on using elevators to evacuate building occupants in emergency

situations began to evolve. As accessibility for persons with disabilities became a social goal

– and eventually a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – policy

makers called for changes to provide evacuation for everyone. For persons using wheelchairs

or those with a limited capacity to use exit stairs, elevators are really the only viable option

in emergency circumstances. Still, using elevators to evacuate non-disabled building

occupants in building fires remained an idea outside of the norm.


All of this changed on September 11, 2001 with the attack on the World Trade Center. Nearly 3,000 died as

the Twin Towers collapsed, with desperate office workers leaping to their death from some 90 stories in the

sky. Many have theorized that had the building elevators remained operational as a means to evacuate the

upper stories of the buildings, more lives could have been saved. In fact, in the 18 minutes after the North

Tower was struck, hundreds of workers chose to evacuate the South Tower and reach safety on the ground

floor by using the building’s elevators.


In 2002, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) began to study the evacuation issues

related to the attack in its World Trade Center Disaster Study. Shortly after, the model code groups held a

“Workshop on the Use of Elevators in Fires and Other Emergencies” in March 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia. The

workshop was co-sponsored by American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), National Institute of

Standards and Technology (NIST), International Code Council (ICC), National Fire Protection Association

(NFPA), U.S. Access Board, and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). As a result, the ASME

A17 Elevator Standards Committee established a Task Group on the use of elevators for occupant evacuation.

Within nine years the NFPA and ICC building codes and the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Elevator Code, in

conjunction with requirements in the fire alarm code, etc. all had new provisions. These permitted extremely

high-rise buildings to use elevator systems to safely remove building occupants from the upper stories of a

building during fire. In fact, the International Building Code has incentives for installing these types of

elevators where a building exceeds 420 feet in height.


Professionals now recognize that properly designed buildings with occupant evacuation elevators can provide

the safest and quickest way to get people to safety in fires and other emergency conditions. These specially

designed buildings protect elevator lobbies, hoistways and machine rooms from the intrusion of fire, smoke

and water. Requirements for compartmentalization, fire-resistive construction, and sprinkler protection make

buildings safer and provide additional safeguards for persons who cannot use exit stairs to evacuate a fire

floor or building. With extremely high-rise construction in particular, using elevators versus the exit stairs can

shave hours off of the time it takes for building occupants to move from close proximity to a fire to the safety

of the outdoors.


Just as elevator technology has come a long way since the “Do Not Ride” days, standard fire safety

precautions have as well. Most high-rise buildings now have codes that require designated floor wardens and

searchers to assist in the efficient evacuation of fellow occupants. Monthly fire drills and equipment checks

are also commonplace.


As the Chicago condominium fire fatality just two short years ago reminds us, we still have work to do.

However, once the technology, building codes, and education all fall into place, the public will start noticing a

new crop of signs popping up in the lobbies of high-rise and extremely high-rise buildings. “In case of fire,

elevators are out of service” will slowly be replaced by “Elevators are available for evacuation.”



Originally published in the NEII Insider, March 17, 2015

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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NEII Announces New Staff

TOPEKA, KS. (APRIL 14, 2022)

The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced three new hires with government affairs and safety expertise to expand its influence in the regulatory and legislative arenas. The new members of NEII’s team include:

Trent Behr, Director of Safety – Prior to joining NEII, Trent served as a project manager for Global Power Technologies, where he led teams and managed the electrical power monitoring system of mission-critical buildings including the Google Southlands Data Center. In addition, Trent has experience in overseeing inspections to assess for code compliance and in industrial hygiene and safety engineering. He has bachelor degrees in political science and psychology and is currently working towards a Master of Public Administration. Read Trent’s complete bio here.

Savannah Clarkston, Assistant Director of Government Affairs – Savannah brings experience in public policy analysis, research project management, and consensus building to her new position at NEII. She earned a Master of Public Policy and has worked to unite stakeholders regardless of political affiliation to implement policy-based solutions to improve lives in her prior positions. Read Savannah’s complete bio here.


Billy J. Taylor, Director of Government Affairs – Before Billy joined the NEII team, he served in various roles in the public and private sectors in developing advocacy and media strategies to influence public policy. With over 18 years of experience in government affairs and communications, he previously served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Council of Producers and Distributors of Agrotechnology, where he represented more than 70 companies on Capitol Hill. Read Billy’s complete bio here.


“As we continue to set higher and more strategic goals, I am excited to announce an expansion of NEII’s team to meet the challenges ahead," said Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director of NEII. “Trent, Savannah and Billy are joining our hard-working and effective team, and I am looking forward to seeing the achievements this staff can make on behalf of the building transportation industry.”


Download this release here.


About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

OSHA Focus Four Campaign Resources

Each year, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) presents a four month campaign to raise awareness and education on the top four safety hazards in the construction industry. NEII is gathering the resources we have received from OSHA Region 3 to provide a single place to find a wealth of information on electrical, struck-by, fall and caught-in/between hazards. In 2020, the focus four hazards were responsible for 57% of construction worker deaths.


Eliminating these four hazards would save 574 lives each year. Click here for the statistics.


Start here for tips for conducting a successful toolbox talk

struck-by hazards


Electrical hazards


other Toolbox Talks



About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII's membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Construction Inclusion Week 2021

October 18-22, 2021 marks the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week to identify ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in construction. NEII is proud to support the efforts. Below are resources to support Construction Inclusion Week and any other efforts to increase DEI. 

Daily webinars held at 12pm ET throughout Construction Inclusion Week are available here

Toolbox Talks are available here

Learn more about Construction Inclusion Week here.  


DEI and Community Service Resources



About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator  and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org

NEII Announces 2021 Board of Directors

TOPEKA, KS. (AUGUST 2, 2021)

NATIONAL ELEVATOR INDUSTRY, INC. Announces 2021 Board of Directors


The Board of Directors will lead the NEII mission as the organization continues to represent the global leaders in the building transportation industry through advocacy and code development.


The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced the election of its Board of Directors and officers. The leadership team will serve a one-year term. The elected officers of the Board of Directors include:


  • Greg Ergenbright, President – Ergenbright has been President of Schindler Elevator Corporation’s U.S. operations since 2013. He has 25 years’ experience in the elevator industry.
  • Erik Zommers, Vice President - Zommers is senior Vice President/General Manager of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.'s Elevator and Escalator Division. He has been with Mitsubishi Electric since 1989 and is in charge of all US operations for the division.
  • Jared Radabaugh, Treasurer - Radabaugh is the Global BU Controller at Prysmian Group, where he provides financial, analytical, and decision-making support to the Elevator Escalator business units.
  • Amy Blankenbiller, Secretary – Blankenbiller is the Executive Director of NEII and leads the staff team to drive the industry's objectives. She brings over 30 years of experience in public relations, government affairs and policy development to her role.

In addition to the officers, returning members of the NEII Board of Directors include:


  • James Cramer, Otis Elevator Company – Cramer has been with Otis Elevator Company for over 35 years and is currently the President of Otis Americas.
  • Gary Krupp, Fujitec America, Inc. - Krupp organizes and oversees the management of operations, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing and service across the United States and Canada as the President of Fujitec America, Inc. Mr. Krupp has over 25 years in the elevator industry and began his career with Fujitec in 2002.
  • Kevin Lavallee, TK Elevator - Lavallee serves as the President and CEO of TK Elevator North America and global COO Field at TK Elevator where he has a history of over 30 years in both the U.S. and Canada with the company.
  • Sterrett Lloyd, Draka EHC – Lloyd currently holds the position of President at Draka EHC where he directs the company's worldwide operations. He began his lifetime of industry service as a contractor and is the third generation of his family to work in the industry.
  • Ken Schmid, KONE Americas - Schmid leads KONE Americas as Executive Vice President, also serving as a member of KONE's Executive Board. He has been with KONE in a series of successive leadership roles for 35 years.

The NEII Board of Directors sets the strategic direction of the association to drive its mission to advance safety and innovation in the building transportation industry throughout North America.


“As president of the NEII Board of Directors, I will work with my colleagues to build on our association’s successes and continue moving our industry goals forward," said Greg Ergenbright, President of NEII. “I'm honored to serve with this group of recognized leaders in the building transportation industry as we  promote safety, drive innovation, and work towards a more inclusive labor force.”


Download the Media Release

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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NEII CodeFinder Tutorial

Watch our brief tutorial video on accessing and using NEII's CodeFinder database. 


About US

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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