Tag Archives for " Association "

Lift Off

A new year can mean a new start, depending on how you view the change in calendar year. For me, the new year is time to review and refresh activities in both our personal and professional lives as needed. And after reviewing the NEII blog series, we decided our blog needed a refreshed identity. POINT/BLANK is now the name of my official blog and for those who know me, it fits me perfectly. I tell it like it is. This approach has served me well throughout my career and during my tenure at NEII, even if it hasn’t always been easy to discuss difficult issues.


For the last 100+ years, NEII’s mission has been to promote a high level of safety for passengers and industry professionals; ensure consistent adoption and enforcement of policies, codes and regulations; maximize choice for building transportation systems; drive innovation and performance; and be the trusted resource for industry information.


And while NEII’s work advanced each part of that mission last year, this blog is focused on how we increased our visibility as the trusted resource for industry information. For example, in our 2023 blog series, we shared an inside look at:


In our monthly Elevator World column, we helped contractors, suppliers, architects, and building owners and managers better understand remote interaction operation and cybersecurity, licensing challenges in the Big Apple as well as why SkillsUSA may be the key to unlocking a more diverse talent pipeline.


And we sat down with a few of the leading building media brands, including FacilitiesNet, to discuss how the latest ASME code will impact building operations professionals while also authoring a guest column on elevators in the commercial real estate industry for the Tampa Bay Business Journal.


Being the authoritative voice of the elevator industry and telling the important stories that need to be told is one part of what we do, but it’s the behind-the-scenes work with governing bodies, AHJs and municipalities, unions, associations and member companies that truly sets NEII apart.

In 2023, our mission was clear:


  • Elevate industry safety
  • Drive workforce diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Engage throughout the code lifecycle

Safe working practices remained our top priority and this focus was integrated into all aspects of NEII’s work, including codes, advocacy, communications and DEI initiatives. This included finalizing the next edition of the Field Employee Safety Handbook that is set to be released in Q1 2025 and partnering with the construction industry on hoistway safety. NEII provided more than two dozen public comments and testimony and advanced safety standards through codes to help drive necessary change in the elevator industry. We also further promoted inclusive PPE resources and awarded more than 100 safety ambassador awards to participants who learned key safety tips as part of NEII’s Elevator and Escalator Safety Challenge.


And we didn’t stop there. NEII facilitated company breakout sessions at Tradewomen Build Nations, introduced thousands of trades-focused students to the elevator industry through our joint exhibition with the National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) at SkillsUSA Techspo, and once again served as a key industry partner for Construction Inclusion Week.


I’m proud of the impact and progress we made in 2023 but see even bigger things ahead this year as we continue pushing AHJs to eliminate outdated codes and deviations, shift the talent-pipeline development focus while transitioning recruitment outreach to diverse communities, as well as target high-risk areas to drive improvement in safety.


If you have any questions you’d like answered in a future blog, please email info@neii.org.

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-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

DEI Hard

Working to advance DEI efforts within the building transportation industry


By Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.

According to a recent article on CNBC, for the first time since 2017, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) progress in the workplace stalled in 2022. I am happy to report that for the elevator industry, however, 2022 was a year of DEI promise.


DEI has been a NEII priority for several years. It was clear that diversity within the building trades needed to improve and that progress could be made to ensure that all workers are treated fairly and feel like they belong. But where to start? And where could NEII add the most value to help move industry DEI efforts forward? We had a lot of ideas, but we also had a lot to learn.


As we worked to gather information, formulate a strategy, and build a foundation, NEII focused its early efforts on increasing awareness about our industry and supplementing the promotion of open recruitments. We developed a flier in partnership with the National Elevator Industry Education Program (NEIEP), the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund (EIWPF) to help drive interested parties to NEIEP’s website where they could learn more about working in the building transportation industry and how to apply. NEII has been reaching out to organizations representing diverse populations within close geographical location to one of the industry’s open recruitments since 2020, but it was during 2022 that emailed the 100th organization, and we didn’t stop there.


2022 was a year where we saw advancements on other industry DEI efforts as well. Here are a few highlights:

  • NEII had learned that many women in the field – and even some men – were provided personal protective equipment (PPE) that did not fit their body size or shape. After confirming that all NEII’s Board member companies were offering inclusive PPE, we issued an industry challenge in August 2022 as NEII’s first public DEI initiative. The PPE Challenge encourages all vertical transportation companies to provide size- and gender-inclusive equipment and uniforms so all technicians can be safe and comfortable while working in the field.
  • In October, NEII and its member companies participated in Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) – an initiative meant to build awareness of the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry by providing content and resources and fostering conversations that create alignment in the industry. NEII had amplified CIW messaging previously but developed industry-specific tools, coordinated a social media initiative and supported other industry engagement in 2022.
  • NEII also attended the 2022 Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference (TWBN) in late October. This annual event brings together women from all the building trades. NEII’s team was able to attend valuable education sessions and meet female technicians from across the U.S. and Canada, many of whom shared candidly about their experiences on jobsites at all levels of their careers. NEII’s participation at TWBN also helped us convey the support of NEII’s member companies to DEI and this event, as well as develop relationships with industry partners.
  • NEII attended the SkillsUSA 2022 Leadership & Skills Conference and began discussions about a potential partnership with the organization. SkillsUSA is national organization with chapters in every state and more than 300,000 student participants nationwide – a majority of whom are from underrepresented populations. It provides a network to increase awareness about working in the building transportation industry and a pipeline of young people already interested in working in the trades.

In my recent article in Elevator World, I shared why DEI should be a priority for all elevator companies, including the extensive benefits you get from having a diverse workforce. I included a simple three-step process elevator companies can follow to get started incorporating DEI into their culture, and suggested partner organizations that can help elevator companies develop a diverse pipeline of talent.


Since joining NEII in 2010, I have learned many things, perhaps none more important than this: the building transportation industry is special. And the heart of this industry is the people. We now need to make sure that all people have the opportunity to join this amazing industry, are welcomed and treated fairly. I am proud of the strides made in recent years, but there is still a lot of real work that needs to be done.


So what does the future hold for DEI in the elevator industry? NEII will continue to build on the work we’ve done so far and the real promise that began to emerge in 2022 on the efforts I’ve discussed today and others. What will you do – provide inclusive PPE? Promote the industry and open recruitments to a broader universe? Help a new worker feel welcome on the jobsite? Or will you identify something different and reach out to NEII to partner with you? I look forward to hearing from you on how we can advance DEI in our industry.

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 Company 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.

Girl Power

From the halls of our nation's capital to the elevator industry, how I went from surviving to thriving in a male-dominated world.


By Amy J. Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.


When most children grow up, they want to be like their parents. That was certainly the case for my sisters, who went on to become a teacher and architect like my mom and dad. But not me. I wanted to be like… my neighbor. She was a judge and had been one of only a few women in her law school class. She was also politically connected and was an advocate for various issues. She helped me land my first job in D.C. with Senator Bob Dole and continued to be a sounding board throughout my career (and life).


While living my best D.C. policy life, I worked with another great woman who taught me about the importance of women supporting women. In particular, she stressed how critical it was for more experienced women to help younger women set their professional pathway. And that’s exactly what she did for me. She took me under her wing and was there through thick and thin when I was learning the slippery ropes of D.C. politics.

My DC mentor gave me three pieces of advice that I follow to this day:

  • Are you asking someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself?
  • Would you be proud enough to tell your mom/dad/family?
  • Would your actions cause you to be brought before a Senate oversight committee?

Beyond her inspirational words, I also admired her inspirational actions. She did not back down when her male counterparts tried to silence or dismiss her input. On the contrary, she stood even taller and spoke with confident authority, something I worked hard to emulate – even when I was incredibly intimidated. But following her lead served me well when I worked for the George H.W. Bush administration and was the point person for the federal government’s efforts related to capping and controlling the Kuwait oil fires. I was 25 years old managing a group of “roughneck” oil men, but it was there where I learned to find my voice.


As I transitioned to working with home builders, the metal casting industry, the Kansas business community and now the elevator industry, I noticed one characteristic that all four of these industries have in common: very few women in the top leadership positions. With each new position and additional responsibilities, I would often get a lot of unsolicited advice about how a professional woman should act, typically from men. While some women may have been offended, I wasn’t. I took the input and factored it into my professional development without letting their words shake my confidence. And in many ways, all of that guidance that I think was often intended to change my manner actually strengthened my resolve about staying true to myself.


And today, on International Women’s Day, it’s now my turn to serve as mentor and impart some sage advice. It is more important than ever for women of the world to lift each other up and help one another overcome obstacles that arise in the pathway toward our goals. Find your voice and do not let anyone shake your confidence. Be relentless in your pursuit of your dreams. And remember that you do not have to climb to the top of the corporate ladder to make a difference; sometimes it is the small things that can help the most. But most importantly, never give up. Fight for those things that are important to you, in all aspects of your life.


We have come a long way, but we have also just begun. Let me know how I can help. 

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


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

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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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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

Global Technical Barrier-Free Trade Agreement

Recently, the agreement of the World Elevator Federation to maintain a Global Technical Barrier-Free Trade Agreement (GTBFT) was updated to include the signature of the National Lift Union of Russia. In this agreement, which NEII has signed as well, global leaders in the industry formally committed to a common line of actions to achieve Global Technical Barrier-Free Trade in the framework as defined by the World Trade Organization for the benefit of consumers, the industry and ensuring sustainable development.

 

The objective of the agreement is to promote and improve safety, facilitate technological innovation and the free movement of goods worldwide. Worldwide acceptance of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) prescriptive standards is also a part of the agreement that will lead to a simple and efficient global approach for building transportation equipment that can be used by all manufacturers and installers.

 

Click here to view the signed agreement.