July ’14 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

By the time you read this I will be involved in another cycling adventure. In 2009, I took to the road and found myself after four days with a swollen knee and strained patellar tendon headed back to Elyria from Buffalo, New York on the Lakeshore Limited. In 2012 I battled headwinds, boredom and pure exhaustion on my way to South Bend, Indiana and relaxed on the Capitol Limited all the way home.

I learned a lot on those two trips. On my way to Buffalo I learned about appreciating the freedom of the road, don’t believe everything you see, how we overcome adversity defines us as individuals and there can be accomplishment in failure. South Bend served up lessons in living in the moment, expecting the unexpected and being open to the kindness of strangers.

Part of the reason I take these trips is as a challenge to reach a goal or destination. Another reason is it gives me personal time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. There is a beauty to the solitude of a bike ride and those I meet along the way add to my understanding of the human experience. When I return, it is with a deeper appreciation for the company of my family, friends and the others with whom I share my daily journey.

On May 16th, Local 17 had its Retiree’s Dinner at Frank Sterle’s Slovenian House Restaurant. I truly enjoy this event because it bridges the past (retirees) with the present (members in the middle of their careers) and the future (our first and second year apprentices). Every year I look around and see fewer and fewer faces of the older retirees and younger faces joining their ranks. Some are not there because of illness, others because they can’t make it on their own and others because they’re not with us anymore.

These are the men that we look to as examples of good Elevator Men and good Union Men. I know I will feel sad when it is my time to get a free dinner and some of the faces I look at as peers will no longer be there to share the meal. This is the inevitable passing of the torch from one generation to the next.

Of all the paths I could have chosen, of all the lives I could have led, I cannot think of one that gives me greater joy. My experiences with the IUEC, Local 17, my close family and those few I call friend are the reason I stick around to see how this whole life thing turns out.

Where are they working?

Scott Hicks and Taurus Ogletree at Bass Temple installing a two-stop hydro for Schindler,

Joe Chaykosky and Greg Miller doing service work at the West side Market for Maximum,

Gary Thompson, Jim Archer, Tom Peska and Ryan Todd working the mod at the East Ohio Gass Building for Schindler,

Denny Dixon and Brendan Hyland doing a valve replacement in Alliance for Kone,

Dave Hess and Dave Adrian doing a mod at Westin for Thyssen,

John Patton and Tom Gombar doing a jack at Presidential Apartments for Kone,

Jim Thompson and Jeff Ward doing a mod at South Point Hospital for Otis,
Bob Myer and Paul Scheutzow doing a three-car mod at 75 Erieview for Kone,

Kevin Gallagher is doing escalator repair work at the airport for Kone.

As of this writing there are four mechanics out of work.

Till next month…
Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

Don
DKnapik@windstream.net