August ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

I have been fortunate to have worked with three Local 17 Brothers who, over the last three months, joined the ranks of our retired Brothers. Each in their own way played a significant part in my career and I owe them a debt of gratitude. If it was not for these and the others who took the time to teach me some of the finer points of the trade, I do not know where I would be today.

According to NEIEP, the average apprentice spends only five percent of their time in classroom related activities. This means that the remaining 95 percent is spent with their mechanic in the field learning the trade from the ground up. By all measure, our jobs are not getting easier. Recabling underslung cars, replacing MRL machines and their associated sheaves regardless of whether they are belted or cabled, working on controllers on the buck and drives in the overhead all call for a certain skill set we are only developing now.

This does not mean that the skills seasoned mechanics have acquired over the years are obsolete. Skills are being applied in new ways to meet the demands of todays equipment. I was recently working on a cable job and the lead mechanic took the time to explain to the apprentice why we picked the car as high as we did, why we needed holdbacks and how to measure for wedged shackles. These are all finer points of the job he will carry forward during his career.

If you as a mechanic are not teaching your apprentice something everyday, then you are failing them. You will leave them dumber and less capable of handling the challenges they will later face. You are also making it harder for them to continue working to pay the pension hours needed to sustain you in retirement.

Not every apprentice takes the initiative to learn something new or is even capable of retaining what they experience. Point taken. Selling every apprentice short today, though, only cuts you short tomorrow.

Think about it.

If you know someone who is looking to get in the best trade in the trades, the apprenticeship application for Local 17 will be closing soon. To apply go to the NEIEP website,, cursor down to Upcoming Recruitments and click on the link for Local 17. Please realize that each applicant must meet every deadline in order to be considered for a spot on the list. Good luck!

Where are they working?

Kevin Driscoll and Jason Tischler at Kresswell Apartments doing water damage repair for Schindler,

Gary Thompson, Brian Siether, Ryan Todd and Zack Lanum doing a four-car mod at CSU Rhodes Tower for Schindler,

John Patton and Joe Gauker doing escalator clean downs at JC Penney’s in Parma for Kone,

John Patton and Joe Gauker doing escalator clean downs at Midway Mall in Elyria for Kone,

Tom Gombar and Tim Moore doing a jack at Rockside Park Towers for Kone,

Mark Byram and Felix DeJesus doing a one-car mod at Playhouse Square for Schindler,

Joe Gauker running a car at the Cleveland Athletic Club for Kone,

Scott Villanueva and Zach Miller at Fairview Hospital doing door work for Otis,

Anthony Metcalf and Tony Kuhn starting a one-car mod at Shaker Courts Apartments for Thyssen,

Dan Tinner and Shane Huff starting a two-car mod at Bridlewood Apartments in Westlake for Otis,

Ric Supinski on a 13 car construction job in Marquette, Michigan for Otis.
As of this writing there are three mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.

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