Brothers and Sisters:
When I was a helper I would occasionally be sent to work with Ray Bowles at Landmark Office Tower to assist him with two-man maintenance tasks on his 1960’s Otis equipment. One of those days, I was cleaning governors in a secondary when Ray got a call from the building.
“Come on, we’re going to take a look at a problem.” he told me as I gratefully hauled myself out of the hole. We made our way through the building and into one of the machine rooms. The controllers were the Otis UCLs with dozens of relays all picking and dropping in a particular cadence, a whirling pie-plate selector gave visual reference to what the car was doing in direct relation to the large gearless machine and roaring MG unit supplying the muscle to haul the cars and weights up and down the hatch.
After a few minutes of watching the car run, Ray pulled the knife switch, took out an orange peeler and flex, cleaned a contact and put the knife back in. The entire rhythm of the relays changed and Ray looked very pleased. I stopped him and asked “OK, what exactly did you do?” He pulled out a set of prints, turned to a page and began to explain how this one dirty contact affected how the rest of the controller worked. At that point of my career I was not as fluent in relay logic as I am now and only slightly grasped what he told me. Later on I watched Jerry Reitz do the same on the old Haughton controllers at Renaissance and Mark Carollo tune a valve entirely by ear.
These were the guys I wanted to be. The real journey in this trade began.
After getting elected to this position and later to be the correspondent to the Cleveland Citizen, I contacted Jon Henson at NEIEP and volunteered my services to write for Lift Magazine. Since then, I am very proud to say, I have been a part of getting good information into the hands of IUEC members who can use it to be better at their jobs or understand a little bit more about the systems they encounter everyday.
In-between issues of Lift I got bored. When I get bored I get restless and when I get restless I need a project. I was working with Josh Mitchell at Burke Lakefront Airport installing a soft start on a Taylor hydro. Over the years I’ve done dozens of soft starts and knew what to look for on an installation. This time I took my camera and documented the process, wrote captions for each photo, and tied them together in a way that told the story of a soft start installation. I emailed the package to Jon and waited. About two months later I got an email from Lester White and in a couple of hours I was a NEIEP instructor and on the other side of the podium.
Through being an officer and fill-in instructor I’ve come to realize just how many different directions a person can go once they are in the trade. On the inside of this magazine is a list of the officers of the International as well as our associated organizations (NEIEP, CEIEP, EIWPF and Benefits). Each one of them started their career stacking rails, setting machines, pulling generators and miles upon miles of rope. At some point they took an opportunity to become active in their Local and advanced to the positions they hold. My guess is that few of them realized where their career could take them.
This is a trade full of infinite possibilities. Make your journey a good one.
Until next month,
Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.