January ’18 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

2017 is over.

Some will shout thank God and others will be sorry to see it go. For me, I feel a little bit of both. Starting in December of 2015 my mother’s health declined to the point where she was no longer capable of living at home and is now at a nursing home. My younger sister and her husband cleaned out the house, prepped it for sale and as a result I wound up with a small room full of artifacts to wade through and dispose of.

This has given me a new perspective on value. As I dug through the assembled debris of my mother’s life, memories called from the bottom of the boxes: a metal lunch box, a blue plastic lard bucket filled with toy cars, a Pony League Championship trophy, a hand-made long drive champion award, a pole vaulting Smurf, photos, photos and more photos spoke to moments from my past that aided in making me who I am today.

When my older sister Carol passed away, I was blessed with a true family heirloom: a clock brought over by my great grandfather from Poland as the family fled the onslaught of the Russian army in the 1890’s. The unique part of the story is that he had to cut off the top in order to fit it in the steamer trunk. One of the few links from the old world to the new. It still keeps perfect time.

When I look at the assemblage of items I coveted for years: my mother’s desk, my father’s retirement clock, my grandmother’s chair and my grandfather’s bronzes I reflect on their journey through time. These are the artifacts of my heritage and I will pass them to my children along with… what? More things?

I remind myself that this is just stuff. Stuff does not define me. I define me. I am happiest when I am pedaling my bicycle on an adventure and all I have in the world is what I am carrying in the panniers, meeting people and creating memories. This is all I really need.

My challenge is to let go of what holds me back, be it physical objects or emotional chains. The emotional chains? Well, that is a story for another time.

To all my Brothers and Sisters in the IUEC family; Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and work safe.

The January 12, 2018 union meeting is a mandatory meeting for the installation of officers. You must call the hall prior to the meeting in order to be excused and avoid a fine.

Where are they working?

Joe Broz, Jr. and Andrew Daniels at Tower in the Park doing a mod for Thyssen,

Tom Gombar and Tom Goggin installing battery units at Philips Medical for Kone,

Brendan Hyland and Jeff Lindell installing two cars at Vanguard for Kone,

Heath Kramer and Jon McCuan installing a pump unit at Mount St. Herman for Kone,

Drew Williams, Bill Sellers, Mack Carollo and Ed Gimmel doing a two car mod at Severance Urgent Care for Thyssen,

Bob Brady and Cory Huhn replacing light fixtures at the Cleveland Clinic for Otis,

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

Joe Simcic and Morgan Armstrong installing two cars at CSU for Otis,

Craig Nolty and Dan Koprowski installing a car at Explorist for Otis,

Al Ward and Pat Pollack installing three cars at 1 University Circle for Otis.


As of this writing there are two mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



December ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Before the hustle and bustle of Holiday preparations takes over your thoughts, please take some time to reflect on people and events that have impacted your life. It could be a happy event like a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild or a challenge like dealing with the death of a loved one or the aftermath of a natural disaster. Each one of these events mold each of us from who we were to who we are, our thoughts, attitudes and perspectives changing imperceptibly from event to event.

Ask yourself: “Am I happy with what I’ve become?” Regardless of how you honestly answer the question, use it as a vehicle for change to plot a course for your upcoming year.

Your future self will thank you.

When was the last time you trammed a motor? Years? When you were the helper to the guy that did all the bull work? Do you remember what tools you need? How about tolerances? Are you sure your mechanic knew what he was doing? NEIEP is offering a course in the art of motor tramming. Yes, it is an art and a deep skill to properly align a motor and worm gear shaft so there are no excessive side forces providing the smoothest possible ride and the longest machine life. If you are interested in relearning this important skill, learning it for the first time or refreshing your knowledge, call Business Manager Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org for more information.

At the October meeting Tim read several letters from the International about funds set up for those Brothers and Sisters living in areas devastated by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. The area most severely hit and still devastated by the aftermath is the island of Puerto Rico. The nightly news carries story after story about how these brave Americans weathered the storm and the slow response of those on the mainland to their plight. The International has set up a fund specifically for our Brothers and Sisters of the Los Gladiadores. According to IUEC Regional Director Rusty Gilbert, most of the island is still without power, the banking system is spotty at best and even if people have money there is really nowhere to buy supplies. This fund will ship good directly to the island as funds become available.

Any member wishing to make a donation can send a check to the International headquarters at the address in the front of this issue and note it is for the Los Gladiadores Relief Fund.

Local 17 will hold the annual Children’s Christmas Party on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at the hall located at 3250 Euclid Avenue. The event starts at 1 pm. Children up to and including twelve years old will receive gifts. Families are asked to bring baked goods while soft drinks will be provided. As in years past, Santa will be in attendance. This is always a well attended event and a lot of fun for members and their families.

Congratulations go out to Kaitlyn DeJesus the daughter of Chris DeJesus for being one of five students selected for the IUEC Scholarship award.

Where are they working?

Jeff Lindell and Dave Francis doing a mod at Cleveland Athletic Club for Kone,

Don Knapik and Joel Reyes doing a mod at Richmond Park apartments for Schindler,

Bob Brady and Cory Huhn at the Cleveland Clinic doing mod work for Otis,

Scott Villanueva nana Zach Miller doing service work for Otis,

Joe Simcic and Morgan Armstrong installing two cars at CSU for Otis,

Al Ward and Pat Pollock installing an elevator at One University Circle for Otis,

Craig Nolty and Dan Koprowski doing a mod at the Federal Reserve Bank for Otis,

Tim Narowitz, Anthony Metcalf, Matt Harden and Russel Barrows doing a mod at Three Villages for Thyssen,

Kenny Jung and Dion Yatsko doing a jack at Park Center 2 for Schindler,

Gary Thompson, Mark Byram, Shawn Yatsko, Ryan Todd, Rob Timko, Felix DeJesus and Brian Seither doing a mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Chris Wyatt and Chris DeJesus working in Indianapolis for Schindler,

Tim Wood and Bob Meyer replacing step chains at GM for Thyssen,

Jim Thompson and Steve Keating doing a mod at Southpoint Hospital for Otis,

Tom Gombar and Tim Moore doing a jack at Rockside Park Apartments for Thyssen.


As of this writing there are two mechanics and one apprentice on the bench.


Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



November ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Last month I wrote about Harvey devastating Texas. As I was on vacation bicycling the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, Irma tore through the Caribbean and then the Gulf side of Florida. Then, as if the region hadn’t seen enough, Maria destroyed Puerto Rico.

As of this writing, it is forecast that power will not be restored to the island for another five months. Shipping containers full of relief supplies are piling up at the dock because of a lack of truck drivers. In the rural areas there is no potable water, food or fuel for generators. The military is on site attempting to clear roads and restore services but, even their efforts are slowed by the severity of damage.

Please keep in mind that even though we are separated by an ocean, those in Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands are every bit an American as those who trace their heritage to our founding fathers. This is the time when the IUEC can reach out to our Brother and Sister constructors on the island and help them put their lives back together so they can put Puerto Rico back together.

That is what being an International Union is all about.

At the IUEC national meeting there was a renewed emphasis on safety for members and the public. One of the interesting points was that in the last three years, three members died while working on the bottom floor door locks. These are arguably the hardest items to work on in a typical elevator installation. Members not doing proper local out-tag out and not taking full control of the elevator where cited as reasons for some of the fatalities. The International’s Safety Committee is working with OSHA to get more elevator language into the OSHA standards and with the companies to keep the field peoples phones from ringing while they are working on equipment.

Business Manager Tim Moennich was in Columbus with representatives of the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund working with State Representative Ron Young to gain his support for an elevator licensing bill for Ohio. 32 states currently require that anyone working on an elevator or escalator must be licensed by the state authority. This limits the ability of buildings to allow their maintenance people to work on the vertical transportation.

The following meetings are mandatory for the nomination, election and installation of officers: November 17, December 8 and January 12. All members must attend or have a valid reason properly communicated to the hall prior to the meeting. You can contact Tim at 216-431-8088 or by email at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

Where are they working?

Mark Byram, Gary Thompson, Felix DeJesus and Brian Seither working on the mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Scott Villanueva and Zach Miller doing service work for Otis,

Bob Brady and Jason Saunders doing a four car mod at Trinity Towers for Otis,

DJ Spring, Al Ward, Andrea Rodriguez and Deven Shields installing three cars for Otis,

Joe Broz, Jr. and Andrew Daniels doing a mod at Willoughby Hills Apartments for Thyssen,

Don Kaiser and John McCuan song no-load safety tests for Schindler,

Don Knapik and Mike Beros installing key switches at 1717 for Schindler,

Tony Kuhn and Bob Connelly doing a four-car mod at PNC for Thyssen,

Drew Williams and Mark Carollo working in Toledo for Thyssen.


As of this writing there are three mechanics on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


October ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

As I write this article, the images of the complete and total devastation of the Texas Gulf coast and the ramifications thereof are only beginning to come to light. According to press reports 33 people are confirmed dead, 311,000 are signed up for relief and the President is pledging $5.9 billion to the inundated region.

As elevator constructors the best at this writing we can do is keep our brothers and sisters and their families in the affected areas in our prayers and be prepared to supply the aid and relief they will so desperately require. I know that Locals will donate money to relief causes and the most generous of us will open our own wallets to help those in need. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are great resources for those who want their monetary or physical donations to go to where they are promised.

As those who worked through the damage done by Katerina and Sandy will no doubt testify, there will be ample work for all the trades in the aftermath of this storm. I would encourage those who are able to travel to talk to your superintendent about offering your services to the affected area.

Time after time in the aftermath of tragedy, America has put aside its divisions and rallied to the aid of those who found themselves in harms way. Who doesn’t quote from Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural speech “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” What about “a date which will live in infamy?”

Standing on the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, Lincoln said in part “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here. …from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

After Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its final flight, who could forget Ronald Reagan speaking to assembled nation about those brave explorers losing their lives as they were reaching for the stars? What about President Bush on the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers addressing the crowd from a bullhorn pledging to bring those responsible to justice? What of President Obama at the end of his address at Mother Emmanuel to those mourning the senseless loss of their loved ones spontaneously breaking into a hymn of forgiveness?

These are touchstone moments that defined the character of The United States of America to the world as more than an assemblage of those of random heritage and dubious lineage. However you as an individual may feel about those men and their politics, there is no way you can question the depth of their commitment to the nation which elected them to serve as Commander-In-Chief and their most important role: Comforter-In-Chief.

They defined us as a nation of character, willing to put the needs of the many before the needs of the individual.

They defined us a nation of resolve willing to sacrifice for those we do not know that which we hold most precious.

They defined us a nation of compassion willing to hold up those who feel they can no longer stand up on their own.

They defined us as a nation united in principle, purpose and calling.

They defined us as The United States of America.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



September ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

As this issue of the Constructor is hitting your mailbox kids are going back to school, leaves are falling and I should be getting off the Lakeshore Limited in Albany, New York and beginning my 165 mile bike ride to St. Albans, Vermont. Whenever I write or talk about these adventures the inevitable questions becomes “why do you do it?” Well, there is no easy answer to that question.

The short answer is that I am a very restless person. The physical nature of cycling, the people I meet and experiences I have ground me to the belief that even though the world as a whole is a jumbled mess, people of different backgrounds connect best when they connect on a personal level. This is where all pretense falls away and genuine conversation begins. The road to sanity has to start somewhere. Mine starts in Albany.

Brother Tim Gibbons passed the mechanics exam and started on the route vacated by the now retired Brother Bruce Koprowski. The Local sends congratulations to both Tim and Bruce on these milestone achievements.

Hot on the heels of this spring’s walleye fishing charter, Entertainment Chairman Bill Dudas announced a second charter scheduled for Saturday, September 9th. The cost is $40 per person. The charter is limited to the first 30 people who sign up for the event. If you are interested, you can contact Business Manager Tim Moennich at 216-431-8088 or email him at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

Thank you to the 30 active and 40 retired members of Local 17 that attended this years Local 17 Retiree’s Dinner. For pictures of this always well attended event, go to iueclocal17.org and click on the Galleries tab.

There was enough interest in having someone from Mass Mutual, the company that administers the 401K and Annuity program for the IUEC, give a presentation on the plans that a representative will attend a Special Called Meeting to answer any questions. Watch this space or the Local’s website, iueclocal17.org, for more details.

If you are interested in getting involved in the 401K plan, you can inquire at your employers office. It is as simple as filling out a form and the returns can be impressive.

In a letter read in part by Tim at the July meeting, Assistant General President Jim Bender reminded all Locals that prior to starting any new construction or modernization job every member must notify the business office of the location of that job. This is a requirement of General Law XXVI No. 24.

Where are they working?

Drew Williams and Mark Carollo doing a mod at the Halle Building for Thyssen,

Joe Broz, Jr. and Andrew Daniels doing a mod at Willoughby Hills Towers for Thyssen,

Tom Gombar and Joe Gauker doing safety tests at NASA for Kone,

Pat McCann and Robert Connelly doing a four car mod at PNC for Thyssen,

Craig Nolty and Dan Koprowski installing a hydro at the Phoenix Building for Otis,

Dave Gnagy and Matt Carlton doing a four car mod at the Four Seasons for Schindler,

John Logue and Brandyn Alley doing a four car mod at the Cleveland Clinic for Otis,

Chris Scholle and Carl McBride installing an elevator at Lakewood High school for Thyssen,

Tony Kuhn and Ken Eaton doing a three car mod at Summit One for Thyssen,

DJ Spring and Deven Shields installing an elevator at the East 105th Street Parking Garage for Otis,

Al Ward and Andrea Rodriguez installing an elevator at Middle Park Academy for Otis,

Bernie Sickle and Chris Cook doing service work at the airport for Schindler.


The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Al Jerson who lost his father and retired Brother John Taylor who lost his daughter and two grand daughters.

As of this writing there are four mechanics on the bench.


Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.


August ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Being this is reaching you in August, traditionally Ohio’s hottest month of the year, heat safety must be foremost in your daily planning. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) 45 people died as a result of extreme heat exposure in 2015 which is a dramatic increase over the 2014 total of 20 people but still well below the 10-year average of 113 fatalities. The age group most affected by the extreme heat is these over the age of 50 with 71% of the fatalities being men. There was no breakdown as to occupation or work-related fatalities in this data.

According to WebMD the hallmark symptom of heat stroke is a core body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Fainting may be the first sign. Other symptoms may include: throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat; red, hot, and dry skin; muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting; rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak; rapid, shallow breathing; behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering; seizures or unconsciousness.

If you suspect you have or your partner has any of these symptoms, contact 911 right away and attempt to cool their core temperature to at least 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. You can wet their skin with water and fan them with air; apply ice packs to the arm pits, groin, neck and back or immerse them in a tub of cool water.

Also, be aware that sweat can be conductive around live equipment. Always LOTO and confirm there is no current in the circuit. If you need to troubleshoot live, use the appropriate PPE and stay aware of your own physical state.

Quick action and recognition can save a life.

The Local 17 Annual Golf Outing will be held August 26th at Emerald Woods Golf Course,12501 N Boone Rd, Columbia Station. The $100 fee includes food, drink, prizes golf and a cart for the day. The format is once again a two man scramble. Please get your money and reservations into Business Manager Tim Moennich at the hall ASAP.

Do you have questions about retirement investment planning? Local 17 is planning a night with a representative from MassMutal, the company that administers the 401K for the IUEC, to give members and their spouses the chance to ask questions and learn about retirement investing options. This event is not limited to those nearing retirement. Choices made early on in your retirement planning can have long lasting effects on it’s eventual value. Contact Tim for more information on this important event.

There are also sign up sheets available for classes in CPR and scaffolding.

On Saturday, September 2 the North Shore Federation of Labor is holding its Fifth Annual Labor Day Festival at James Day Park in Parma adjacent to Tri-C. The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm and is free to the public. For kids there will be Jungle Bob, face painting and balloon art. For the adults look for great music, softball games and corn hole tournaments.

Where are they working?

Jerry Szermerkovsky, Lucas Jenke, Pat Kelly and John Smith installing 13 cars at the Cleveland Clinic Health Education Campus for Otis,

Jason Frederick and Rob Zadravec doing a mod at Normandy Towers for Thyssen,

Greg Seaman and Brian Chambers working at the airport for Schindler,

John Goggin and Cory Ptak doing sheave work at Sherry Park for Schindler,

Shawn Yatsko, Ken Jung, Ryan Todd, Robert Timko, Matt Herbolt and Dion Yatsko doing the mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Gary Thompson and Brian Siether continuing the mod at Erieview Tower for Schindler and,

Chris Scholle and Lemroy Hurd installing a car at Innova for Thyssen.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Don Knapik on the passing of his sister Carol.

As of this writing there are four mechanics on the bench.

Until next month…

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.



July ’17 Elevator Constructor

Brothers and sisters:

Happy Birthday America!

For the past three years, July 4th week has been a time for me to pack up my panniers, stock up my water bottles and spend the week seeing America from the seat of my bike. I’ve pedaled from Boston to Portland, Maine, rode a bottle of Lake Erie water from the East Ninth Street Pier to the Roebling Bridge and took a trip back in time from Confluence Park to Mile Post Zero on the GAP and C&O. My next adventure will take me from Albany to St. Albans, Vermont in September when the temperatures are a bit more forgiving for an extended trip.

I know that many of you share my interest in cycling and even more of you have a passion for the motorized version of two wheeled transportation. Whether we enjoy the rumble of the exhaust or the rhythm of the pedals our common element is our invisibility to the cars and trucks with whom we share the road. I have been remarkably lucky over the thousands of miles I’ve ridden on paths, back roads and main streets to never have been in a serious accident. In fact the only time I’ve been in danger was on US 42 just north of Cincinnati when I was run into the weeds by an 18-wheeler.

Here are some common sense points to keep in mind when on the road:
Where bright colors. You have a better chance of being seen in red than black.
Use a headlight and/or tail light. Flashing lights have better visibility than no lights.
Anticipate the traffic around you. You know what you are going to do but the texting teen eating the fast-food burger in the SUV next to you doesn’t.
Wear your safety gear. Hard hats and gloves are not just for work, they are also for play.
Pass along the word to stay alert.

To all the apprentices currently working in Local 17: make sure you are current on your OJT forms. When you are called to explain yourself in front of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee things can get really uncomfortable, especially if you are explaining yourself in front of your boss.

Local 17 recently received an EECO and Maxton valve lab supplied by NEIEP. The course covers the design, function, operation, repair and adjustment of the two most common valves in the field.

Business Manager Tim Moennich has a sign up sheet available for a session with a representative of Mass Mutual, the company that administers the 401K and annuity benefits for the International. The session will cover the workings of these two important parts of your retirement plan and give you the opportunity to ask any questions. The session is open to members and their spouses. For more information, please contact Tim at 216-431-8088 or email him at TMoennich@iueclocal17.org.

Congratulations go out to Ryan Todd for being the latest member of Local 17 to pass the Mechanics Exam.


Where are they working?

Tom Gombar and Matt Hausler doing a jack job at Presidential Apartments for Kone,

Shawn Yatsko and Matt Herbold starting a mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Don Knapik and Joel Reyes doing full load safety tests at Perry Nuclear Power Plant for Schindler,

Ken Jung and Ryan Todd doing a mod at the Standard Building for Schindler,

Matt Weingart and Sean Canning installing elevators at the Garfield Building for Schindler, and

Heath Kramer and Todd Ross cabling at the Celebrezze Building for Kone.

The Brothers and Sisters of Local 17 send their condolences to Brother Rob Hansen, Jr. on the passing of his father retired Brother Bob Hansen, Sr. and to Brother Ric Supinski on the passing of his father.

As of this writing there are three mechanics on the bench.

Until next month,

Work smart, work safe and slow down for safety.