With Veteran’s day just behind us, ElevatorInfo wanted to extend our gratitude to the veterans – today and every day!

At the IUEC’s recent convention in Las Vegas, the Elevator Industry Work Preservation fund (EIWPF) was incredibly honored to have been in attendance with Medal of Honor Recipient Sammy L. Davis, widely known as the “real” Forrest Gump, as well as his wife, Dixie Davis.

Pictured:  Dixie Davis, Sammy L. Davis, James K. Bender, II, Assistant General President, Frank J. Christensen, General President, Larry McGann, General Secretary-Treasurer and Veterans in the IUEC from across the country. All attendees were vaccinated against Covid-19.

The man behind Embree Elevator: James Comley

Born and raised in Bedford, Massachusetts, James (Jim) Comley, a 91-year-old Navy veteran, is no stranger to hard work and dedicated service – having worked in the elevator industry for more than 70 years. The youngest of three children, Jim lights up when speaking about his family – from his 93-year-old brother in Cape Cod to his four children and eight grandchildren.

Having lost his wife of 66 years just two short years ago, Jim dotingly remembers the day they met. “Her brother had a garage. I pumped gas there,” said Jim. “She was a beautiful woman. I fell in love while she was there washing her car – she had a brand new 1950 Pontiac.”

Along with being a devout family man, Jim is an elevator man through and through. In fact, he started in the business at F.S. Payne Company when he was 19 years old. Then, just one year into his career, Jim was drafted into the U.S. Navy where he followed in his father’s footsteps working as an electrician.

“I enjoyed myself in the Navy. I saw a lot of Italy, Greece, France, Portugal, and even North Africa,” said Mr. Comley.

After serving his country for four years, Jim returned to Massachusetts and reentered the elevator trade. He went to night school – attending Franklin Tech to learn more about elevators – while continuing to work for F.S. Payne. In his late-30s, Jim left F.S. Payne for City Elevator.

“I stayed at City until about 1973 – then, I decided to buy Embree and White Corporation, which, at the time, was a non-signatory elevator company,” said Jim. “It cost me about $120,000 to buy Embree – I got a loan from the bank. When I first bought Embree, the company had only six employees, but with the support of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and the talented workforce coming out of Local 4, the shop grew and is now at about 35 employees.”

Today, Jim’s daughter and her husband run Embree Elevator, while one of Jim’s sons, Steve – a proud member of IUEC Local 4 – started the Elevator Museum, one of the only brick and mortar museums of its kind.

While Jim is technically retired, he volunteers his time giving tours at the Haverhill, Massachusetts-based Elevator Museum – explaining to curious visitors the many ways the industry has changed over the last seven decades.

Interested in learning more about the Elevator Museum? Be sure to check out Elevator Info next week for videos featuring the Elevator Museum, as well as exclusive interviews with both Steve and Jim Comley.

The Qualified Elevator Inspector Training Fund’s (QEITF) QEI Program is widely considered the best in the industry.

 

The goal of the QEI Program is to make each student’s certification process an invaluable learning experience. QEITF’s skilled instructors arm students with the necessary tools to succeed – ensuring that, upon completion of the program, students will be prepared to return home with the ability to effectively perform inspections.

 

Along with empowering students to successfully complete the certification course, the QEI Program instructors also provide ongoing support for any code-related questions and guidance related to individuals’ continuing education needs.

 

If you are interested in becoming certified as a Qualified Elevator Inspector, we urge you to check out this video highlighting the exceptional value of the QEITF QEI Program.

 

The program is competitively priced – offering a total package for considerably less than what other organizations charge simply for the certification class. Interested in learning more? Visit www.qeitf.org or call 1-888-511-3113.

 

Elevator tech in elevator shaft

The Well News article highlights elevator mechanics’ role as part of the essential workforce during the coronavirus pandemic.

The reporter indicates that “of all the classes of workers who have come to be highlighted as ‘essential’ during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one group that is often, unfairly overlooked are those who keep the infrastructure of high-rise offices and residential buildings functioning – elevator mechanics.”

Several IUEC members were interviewed as part of the piece – including Juwan Harrison, a reservist in the U.S. Army. Here’s some of what he had to say about his career choice:

“(The union) is a great option for anyone in the military who doesn’t quite know what they want to do once they’re through with their service,” Harrison said. “Even if it’s way different from your military job, they work with you to get you the specialized training you need. It definitely opens up a lot of doors for you and the benefits compared to non-union jobs are unmatched.”

Elevator technician working

In a recent piece published by Engineering News-Record, Chuck Harrington, CEO of Parsons Corp., and Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions, highlight the value of registered apprenticeship programs. The authors use the Los Angeles International Airport Apprenticeship Readiness Program as an example of a program that empowers students from diverse backgrounds to thrive in the building trades.

The International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC), as well as its signatory contractor partners, are proud of its accredited apprenticeship training program. IUEC members, each of whom have successfully completed the robust training program, are as a result the most educated, safest workers in the elevator industry.

The future of our nation’s infrastructure depends on the manner in which we educate and train the U.S. workforce.

Labor Day is a time to celebrate America’s workforce — the hardworking men and women, including workers in the elevator industry, who keep our nation running.

The labor movement, born in response to terrible working conditions, is still alive and well. In this video, Matthew Carroll, Director of Market Development for Local One Elevator Constructors (NY/NJ) sits down with Mark Gregorio, President of TEI Group, to talk about the importance of this holiday and honoring workers from coast to coast.

Carroll recalled both his and Gregorio’s days in the field — where they cut their teeth in the elevator trade. As Carroll puts it, they have worked with tools for their entire lives.

Thanks to both gentlemen for helping to shine a light on Labor Day and, more importantly, on the critical role Union Elevator Constructors have played, and continue to play, in shaping our cities’ skylines.