A Day to Smile – and Strengthen Business Ties
20th annual ECNY Supplier Showcase is always a hit at Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx.
The 20th annual Elevator Conference of New York (ECNY) Supplier Showcase had the feel of a family reunion as 129 exhibitors and up to 800 attendees shared greetings, checked out each other’s products and enjoyed the daylong event, held, as always, at Villa Barone Manor in Bronx, New York. Since almost the beginning, there has been a waiting list to exhibit, and this year was no exception. “There have been 22 companies on the waiting list for forever,” says ECNY Board of Directors Vice President and organizer Bobby DeFrancesco. “I hate to say this, but pretty much the only way to get in is if somebody passes away.” Today, there are two companies from Italy and one from Germany on the waiting list.
Those who have a spot felt fortunate to be there and pulled out all the stops with traditional giveaways like pens, candy and tote bags, and the not-so-traditional ones (at least to those unfamiliar with Mongrain Vertical Transport of Quebec) like Cuban-style cigars being rolled live and in person for attendees to either smoke or take home to the cigar smokers in their lives. The moist tobacco leaves filled the air around the Mongrain booth with a wonderful aroma, tempting your author to take up the habit.
Under sunny, cool skies, the show started at noon and lasted until 6 p.m., with the early crowd characterized by industry decision makers and late afternoon by foremen and mechanics getting off work. Most who stopped by the Elevator World, Inc. booth said they already subscribe to our year-old ELEVATOR WORLD New York newsletter, and our promotional items — especially the tape measures — proved popular. There was good interest in our educational offerings, as well.
AFD Industries, Inc., has been an exhibitor from the beginning, and Vice President and General Manager Nick Wengerd said the show is an excellent value for the money. He states:
“Compared to some of the other industry events, it’s cheap to attend. It’s essentially a one-day sales trip that’s very efficient. That’s because, rather than having to set up appointments with 20 different people, you have them all coming to one place, so you get value out of it. A lot of the big elevator companies in New York and New Jersey make it a point to attend.”
Attendees had the opportunity to see innovations in areas including software, lighting and a wide range of industry-specific supplies such as guide-rail clamps, modular pit ladders and freight-elevator doors.
Nidec Motor Corp. presented a 3D hologram of an elevator machine. Visitors flocked to it all day. “That thing was pretty amazing,” Wengerd said. “We were almost right across the aisle from them, and it was fun to go across and see all the inner workings of their machine. It was definitely an attention-grabber.”
An Italian buffet featuring calamari, eggplant rollatini, fettucine alfredo, vegetables and assorted salads, as well as a full cash bar, was presented throughout the day in the spacious dining room. Decorated in ECNY’s signature red, white and blue balloons, the room is lined by 15 or so exhibitors. Lisa Grimes of Vator Accessories, Inc., says she loves the dining-area location, stating:
“I have been in the dining area for five or six years, ever since I first started exhibiting at ECNY. In the beginning, there were only two tables in the area. I have come to love it in that room, because everybody goes in there eventually, so even if I don’t catch them on the way in, I can grab them on the way out. Being right next to the door is fabulous to get a chance to see everybody. I wouldn’t move to the main room even if a space opened up. I love my spot by the door!”
An added treat is always the colorful and delicious Italian pastry spread located along the hallway between the main exhibitor and dining areas.
DeFrancesco says a number of people work very hard to make the showcase a success. Among them is Villa Barone Manager Anthony Orzo, who many exhibitors have come to know personally. DeFrancesco says:
“[Orzo] makes everything ‘go.’ Exhibitors don’t call me anymore; they call him. He takes delivery of the boxes and brings them up from downstairs the night before the show. He makes sure all the tables are set up with white tablecloths. [ECNY board member] Grace Y. Greco is a relatively new addition, and she helps with the badges. Everybody pitches in. We’ve got a pretty good thing going here in NYC.” “The showcase is always a productive
event and well attended by local New York elevator professionals, contractors, consultants, field technicians and suppliers,” Michael J. Ryan, vice president of Business Development at The Peelle Co., adds. “The local economy provided many reasons to discuss current business, as well as upcoming opportunities. Many thanks to the ECNY Board of Directors and the staff of the Villa Barone.”
Vieew Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Vertical Initiative for Elevator Escalator Women (VIEEW) drew 14 attendees to a downstairs boardroom in Villa Barone Manor prior to the start of the show. Despite a guest speaker canceling, discussion was lively, as new National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) Executive Director Alesa McArthur stepped up after Mary Beeson of Unitec, who ran the meeting, invited her to say a few words.
McArthur talked about new NAEC programs and upcoming events, and introduced herself, stating she is excited to be stepping into the spotlight after having a more behind-the-scenes role as a meeting planner for the association. She explained how her previous duties are being absorbed by Director of Meetings & Member Services Shawn Cowden and Exhibit, Registration and Social Media Manager Megan Ragan. McArthur said she made it a point to attend the showcase and VIEEW meeting, even though she was busy preparing for the NAEC Spring Educational Conference a few days later in Florida. She felt it was important to get in the networking opportunity and spread the word about NAEC programs, benefits and events with people face to face.
Looking ahead, McArthur talked about Grand Rapids, Michigan, the location of the NAEC Annual Convention and Exposition in September. It was chosen, in part, to spread the wealth throughout the nation; NAEC conventions are often on the East Coast. “We have a lot of Midwest members, and I’m thrilled the event will be there,” she said. “Grand Rapids is amazingly lovely, with a beautiful, old, historic downtown. It’s clean, viable, and there is lots to do.” Looking ahead to the United 2020 convention, McArthur shared that Elevator U has joined NAEC, the International Association of Elevator Consultants and the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association to host the event in Houston.
Other topics discussed included the possibility of Robin Oldham of Vertical Express arranging a tour of a NYC skyscraper’s elevator system (such as the one of 1 WTC prior to last year’s VIEEW meeting [ELEVATOR WORLD, July 2018]) and dealing with the challenge of women older than 50 often being “invisible” in the business world.