Chicagoland Moves On


As I write this column in early February, Chicago and most of the Midwest is buried in snow as the first of three massive storms rolls across the plains and on to the Northeast. But Chicagoans are hardy; a little snow doesn’t stop A global pandemic, however, certainly tried to slow them down. They had already had protests and floods by the time March 2020 came in with COVID-19 on its tail. This month, we Focus on Chicago and how it weathered the virus:

Powering Through by Kaija Wilkinson: COVID-19 made Chicagoans feel like “the great standstill”: nothing happened for months. Now in 2021, commercial markets are reopening, but the specifics of vertical transportation (VT) are changing. Customers are showing increased interest in touchless technology, such as the Otis eCall app. The author interviewed contacts all over Chicago, from Otis and KONE to Urban Elevator Service and Mid-American Elevator, and found all looking to the future of the Windy City with high hopes.

Insurance Market Considerations by Matt Dennett and Nick Scodro: The authors say the elevator industry is viewed by insurers as higher risk, and the market is tightening. They detail best practices for decisionmakers in 2021.

Chicago Elevator Firsts by Dr. Lee Gray: Our History columnist debunks a few “firsts” in Chicago lore and confirms many other VT milestones.

Not Just for Code Compliance by Dennis Finn and Adam Clayton: The authors explain how upgrades, even when not mandated by code, can often improve operation and extend equipment life.

It’s All About the Fixtures by Matt Irvin: The author interviewed Mark Menke and Lisa Castro of Dupar about their long and multifaceted careers, and about selling fixtures in Chicago.

Chicago Strong by Wilkinson: Matot Inc. traces its roots to the 1880s and is now run by fifth- generation owners Cece and Anne Matot. Cece talks about what they had to do to keep manufacturing during the pandemic.

Inside-Out by Josh Nelson: This feature is about a building that, unfortunately, is unlikely to survive, now that the state has bought a new location for its approximately 900 employees working there. The James R. Thompson Center has both inspired and outraged citizens. Its towering glass elevator shafts enhance the theme of transparency, but US$325 million in needed repairs, not to mention exorbitant heating and cooling costs, seems insurmountable.

Another feature this month is A New Chapter by Igor Mayorov. This feature concerns OKO Towers in Moscow, which are bringing a vibrant business and residential hub to the city. Otis provided 58 elevators divided into 18 groups of SkyRise®, Gen2® and OH5000 passenger and service elevators.

Additionally, the company’s CompassPlus™ destination dispatching helps manage some 8,000 passengers daily by organizing travel by grouping both passengers and stops.

Also of note is an excellent article by Dr. Gina Barney, ISO 8100-32:2020 Guidance. The new standard is a simple-to-use, current-practice standardized approach to selection of lifts. Barney offers extensive peer-reviewed recommendations.

Finally, here in North America, Durham College in Oshawa, Canada, is expanding. In Stepping Up as a Leader, Shelly Totino explains that the two-story expansion at its nearby Whitby Campus will accommodate two double-level elevator towers for students in its elevating devices mechanic program.

By the time you read this, I will have received my second vaccine shot. I urge everyone to get it when you can so we can get together this year! In the meantime, mask up and stay safe.

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Elevator World | March 2021 Cover