Lerch Bates Inc. Building Insight

Global Leaders in Technical Consulting for the Building Industry

Lerch Bates Appoints Don Blackwood Consultant, Elevator Consulting Group

Joins Global Firm with Nearly 44 Years of Experience in Vertical Transportation Industry 
Don BlackwoodLerch Bates, an employee-owned international consulting firm for vertical transportation, façade access and logistics, announced Don Blackwood has been named consultant, elevator consulting group, in its South Central office in suburban Dallas, Texas. He joins the world’s oldest and largest elevator consulting firm with more than four decades of experience in the vertical transportation industry.
Blackwood will provide elevator consulting services for new equipment design, modernization design and work, maintenance audit work and due diligence studies and services in his new role with Lerch Bates. He also will be responsible for vertical transportation studies, construction services and vertical transportation maintenance evaluations.

“We continue to strategically grow the Lerch Bates team throughout the country and around the world,” said Lerch Bates President and CEO Bart Stephan. “Don’s extraordinary industry knowledge and expertise will be an invaluable asset to our South Central office. He brings to Lerch Bates more than 43 years of extraordinary regional experience in the vertical transportation industry and I look forward to the instrumental contributions he will make to our firm.”

Blackwood previously worked for Otis Elevator Company/United Technologies Corporation (UTC) in Dallas for 43 years. He most recently served as a service manager but also worked as a service superintendent, construction superintendent and combination superintendent during his extensive career with the company.

Blackwood has been a Certified Elevator Inspector (CEI) since 1993 and has been an instructor for the National Association of Elevator Safety Authorities’ (NAESA) National Elevator Industry Educational Program (NEIEP) since 2008.

Denver-area based Lerch Bates has built a reputation as the premier designer of vertical transportation and façade access, permanent equipment and rigs utilized for servicing exterior façades including window washing and maintenance, systems around the globe. The company has consulted on many of the world’s tallest buildings including the 2,717-foot (428-meter) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1,667-foot (508-meter) Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan, 1,476-foot (450-meter) Nanjing Greenland Financial Center in Nanjing, China and 1,389-foot (423-meter) Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, Illinois.

Lerch Bates Opens New Office To Serve Growing Hawaiian Market

Ryan See Appointed Consultant, Elevator Consulting Group, to Manage Honolulu Office

Lerch Bates, an international consulting firm for vertical transportation, façade access and materials management, announced it opened a new office in Honolulu, Hawaii, and appointed Ryan See consultant, elevator consulting group, to manage the firm’s operations in the state. The addition of the Honolulu office increases the total number of domestic Lerch Bates offices to 25 and 34 internationally. See joins the world’s largest and oldest vertical transportation consulting group with more than seven years of extensive elevator industry experience.

Ryan SeeSee is tasked with providing vertical transportation consulting services for design, maintenance and new construction projects throughout Hawaii. He is responsible for vertical transportation system studies, complete administration of design and construction services, design and contract documents, vertical transportation maintenance evaluations and due diligence studies. Lerch Bates has been a pioneer of the vertical transportation industry in the state for more than 25 years.

“Lerch Bates continues to expand its presence in the United States and around the world,” said Lerch Bates President and CEO Bart Stephan. “Ryan has exceptional experience with Hawaii’s vertical transportation industry and he will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow in the state. He has extraordinary knowledge of the local marketplace and we welcome him to our exceptional team of consultants.”

See previously managed modernization and new construction projects for ThyssenKrupp and Otis Elevator Company in both Hawaii and Denver, Colo. His career also included serving as a new installation estimator and quality supervisor during his tenure with Otis. See worked on many landmark projects including Honolulu’s City Financial Tower, Ala Moana Pacific Center and Waihonua at Kewalo, 707 17th Street in Denver and Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from of the University of Washington.

Lerch Bates announced in August that it had been awarded a two-year contract to consult on the modernization of the diverse elevator systems of the largest office complex in Hawaii. The multifaceted vertical transportation renovation project at Pacific Guardian Center (PGC) includes a 10-story 786-stall parking structure, twin 30-story office towers and the celebrated four-story Dillingham Transportation Building. Upgrading PGC’s elevator systems is one of Lerch Bates’ largest projects in the western United States. The program includes replacing Westinghouse Mark V equipment in the two seven-car banks and installing destination based technology.

PGC is an award winning office complex that features more than 630,000 square feet of first-class office and retail space located in the heart of Honolulu’s Central Business District. The mirrored glass towers, named after their respective positions, Mauka (“mountain”) and Makai (“ocean”), are juxtaposed by the Mediterranean Revival/Italian Renaissance style of the the historic Dillingham Transportation Building. The vertical transportation modernization program was designed to meet the expected future demands of the center while maintaining the rich character and environment of the property. The project is expected to begin this fall and be completed in the fall of 2016.

Lerch Bates’ Hawaiian office is located at 307a Kamani St., #3, Honolulu, HI 96813.

End of An Era

We were recently visited by a major elevator company to give us an update on their products.  These types of visits typically include product updates, new developments, and personnel changes.  But this particular company also gave notice that they were discontinuing one of the industries stallworths – their “GD1 & GD2” geared traction machine.  Whilst this is not mainstream news it does feel like an industry milestone that should not pass without mention.

Why the End of An Era?  In the mid ’90s the machine-room-less (MRL) elevator was introduced to the U.S. market.  Within 15 years it has become the standard.  Over these 15 years we have observed an excellent and fierce competition between manufacturers – component innovations, product positioning, price wars, political influencing, and a few design flaws…and we even heard faint shouts of “get a horse.”   But there was always a fallback plan – the geared traction elevator.  But the momentum of innovation could not be stopped, and the fallback plan is no more.  Economics defines product lifecycles, and eventually manufacturers will choose to outsource vs. make when the lifecycle nears its end.  And when one of the world’s top three manufacturers chooses to buy geared machines because its geared sales are limited then we know that we are at the end of the lifecycle.

In 2007 geared elevators accounted for 20% of the traction elevator market, in 2008 that figured dropped to 11%.  No doubt, when the 2009 numbers are tallied, the percent will be even less.  Applications will be limited to custom designs or sales won by contractors who outsource to independent manufacturers.  There will always be a place for the inefficient geared machine, but as time passes, they will be less and less.