Are Mechanic Shortages Getting to a Crisis Point?

Not enough licensed mechanics to maintain record number of Toronto elevators

EW readers will know that undermanned maintenance routes are nothing new around the world, especially in North America. Now, there’s “a growing fear we may be on the verge of a crisis,” Toronto’s CityNews recently reported. The article and accompanying video outline the problem is being acerbated in the city as high-rise condominium building construction continues at a rapid pace.

“There’s no short term solution,” remarked Rob Isabelle, chief operating officer of KJA Consultants Inc. and elevator expert who’s often interviewed (by CBC here) on high-profile Ontario elevator news, such as the recent Reliable Elevators Act. Commenter Karen Peters Wallace said quite accurately:

“I am one of 53 students currently studying to be an elevator mechanic at Durham College (the only school that offers training in this field); we are in our second year hoping to graduate in April. The problem with the shortage is that getting into the elevator industry has traditionally been one where you need to know someone who is already in the industry to get in. And there was no school that offered the program. Also, the trades is not something that people want to do these days. I would be nice to see more women get involve in this industry.”

Top Venture Capitalist Calls for “Urban Innovation” for Elevators

Michael Eisenberg, a venture capitalist and director of of automobile technology company Nexar Inc. and insurance startup Lemonade Inc., is considered one of the world’s top investors by such publications as Forbes. Now, he’s talking about elevators. As he writes about drones and pinpiont delivery in an opinion piece on CTECH, he adds, “Simply put, elevators do not serve customers today. Residential buildings today do not serve the residents living in our new ecommerce, micro-mobility society. That needs to change.”

I have a couple questions about this article. First, why doesn’t it mention thyssenkrupp’s MULTI? It doesn’t seem like the elevator industry is letting this “ripe for innovation” industry die on the vine. Also, as someone who lives in the country, I have to wonder if getting packages is as much of a chore as this article makes it out to be.

Do you have any ideas for what Eisenberg calls “the ‘last 50 floors’ of mobility”? Is it overdramatized? Is repurposing garbage shoots as a sort of dumbwaiter even viable? Check out the first part of the article series on CTECH‘s website here.

Michael Eisenberg is a cofounder of Tel Aviv-based Aleph Venture Capital who has worked in venture capital for more than 20 years.

thyssenkrupp’s Tower Hosts Tallest Stair Race in Germany

DW reported that 700 signed up for the thyssenkrupp TOWERRUN. It took place on September 16 in Rottweil, Germany, at the company’s 246-m-tall elevator testing tower. Spanning 1,390 steps, the race began at the ground and ended 232 m up at the observation deck.

CEO Andreas Schierenbeck, an avid runner himself, also trained in the tower for the run and had planned to take part. The event even included police academy students, elite runners and team runners. More impressive, though, is the fact that firefighters “ran up the tower wearing their full gear, including heavy respirators” as part of a “stress test,” the source reported. It stresses me just thinking about it!