In the spirit of the holidays, we’d like to share this story, originally submitted by Matthew Reichin, Branch Manager for the Syracuse, NY thyssenkrupp office.
The Syracuse Branch of thyssenkrupp Elevator recently celebrated the holidays with a buffet for nearly thirty team members. This year’s celebration featured the branch’s second annual toy drive to benefit local families in need.
The branch was humbled to hear from Bob Frateschi (L), Gifts in Kind coordinator (United Way of Central New York); and Haider Sakhizada (R), housing coordinator for InterFaith Works of Central New York.
The Gifts In Kind program manages donations of goods from both local and national companies, matching those gifts with member nonprofit agencies that can use them best. This year’s recipient, InterFaith Works of Central New York, addresses the needs of low-income, vulnerable people through education, service and dialogue.
The International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 4 Union Hall is tucked behind a few industrial facilities in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Housed in this building, in a large, open conference room, is the Elevator Museum. It is the shining physical presence of the Elevator Historical Society’s efforts to preserve the history of the elevator and escalator industry.
Your author visited Steve Comley, who is truly taking the museum from good to great. Comley is a longtime elevator man, getting his taste of the industry at an early age, thanks to his father, James, who purchased Embree and White Elevator in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1972. “I loved the dirty old elevator machine shop,” recalls Comley. “It was fascinating to me as a kid — the noise from the flat-belt pulleys running across the ceiling, the smell of the cutting oils on the machines and the smoke from the welding. They used to cast and completely build elevator machines there.”
We hear almost daily that the careers of the future are in high technology, and to survive in this future our children and grandchildren will need education in the realm of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). There may be a grain of truth in that, but the nation still needs workers skilled in hands-on occupations — everything from cosmetology to construction, electrician to elevator technician. This is where SkillsUSA comes in. This association serves people preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled-service occupations, and it showcases its efforts in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. This year, the event drew 18,000 people to Louisville, Kentucky, many of them competing with peers in an event that’s doing its part to revive the trades. Good-paying jobs are out there; SkillsUSA is showing the way to them. While many of the competitors in this year’s event were young people just starting out, others were mid-career folks looking for new opportunities; the oldest was 73. Special thanks to the nonprofit WorkingNation for helping to get the word out through its promotion of the event.