Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rockstar Energy – Elevator World – Craig Zomchek profile

Once upon a time I wrote for and had been interviewed in many music publications in my past life.  I've read Elevator World for years so this was a pretty cool thing to participate in.  Thank you to Kaija for working with me on the profile.  My last professional magazine piece was on the back page of Maxim Magazine in 2007[If you are curious ask me about it].  

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Elevator maintenance – building owner cooperation/exterminator

I was at a building with two elevators that we will be doing work on.  I met the incumbent elevator company’s maintenance tech out there and he told me to look out for the roaches.  I looked in the one pit and car top and it they where clean as a whistle.  I wasn't sure what the guy was talking about.  When I went to do the engineering take off on the other car it was a roach party!  Anyone ever see the TV show Joe’s Apartment?

I spend a lot of time talking about the three pillars when it comes to elevator maintenance.  Companies, mechanics and building owners.  In this case the building owner needs to step up their responsibility.  

[Hard to tell unless you look close]

At first glance I was confused why the one car top and pit was cleaned and this one was not.  Then I saw a few of our six-legged friends, then some more, then some more. I don’t have an issue with roaches so I ended up cleaning the pit out of the roaches because it is just easier if I do it.  Yes, I know about roach eggs.  I have no expectations of anyone who I work with to feel the same way.  A roach problem is a building problem.  Meaning the building should kill them, then remove them.  The elevator professional can open the pit door for the person cleaning the dead roaches. Warning, this takes several visits to get roaches to a manageable state.  The building appears to be doing the exterminating but not the cleaning.

[At least they left a broom]

Company & mechanic – It is our responsibility to tell the building to evict the current elevator pit six legged residents and clean the pit.  

Building owner – You provide the exterminator and cleaning crew to remove the dead bugs.  We will open the pit door for you.

A few roaches is unpleasant and creepy but acceptable but more than a few, you need professional exterminator help.  

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Elevator worker fatalities - Texas & New York

In the last month there have been two elevator worker fatalities.  One is too many.  

1/11/18 – EL Paso Texas a young husband and father was killed on the top of the 9th floor leaving a wife and 2 year old behind.  It is speculated that the death was caused by an electrocution.  The elevator worker worked at Abell Elevator who is a non signatory company from Kentucky.  There is a gofundme page for donations to his family. While we are on different sides of the labor fence I did donate because no family should have to go through this.

1/23/18 – Manhattan, New York– It appears that the person working in the hoistway was not tied off and fell down the elevator shaft. The elevator worker worked at U-Tek Elevator, Inc who is a non signatory company.

As an industry we must continue to move to a zero-injury expectation.  These two incidents are reminders that we must work safe everyday so we can come home.  Our craft is a skilled and dangerous one, be aware of your surroundings at all times.  One accident is too many.

Elevator worker – Do tasks safely, have a process, make sure everyone is on the same page for the process.  If a situation is unsafe have your supervisor explain how to complete the task safely or request an alternate safe process.  Do not get complacent. 

Building owner – This is a reminder know who you are hiring and be aware of work place safety.  You are an important part of the safety equation. 

Elevator contractor – Give your employees the tools & processes to work safe.

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Elevator Modernization – Village of Carpentersville

We recently had the opportunity to partner with the Village of Carpentersville and Morgan Harbor Construction to work on the Village Hall elevator modernization.  The existing elevator was a 1970’s vintage Dover elevator that was constantly having issues with reliability.  The project was bid as a turn key so Colley was the general contractor on the project which also put us in charge of the fire alarm and electrical work.  This was a great team effort, thank you to everyone involved!

Existing equipment

Elevator Controller – Dover w/Cards
Elevator Door operator – Dover
Elevator Power unit – Dover w/Dover I-2 valve
Elevator Fixtures – Dover

New equipment

Elevator Controller – Smartrise
Elevator Door operator – GAL MOVFR w/Dover car and hatch equipment
Elevator Power unit – MEI w/Maxton UC4 valve
Elevator Fixtures – Innovation 
Elevator Car and hatch doors – H & B Elevator

Machine room layout 

[Old Machine room layout]

[New Machine room layout]

[New Smartrise Controller]

Power unit

[Old Dover dry Power Unit with I-2 Valve]

[New MEI submersible Power unit with Maxton UC4 valve]

Door operator & rail guides

 [Old Dover door operator & slide guides]

 [Old Dover door operator & roller guides]

Car, hall fixtures & doors

  [Old Dover car station]

 [New Innovation car station]

 [Old Dover hall station] 

 [New Innovation hall station with digital P/I at each floor - New hatch doors by H & B]

 [Old door with formica & binders]

 [New Stainless steel #4 doors by H & B - gives the car a updated look]

The project was a public bid and the Village saved a considerable amount of money from the other two bidders bids.

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

NAEC Board of Directors 2018 Mid Year meeting

Once a year the Board of Directors gets together for a mid-year meeting to go over NAEC association business and provide direction until our next meeting at the NAEC Spring Conference.  I write this because I get asked lots of questions from my coworkers and NAEC members.  What did you do when you were out there?  What do you get out of it?

NAEC - Board of Directors

Craig Zomchek - Colley Elevator - President
Gary Schuette - Midwest Elevator - Vice President
John Dodds - Kencor Inc - Secretary
LJ Blaiotta - Columbia Elevator Products - Treasurer
Robert Barber - Premier Elevator 
Tim Conkling - Capital Elevator
Rick Gable - Gable Elevator 
Don Gelestino - Champion Elevator
Henry Handel - Handel & Son 
Joseph McNally - McNally Elevator
Tom Thompson - Innovation Ind
Gina Valdez - Texacone
Cornelius Walls - Formula Systems

What did we do down there?

The location was at Sunny Isles, Florida about 30 minutes north of Miami.  This was a self-funded trip where the BOD paid their way to the meeting to volunteer their time.

[Welcome to Florida!]

We got to Florida on Saturday with the help of all four grandparents of the first daughter of the NAEC.  I am currently the president of the NAEC and am grateful for my wife, parents and In-laws for coming along to give us a hand.  The BOD got together and had a welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant which was sponsored by the current president of the NAEC.

[This is what our meeting looks like]

Sunday morning came and we began our meeting where we discussed some of our opportunities and challenges coming up for the NAEC.  Due to the Hurricane that disrupted the convention that was supposed to be in Orlando and the quick switch to Atlantic City we have some financial challenges from loss of revenue.  Fortunately, we have some great opportunities to drive revenue as well.  One which I will link is NAEC’s VTMP[Vertical Transportation Management Program].  This is a great program for new entrants into the business or for field personnel transitioning to the office environment.  The program is $1,600.00 for both sections[technical and business] or can be split up with a reduction in price.  I spent about 7 years learning the information that is available in this program so I encourage you to look into this to shorten the learning curve of having someone be a productive member of your team. Colley has already enrolled 6 people in this program.  Our meeting went about 7.5 hours, we adjourned to spend the next 6+ hours together for dinner and watching the NFL playoff games.  Bar was picked up by one of our BOD members.

More information on VTMP -

Monday we had a breakfast and took a trip to Miami where we spent the later part of the day in South Beach.  This is a time for everyone to get to know each other and talk shop.  BOD members picked up bar and food tabs during this trip.

[One of our stops on South Beach at The Clevelander]
[This was a pretty cool hotel/hostel we stopped at]
 [Finally dinner at Gloria Estefans Larios on the Beach]

What do I get out of being involved in the NAEC BOD?

I get asked this question a lot.  I get to spend time with people I look up to and peers in the elevator industry.  We share stories of where we came from and where we are going.   I get a chance to spend many hours with other contractors from all around the country who may do something different then we do or I can bounce ideas off of.  I have developed relationships with many great people who I can work with in the future if I need help and vice versa.  On the supplier side I get to spend time with the owners/key people from their respective companies.  If there are questions or issues I know where to go for the answers.  I heard some incredible stories of how companies started, how their companies grew and challenges their companies go through.  There are some big take aways from our off-script conversations that help me in our business.

What is next?

Spring conference is scheduled to be in Carlsbad California April 15-18. I have linked the agenda below.  Topics include OSHA silica safety training, carbon brush maintenance, freight elevator applications, 7 mistakes managers make, platform lifts, elevators in natural disasters, ERP’s for elevator contractors, harassment claims, safety roundtable, zero clearance entrances, residential elevator hoistway safety, control valves and more.  There is a supplier and contractor member session, open mic, golf, receptions, etc as well.

Take a look -

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hydraulic Freight Elevator Modernization

Over the last 3 years we have been fortunate enough to have been working with the USPS on freight elevator modernization.  This project was chopped up into 3 phases.  The first phase was awarded to a different company but Colley completed phase II & III.  Here are some pictures of elevator #2 after all three phases have been completed.

  [Controller set up after phase II, before phase III - Phase II included door modernization]
  [New MCE control system]

  [New Courion control system]

The elevator control systems where installed by Automatic Elevator using Maida elevator controllers and Harris Prebble automatic freight doors.  We replaced the system with a Motion Control Engineering elevator controller and Courion automatic freight doors.

   [Old Quality Elevator power unit]

  [New Delaware Elevator power unit]

The elevator’s hydraulic power unit was initial fabricated by Quality Elevator, Niles, IL and replaced with a Delaware Elevator unit.  A Maxton valve was utilized. 

   [Old Adams Elevator car station]

   [Old Adams car station]

  [New Innovation car station]

The elevator fixtures where originally from Adam’s Elevator and replaced with Innovation Industries.  Each land has position indicators & security fobs.

  [New Courion hatch door and Innovation Hall stations]

All of automatic hatch doors and car gates had been replaced with Courion.

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Colley Elevator’s end of year get together

We have out annual end of year get together last night and it was great.  We had over 50 people turn out to Pin Stripes – Oak Brook, IL for dinner and bowling.  It is always nice to catch up with everyone outside of work and with their significant others.

The Friday before I stopped at one of our job sites where we are replacing freight doors in an explosion proof environment.  It is always amazing to see the hard work and amazing feats that elevator people do every day.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, from the person who answers the phone to the person who completes the field task, it takes a team to make things run well.  A thank you to everyone who is involved!

I got to thinking about how much knowledge and experience we had in the room and am always wowed reflecting on it.

We had 5 of our retirees that had a total of 126 years of service call Colley if you add it all up.  Without their hard work we would not be here!  They laid the groundwork for what we are doing today.

Colley's current employees have 266 years of collective experience working at Colley which is an average of 9.5 years[at Colley Elevator]. 

We have a legend who has worked at Colley for over 54 years!

Outside of our lives at Colley we have some great stories that include being
            World travelers
            Rock star(s)
            Bostonian hockey pro
            Professional football player - On Thanksgiving
            Real Estate mogul
            Motor cycle customizer
            1st generation immigrant
            Army veteran
            Record producer who turned down Fall Out Boys first record[they have only gone                  on to sell 7.5 million records]
            Air Force veteran
            Garbage compactor repairman
            Car/truck enthusiasts
            Hot rod racer
            Marathon runner
            Electronic wizard
            Born in a log cabin
            TV producer
            Pro bowler
            Hockey Player
            The list could go on

*I may be exaggerating on some of these

It is the eclectic group of people with the eclectic experiences that makes our company great!  I love learning all these unique things about the people we work with and their significant others, it makes us who we are.  It makes us a great team!
I had a great time and here is to a great start to 2018!

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230.