Dave Flint, an elevator industry veteran and Elevator U honorary member, has been working with us for nearly 30-years. This short interview unveils how and why he specified G&R for his cab interior modernization and repair projects while working for Schindler and the University of Michigan.
Dave, can you explain your background and how you began working with G&R?
“My first endeavor or connection working with G&R was back in the 1980’s. I was head of the service division, a Branch Manager, and I opened a branch in Ann Arbor, Michigan when Schindler purchased the escalator/elevator division from Millar/Westinghouse. It was tasked to me to find people that could do non-proprietary equipment. So, because I had to put packages together, and I had a list of vendors… I came across G&R and thought I’d give them a try. We had good connections and good experiences with each other, so I stayed with G&R. In 1995 I went to Akron/Canton, Ohio and I started working with the Akron folks… Akron, Canton, Youngstown, Mansfield and Wheaton. At that time, modernization was done by Canton Elevator, and Canton Elevator didn’t always supply me with what I wanted in a cab. Since I had experience with G&R, I continued to do business with them, specified them, and introduced them to the area. Then in 2000 I went to the University of Michigan and I continued using G&R, because I had already written them in Universities’ non-proprietary specs (when working for Schindler) and because they met my needs, satisfied what I needed, were always helpful and treated me well.”
Can you recall a time during a project when the staff at G&R helped solve or overcome a problem?
“Back then usually any issues related to delivery times. However: Gamp;R worked it out to where they could meet my needs on short notice and they always came through. You stay with what you know and who you trust. Most government institutions and colleges work on a timeline based on when students are and aren’t there. When school gets out at the end of April or beginning of May from the winter and/or spring semester starts, there’s only about 8-10, or 16-weeks to get projects done. And in many university projects you don’t find out if there’s funding until the very last minute–and time is of the essence.”
Especially if you have big projects.
“Big projects generally weren’t the issue, it’s was the repair we were concerned with because sometimes there was no indication [prior to the end of school] as to where and when the initiative would become approved to become a project. Because there’s so many different facets of university love for architectural engineering, construction…new projects and modernizations–to repair the interior of a cab-that usually falls to the elevator shop or the elevator people to make sure that it happens because the cost is a lesser dollar amount. It’s a different scenario than the outside world where, if you were one of the majors [manufacturers] you have this all planned out. You know when the start date is and when it ends. You don’t always have that luxury when you work in the schools–because somebody runs a cart through the back wall of an elevator because they didn’t know how to load it to start with, as an example. So, you rely on people that you do business with externally to help you out. As I said earlier, G&R has always done that…it’s been good.”
What would your advice be to someone asking if you’ve worked with G&R?
“You know, I’ve always supported the people who’ve helped me. That’s how you build a relationship. Make sure that they know your name and they know what to expect. You’re gonna throw them a “zinger” every now and then, and the folks at G&R know how to handle it. I’ve dealt with them for years, they’ve met my expectations and if they haven’t I’m not bashful and they know it. They know I have an urgency and they take care of it. Have we had our differences over the years? …not really. I’ve had expectations that had been hard on G&R, but I’ve also been given expectations that were hard on my staff and G&R, so… we’re all in it together. Because we worked close enough in the past I know what they can do and how they can do it, and if they can’t do it, I know that. That’s good. There’s always a “zinger”–it keeps life interesting…sometimes (laugh). “They’re good people.”