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CNY Elevator Inspections seeks growth with work in Syracuse

By Journal Staff

Date:

SYRACUSE  —  The owners of CNY Elevator Inspections, Inc. say they’re thrilled to be able to put the company to work in their home city of Syracuse.

“In the last few weeks, we’ve been able to offer our services to city businesses,” says Dan Winslow, senior consultant and one of four partners who own the business. “For the first time.”

CNY Elevator Inspections performs inspections on elevators that are required every six months under New York State law. The company also witnesses annual manufacturer tests of elevators and performs initial-acceptance inspections of newly installed elevators.

Its clients include private building owners, the City of Ithaca, the Empire State Plaza in Albany, and colleges, including several State University of New York schools. Other clients include school districts such as the Liverpool Central School District, North Syracuse Central School District, and the East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District. 

Yet the firm could not perform inspections in the City of Syracuse until the beginning of 2012. That’s because the city, which is responsible for enforcing state elevator-inspection laws within its limits, only approved one firm to perform inspections in the municipality. 

The firm was St. Louis–based National Elevator Inspection Services, Inc., an arm of the French Bureau Veritas Group. CNY Elevator Inspections unsuccessfully challenged that arrangement in a 2007 lawsuit, which was dismissed because it was not filed soon enough to be taken into consideration.

Then in December 2011, the Syracuse Common Council voted to allow additional qualified third-party inspection firms to work on buildings in the city. As of Jan. 6, the city had approved three inspection companies: National Elevator Inspection Services; Glendale, N.Y.–based Insparisk; and CNY Elevator Inspections.

CNY Elevator Inspections already has verbal commitments to inspect about 30 buildings within the city. And, the firm expects to continue to build its business on its home turf.

“We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from clients within the city,” says Chris Duke, elevator systems consultant and one of the firm’s four partners.

Revenue at CNY Elevator Inspections typically grows about 15 percent a year, says Duke, who declined to disclose specific totals. It will likely continue to grow at that rate in 2012, but could increase to 20 percent thanks to the newly opened territory, he says.

“Those [previous yearly] increases have been in areas that we had to reach out to,” he says. “This is our base. We’re very optimistic.”

CNY Elevator Inspections employs two full-time inspectors and four part-time inspectors, in addition to its four owners. The firm will likely hire two more part-time inspectors this year.

Its inspectors are mostly retired elevator mechanics, Duke says. That gives them expertise in elevators of different types and ages.

“They make great inspectors,” he says. “They know a lot of older equipment.”

The inspectors are based from different areas of New York State, including Binghamton, Syracuse, Long Island, Poughkeepsie, and Albany. CNY Elevator Inspections typically does work across the state, Duke says.

Duke and Winslow own CNY Elevator Inspections along with James Cosbey, a certified elevator inspector, and Keith Robison, CFO and director of information technology.

 

CNY Elevator Group

The four men also own a second business, CNY Elevator Consultants LLC. They operate the two separate companies alongside each other as the CNY Elevator Group.

CNY Elevator Consultants provides design services for elevators and escalators for architects, engineers, facility managers, and property owners.

For example, the consulting firm can help assemble specifications for an elevator replacement part that a building owner could then bid out to manufacturers. Other services include facility assessments, software-based traffic analyses, and accessibility studies.

The consulting company covers a wider geographic range than the inspecting firm. Duke says he’s visited clients as far away as Puerto Rico.

Neither company installs or repairs elevators. Simultaneously inspecting, consulting, and installing could pose a conflict of interest, according to Duke.

A third company also operates under the CNY Elevator Group umbrella — CNY Elevator Engineering, which is independently owned by elevator engineer Virginia King.

The companies making up CNY Elevator Group share an administrative assistant and a bookkeeper. They also share a headquarters in suite 400 at 327 W. Fayette St. in Syracuse.

The group moved into the headquarters, which is 2,700 square feet, in October. It had been located in a 2,400-square-foot space at 126 North Salina St.

CNY Elevator Group leases the new space from JF Real Estate, which renovated the offices before the elevator firms moved in, according to Duke. The elevator group spent about $10,000 to install a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, which can regulate temperatures in its server room; wire the space for computers; and buy new furniture.  

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