Louis Blaiotta, Sr., founder and Chairman of the Board of Columbia Elevator Products Co., Inc. is a former member of NAESA Advisory Board. He has been an active participant in ANSI/ASME A17 activities since 1963; he served on the Main, Hoistway and Code Coordinating Committees until 1995, when he was elected to a Lifetime Honorary Membership on the ANSI Main Committee. Mr. Blaiotta is a charter member of the ASME/QEI Committee, in addition to having served as the NAEC Chairman of Codes and Standards for the past 2 decades. He is a member the International Association of Elevator Engineers and a former member of the National Fire Protection Association. In 1991 he received the prestigious NAEC Distinguished Service Award for his technical and philanthropic contributions to the elevator industry.
Lou Blaiotta was born to immigrant parents, in a cold water flat in East Harlem in New York City. When he was 22 months old, his mother and expectant brother both died during childbirth, and, when he was 13, his father died in a fall while repairing a construction hoist at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center (an event later commemorated by the naming of the Columbia Elevator Products Company). He was raised by his grandmother, who migrated to the U.S. at age 72 when his mother passed.
Between 1949 and 1954, Mr. Blaiotta attended the Pratt Institute School of Architecture and began his career as an office boy at the Williamsburg Steel Products Co., later rising to the position of draftsman. After a 2-year stint with the Army, he returned to Williamburg in 1956 in various capacities, including engineering, construction manager, estimating, sales and a side project designing the Williamsburg Elevator Products catalog.
In 1958, Mr. Blaiotta became sales manager of the Williamsburg Elevator Products Division. In the mid-60s, he presented his employers, the Katz family of Williamsburg Steel Prod. Co., Inc., with a "different" concept of marketing elevator entrances and cabs to independent elevator contractors, but the Katzes did not accept it. He gave them 9 months notice that he wished to pursue his concept on his own. This resulted in the formation of the Columbia Elevator Products Co., Inc.; Williamsburg granted the new venture $25,000 worth of merchandise credit and served as Columbia's primary source of door panels for the first 8 years of its existence.