Dr. Marja-Liisa Siikonen.

Dr. Marja-Liisa Siikonen. (Photo: © Ulrike Lotze)

“There is a huge gap to fill”


Dr. Marja-Liisa Siikonen is the new Chairwoman and Programme Director of Elevcon 2023. She was available to LIFTjournal for a brief interview.

Why did you decide to accept the chairmanship of Elevcon?
I was surprised when Gil Stier contacted me. After discussing it with several people, I decided to accept the invitation. As being good friends with Ami Lustig and his family I felt I owe this to him, and this is my way to show respect to his work.

What is your goal – in which direction should the event develop?
After the big losses of the chairman Ami Lustig, and Joseph Stier, the organizer of the Elevcon event, there is a huge gap to fill. Elevcon has been, and is still, truly an international conference for elevator engineers as could be seen in Prague. The subjects of the presentations covered various fields of elevator and escalator technology which is the goal in the future as well. With IAEE we are in the process of recruiting more members and expanding the activity for the members. These changes will happen in small steps.

What is your conclusion after the first Elevcon you were responsible for?
As this was the first conference for me to arrange, there were a lot of things to consider. I have participated in the Elevcon conference for ten times and remember quite well how Dr. Gina Barney and Ami Lustig used to chair the conferences. I just followed their example. As a novelty, we established a Scientific Committee of 17 persons. The received papers were reviewed and commented on by the Scientific Committee which guaranteed high quality to the papers. Also, the presentations were interesting, and it would be nice to show them to a wider audience.

Almost half of the attendees were speakers and journalists – what's the reason for this low number?
There may be several reasons, but Covid-19 certainly caused us to lose some attendees, since the conference had to be rescheduled a few times since 2020. Elevcon was always unique not only for presenting and listening to the latest technical achievements, but for networking and creating contacts. All professionals from around the world can meet and exchange knowledge on an intimate platform with not just presentations but also networking time, evening, and social events. Elevcon 2023 came up to our expectations and the spirit was enthusiastic. All in all, Elevcon was a great success!

More information: https://elevcon.com/