When Anthony DiBiase and Frank Cervone bought an existing elevator inspection business in 2002, little did they know they’d shoot straight to the top floor of their field. Today Elevator Inspection Services Co., Inc. in Burr Ridge handles a combined 8,000 inspections a year in Chicago and the surrounding municipalities. To put it in perspective, that’s an average of 22 elevators a day, with the safety of millions riding on the work these men and their team do, day in and day out.
“In the past 11 years, we have grown the business by 75 percent,” says DiBiase, whose parents are of Calabrese and Neapolitan ancestry respectively. (Cervone has roots in Naples, too.) “We are probably the second largest elevator inspection company in the Chicago area.”
And if there’s anything they prize after safety, it’s personal service. “We do as much as we can for our customers,” DiBiase says. “We personalize our service for them in terms of scheduling; we try to make things easier for them.”
DiBiase and Cervone came by their passion after years of experience working with elevators on the Near West Side. Both were elevator mechanics for the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 2 prior to entering their current business.
Elevator Inspection Services has 17 inspectors on staff, along with two salespeople and three office staffers. The majority of their inspectors have 35 years experience in the elevator industry. Cervone oversees field operations, while DiBiase handles office operations.
But if they’re shorthanded, both bosses can get out in the field and perform elevator inspections. (When problems are found, the clients then turn to third parties for the necessary repairs.)
And talk about hitting the heights: Some of Chicago’s tallest and proudest buildings are on their client list. “We do inspections for the Hancock Tower, Trump Tower, Wrigley Field and O’Hare Airport,” DiBiase says, “but we also service the small customer. We treat everyone the same.”
That’s in part because DiBiase sees the trade through the eyes of someone who truly cares about elevator safety. He and his crew inspect elevators for code and safety violations, and print the certificates of inspection for municipalities outside Chicago. Right now, 45 municipalities retain their services, including Evanston, Oak Brook, Skokie and Rosemont.
“We’re elevator men; we are not salespeople,” DiBiase says. “We’ve built elevators and maintained them, and we can identify an unsafe condition with or without a code book.”
Some situations, however, transcend any municipal law or mechanical flaw. “Our mission is safety, and all of our men, with all of their experience before working for us, have come across close calls at one time or another. So they are safety minded, perhaps to a fault.”
Or perhaps not. DiBiase is understandably proud that his company has completed tens of thousands of inspections since its founding without a single accident resulting from a missed detail on the job.
In one out of four elevators with problems, the issue is an emergency phone malfunction. “The elevator can run properly, but if someone gets stuck in an elevator on a Friday evening, they could be stuck there all weekend long,” DiBiase says.
And even though he’s a through-and-through professional, DiBiase also takes such matters very personally. “When I see a defect in an elevator, I think of my family. If they were in that elevator, they could get hurt.”
Elevator Inspection Services Co., Inc.
745 McClintock Drive, Suite 235
Burr Ridge, IL 60527