The Inner Circle acknowledges, Robert Cotton as a Top Pinnacle Expert

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., July 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Prominently featured in The Inner Circle, Robert Cotton is acknowledged as a Top Pinnacle Expert for his expertise in the field of Elevator and Escalator Consulting. Boasting more than 40 years in the field, Mr. Cotton is the owner of an elevator company in the San Francisco area; an elevator and escalator consultant; and an expert witness for litigation involving elevator/escalator failures and/or accidents. Having completed more than 1000 inspections nationally, he is considered one of the foremost experts in elevator and escalator matters. He explained that his consulting work mainly focuses on equipment failures that have caused injuries and/or damage, as well as due to floods or fire. Failure analysis is a forensic focus on electrical and mechanical failures of elevator and escalator systems which may include low-rise and high-rise buildings; high-speed high-rise multiple elevator groups; commercial and residential buildings; shopping malls; airports; transit agencies; and hospitals.

Mr. Cotton asserts that as an expert witness, he can be called upon either for the plaintiffs or the defendants to review evidence; inspect the equipment; determine the root cause of accidents or malfunctions; and give his factual opinion in court. He has been deposed more than 80 times, and has testified in at least eight jury trials. Mr. Cotton said that years ago elevators had old fashion designs using engineering hand-drawn on paper, and although they used roughly double the material we use today and were built like a locomotive, today’s elevators are designed, engineered, inspected, and tested per the prevailing codes on a continual basis.

Mr. Cotton advises that building owners renovate the equipment and keep up with technology advancements. Although that may be costly, it will ensure the reliability and longevity of the equipment that will avoid failures. “Today, unlike years ago, elevators have fire-rated doors, so fire won’t spread as easily throughout the building and there are additional safety sensors required to be in place. In fact, the committee that writes the national codes are reviewing mishaps and failures on a regular basis and determines what can be done to enhance safety. For instance, a Door Restrictor Device on an elevator is a secondary lock on the internal door of the elevator that unlocks only when the elevator is close to a landing, to prevent people from climbing out of a stuck elevator and falling down the shaft,” he explained. “The same holds true for escalators. As an example, a woman was seriously injured when the scarf around her neck became stuck in the moving handrail and pulled her down. So, the Handrail Inlet Device was employed by the code safety committee which required a safety switch at the entry points of the handrails that can sense an obstruction that immediately stops the escalator when activated, preventing such injuries.”

Looking to the future, Mr. Cotton aspires to continue to spread awareness that more of us realize how elevators, although not foolproof, are not something to fear nowadays, and must comply with safety codes and laws, and be routinely inspected and properly maintained so that their safety and reliability is ensured. Further, the expert said that with the sturdy way elevators are engineered today, they meet the code criteria; are far more computerized which is in contrast to the old days of utilizing electro-mechanical relays; and with computer-based controllers (the main brain of the system), almost everything is programmable and certainly much simpler and easier to adjust; trouble-shoot; pinpoint, and correct issues.

During Mr. Cotton’s career as a journeyman elevator mechanic, in 1995 while renovating four elevators at a hotel located in Union Square, San Francisco California, the main power switch located in the elevator machine room toward the roof of the building, had a sudden and unexpected electrical short and caused an arc-flash, that injured Mr. Cotton with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on 43% of his body, above the waist, requiring skin grafting. This was a life-changing experience on many levels. Mr. Cotton is an avid cyclist and has completed dozens and dozens of 100 and 200 mile one-day marathon rides throughout California. Fortunately, just completing four of these events within 30 days of the burn accident left him in tip-top physical condition and had a direct effect on his recovery. The rule of thumb for burn injuries, is one day in the hospital for each percentage of burns; Mr. Cotton was released from the burn ICU just 21 days after the accident, about ½ of the time based on the percentage of his burns (43%). Just 90 days from the date of the accident, Mr. Cotton completed his first 100-mile bicycle ride post-accident. This injury became an inspiration for Mr. Cotton to live life to the fullest and be thankful for every moment and get back to work as a mechanic and further his consulting efforts. One of the unknown blessings of the burn accident, was becoming acquainted with the Alicia Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, who coined the “STOP, DROP AND ROLL”, and provide support for burn survivors and their families. They offer a week-long summer camp in California for children of burn injuries ages 5 to 17, from all over the USA, known as “Champ-Camp”. Mr. Cotton volunteered as a Champ-Camp counselor for 17 years following his burn accident. This experience mentoring young burn survivors is one of the most rewarding things he has ever been involved with. Young burn survivors are often teased or never feel that they “fit in” because of their burn scars. This summer camp builds confidence in these amazing kids, and they become better prepared for their life. Mr. Cotton was burn-injured as an adult, and children who have been burn injured, have to have skin grafting and releases almost annually as they grow, because the burn injured skin and the skin that has been grafted does not have the same properties as normal skin, and does not accommodate the child’s growth.

Looking into the future, Mr. Cotton will continue to be intimately involved in an array of rewarding endeavors such as: mentoring burn survivors, immersing himself in the exhilarating activities of cycling, rock climbing, and snowboarding (not all at the same time), as well as embracing the joys of grandparenthood. Additionally, he aims to use his expertise in elevator-escalator consulting and serving as an expert witness, to keep his skills sharp and to contribute to enriching experiences.

Contact: Katherine Green, 516-825-5634, [email protected]

SOURCE The Inner Circle

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