Leaving Its Mark Beyond the Big Apple
Nexise Manufacturing, LLC beautifies properties across the northeastern US
Abounding opportunities may have brought Daniel Karran’s family to New York, but the love of design is why they stayed. Daniel’s father, Narad Karran, immigrated to the U.S. from Guyana more than 40 years ago and started a career in the elevator cab industry. Throughout his career, he established two cab manufacturing companies in New York City—one of which was later absorbed by his son’s own design company, Nexise Manufacturing, LLC (Nexise). Daniel’s decision appears to have been a smart move, too. Under his leadership, Nexise has expanded into several large cities and supplies other elevator companies with custom-designed products. Today, Nexise provides the design, modernization and installation of elevator cabs, entrances and doors, elevator flooring and pads and architectural metal work across the northeastern U.S. and beyond.
Daniel didn’t always envision a career in the elevator cab industry. Before establishing Nexise in 2018, he worked in the legal sector and in real estate in New York City. However, Daniel could not escape his love for design. He says, “I learned this business because I grew up in the industry. There’s a lot of nostalgia behind what I do—I have very fond memories of watching my family engage in the design and manufacturing process.”
Planting Roots in Brooklyn
Although Nexise’s headquarters is in Manhattan, the company maintains a manufacturing and warehouse space in Brooklyn. Daniel says moving the production facility to Brooklyn just made sense. “We chose a location in an industrial area so we could help this neighborhood continue to grow economically,” he adds. Nexise employs 27 people and the 10,000-square-foot space includes bays reserved for painting, woodworking and metal finishing.
Daniel says, “Every job we do is custom, which means it takes more than one person to complete it. In fact, a client recently contacted me with an emergency. So, a staff member and I dropped what we were doing to head out to the job site to take care of it immediately.” It is that kind of customer service that makes Nexise clients feel like they are important. “You never know when something could be damaged. Whether it’s purely an aesthetic feature or a damaged handrail or a malfunctioning light, we will repair it.” The Nexise team prides itself on assuring clients’ needs are met in a timely manner with high-quality custom products. In turn, this attitude fosters long-term client relationships.
Quality Craftsmanship Never Goes Out of Style
Daniel is passionate when he talks about the design process. “I really enjoy partnering with a client to find something custom suited to their building. I spend a lot of time with an owner to discover what we can do that is different and special for them,” he says. But, the creative process also presents its fair share of challenges. “There is definitely an art to designing elevator cabs,” Daniel explains. “You can’t just use any materials you want. Clearly, there’s a focus, first on fire safety and to adhering to weight limitations. But to me, that’s part of the fun—each project is like going on a creative journey. One of our current three elevator projects includes custom wood veneer panels and a custom radius ceiling with gold leaf.”
The JW Marriott Essex House (Essex House) in Midtown Manhattan was such a creative challenge. The hotel was built in 1931 and has been a member of the Historic Hotels of America since 1994. The hotel is known worldwide for its iconic “Essex House” red rooftop sign. Earlier this year, hotel representatives asked Nexise to install custom flooring in all passenger elevator cabs. The representatives specified the elevator floor design should match the attention to detail and custom flourishes found throughout the hotel, including reusing (if possible) the center of the original elevator flooring that featured a bronze plate with the hotel’s “E.H.” logo. Daniel says, “I was so excited and grateful for the opportunity to repurpose the E.H logo safety plate into the cab to continue honoring the rich history the hotel represents.”
Daniel may claim to prefer new construction and building an elevator from scratch, but Essex House is an exception. At heart, Daniel is a native New Yorker who loved the opportunity to help preserve a Midtown icon and express his deep connection to his roots.
A Unified Theme
Daniel, who is President and CEO of Nexise, isn’t solely focused on his work. He desires to enhance life in public and private spaces, which carries over into the company’s culture. Daniel employs several members of his family, including his father, who serves as General Manager, and his sister Vanessa Hemraj, who is Director of Marketing. Daniel feels very strongly about providing a place where employees (even if they aren’t related by blood) feel they are valued, and there is an inviting family atmosphere in the Brooklyn and Manhattan locations.
Speaking of feeling valued, Daniel recounts a recent tragedy for one of his employees. He shares, “An employee lost his home and it was hard for him to share that news because he thought he would lose his job. He was wrong. When I heard, we made a companywide announcement and banded together on his family’s behalf by donating money, clothes, food and a hotel room.” Daniel says that he won’t stop here. “I’m also working to help him find a new place to live. We all took it to heart and jumped in to take care of him. I am so proud of this atmosphere we have created.”
And treating one another with value also extends to the community. Volunteering is a huge part of work/life balance at Nexise. Daniel says, “We are very big on serving our community. Whether it’s raising money or visiting a nursing home, we do something different one Saturday every month. I encourage employees to bring suggestions about what is important to them and we rotate. In fact, we recently raised $7,000 for autism—this was my suggestion as my nephew is autistic.”
Beyond the Norm
To Daniel, going above and beyond is something he does regularly. One example last year is a four-car elevator project where a vendor experienced a heavy delay on the materials. “We were three weeks behind schedule and my client was ready to start leasing his building and could not afford the delay. The vendor received the materials, worked day and night, and delivered a five-week project within a week and a half. We ran 24-hour shifts in the field and shop to complete this project and to keep up with other project demands,” he says.
If there is one thing Daniel wants his clients to know, it’s that there isn’t a job his company can’t handle—and handle well. “I don’t shy away from the difficult projects; I enjoy solving problems for my clients,” he says. For Daniel, this is also where his father’s expertise shines. “With so many years in the industry, he’s really got the brains to solve any problem that may come our way.”
Recently, Daniel and his father were on a job that required demolishing an elevator. They realized the remaining elevator shell was in such poor shape, it wasn’t going to work. “We were able to examine the project out in the field and provide a cost-effective solution on the spot,” Daniel says. “That quick, in-the-field response is another one of our specialties.”
Ultimately, everyone Daniel hires seems to be naturally curious and eager to learn. His sister Vanessa spearheads a design and development team that brainstorms elevator design ideas. According to Daniel, “We involve everybody. I’m trying to encourage a new generation of elevator mechanics and manufacturers to have the same attributes that existed a decade or two ago.” He explains further, “It’s an era where quality actually meant something. Today it’s all about how quickly you can get something done and sometimes quality is overlooked. At Nexise, we strive for 100% perfection—always.” Based on the high-quality, specialty designed elevator cabs the firm has completed, Daniel is true to his word.