On Oct. 30, Dave Kanicki’s 15-year career with Farm Equipment and Ag Equipment Intelligence was celebrated by the staff of Lessiter Media at the Wisconsin offices. In addition to remarks by President Mike Lessiter and Chairman Frank Lessiter, the luncheon included several gifts, a surprise visit from his son, Paul, and a “special” edition of Ag Equipment Intelligence’s On The Record video broadcast, which featured personally recorded memories from staff and the industry.
Mike Lessiter’s remarks included memories and successes from their association that began in 1992, when he went to work for Kanicki in publishing titles for the foundry industry. About 18 months after Lessiter joined the family business, Kanicki (then living in suburban Chicago) was in the office for a lunch appointment when an editor resigned. A freelance assignment on skid-steer loaders that day soon turned into the idea of the pair working together again. Before any commitments, however, he had Kanicki join him in Arizona for the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Assn. Convention and dealer visits so he could size up the industry and vice versa. It proved to be a fit. Lessiter hired him, Kanicki moved to Wisconsin to work on Farm Equipment and Ag Equipment Intelligence (Ag Industry Watch as it was then known) and the rest is history.
Kanicki’s arrival was a defining moment for Farm Equipment, which had been acquired the year before from a large publisher who’d decided to shut it down. “One month after Dave’s start, and with an overnight restructuring of editorial and sales, our new magazine was focused in its mission and on its way.”
Kanicki’s presence led to higher expectations for the entire company. “We were about 15 employees back then, and we shared hotel rooms when on the road. After rooming with Dave on multiple occasions,” Lessiter jokes, “we committed to a minimum profitability threshold so to afford our own hotel rooms on the road.”
So after 30-plus years of covering the foundry industry, Kanicki joined the company with little knowledge of current farming practices or machinery distribution. But immediately, he made it his business to know the business.
Over the last several years, Kanicki pivoted from Farm Equipment to more fully concentrate on the Ag Equipment Intelligence profit center and overseeing several areas of growth, including a standalone website, special reports, customized research and the Executive Briefings event now in its second year.
As impressive as his output was in producing content and data for Ag Equipment Intelligence, he will be remembered for asking the tough, unpopular questions of manufacturers, and the mentorship and guidance provided to his fellow staffers as they developed.
Succeeding Kanicki is Kim Schmidt, executive editor of Farm Equipment, who has also now assumed that role for Ag Equipment Intelligence.