…And I can hardly believe it. Back on January 2, 1991, The Siefkes Group opened its door (back then just one office; one door). It was with great anticipation along with a few jitters. I started my agency with the blessing of Pete Hatt, who ran BP&N Advertising. They were divesting PR from the portfolio and since I worked with both Kenworth and PLC at the agency, Pete kindly (and thankfully) allowed me to continue working with them, but under my own banner. With that, I was launched.
Over the years it’s been a great ride, with only a few bumps due in part to the cyclical nature of the trucking industry. Oh, and a few bumps when the dot.com bust hit, leaving me 0-3 with companies that went bye-bye. Anyone need a ton of stock certificates for wallpaper? Anyone remember Rodi Power Systems? They really did have a cool engine, but alas, they didn’t make it. Neither did my early retirement dreams.
But the good vastly outweighed the “bad.” I had the privilege of writing a history book for Kenworth – “The First 75 Years.” That was a great experience. It’s also been great fun and rewarding to launch several new clients to the trade press. And, I’ve always enjoyed the work…the writing and media relations…and strategizing.
So, I’ve marched on over the years working with great clients – including Kenworth and PacLease who still work with us…I hope until the day I give up the keyboard. I’ve also been fortunate to work with great people at the agency. Some of you might remember Paul Owen – great writer/marketer who eventually started his own successful PR company. And, Mike Wasem – another terrific writer and PR mind who was with me for many years. He’s now at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Another was Dan Ramsay who eventually went to the client side – working over at Kenworth.
And there was Drew Ryder – boy was he good. One of the best editors ever at Heavy Duty Trucking, and we were fortunate to have him for several years when he relocated to Washington. As many of you know, he eventually moved to Minnesota to start his own technology business -- Feed Logic. He’s doing well.
And, who could forget Max Kvidera. Tremendous man and business writer who was with me for many years. He was back part-time with us until a tragic accident took his life a few years back. I think of him often. I miss him.
And there’s the present – counting the last 10 years. Stephen Petit, who was an editor with Today’s Trucking magazine, started working with me in 2004, eventually moving down to the Issaquah area from Toronto. 2005 was the year Gregory Van Tighem joined the firm. He’s a kind-hearted and media savvy PR pro. Dedicated.
In 2006, Stephen’s name went on the door and we became SiefkesPetit Communications. It had a nice ring to it…still does. It’s been a great partnership as we celebrate 10 years together as SiefkesPetit. The best business partner, writer/PR pro…not to mention friend…a guy could ask for.
After 25 years, I’m still energized and love what I do. Especially the writing and interaction with wonderful clients.
But, mostly, I enjoy the transportation and trucking industry and the editors who cover it. Many have been in the business as long as I have…some even longer. There is mutual respect, mutual fondness…and a mutual love of the industry. It’s an industry that is ever-changing and evolving. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s mine. I fell into the industry about 30 years ago. Who knew I’d still be in it all these years later. But the trucking industry has been good to me. And, for that I’m thankful.
I’m not sure I’ll follow up this posting 25 years from now…on our 50th anniversary...I’ll be, ummm….81 at that time. When I’m that age I hope to have my health, still have fishing pole in hand, golf clubs in the car, Julie by my side traveling and exploring…and my three terrific kids bringing over the grandkids for dinner. Life will be great in 25 years….but alas… it’s great now, too.