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20 Questions

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20 Questions

20 Questions with Michael Ficacci

Originally published
Originally published: 12/9/2021

Terry Tanker sat down with Michael Ficacci Vice President of Marketing, Testo North America. The two discussed muscle cars, RV’s and boats and also how technology can give you an edge. The two also discussed effectively communicating with staff, building team confidence, and the importance of training and education. 

1. What toys are in the garage?

I’ve always gravitated to the outdoors, even as a kid. Having a chance to make those same memories with my kids is priceless. That means a lot of time in Lake George, NY, with the boat and RV.

2. What is the most interesting thing you own?

A few years back, we had a unique opportunity to purchase a pre-revolutionary war, German-built stone house from 1754. Oh, if these walls could talk. 

3. What was the professional path to where you are today?

Oof, what a ride. Financial Planning Assistant, Technical Automotive Journalist, Marketing Assistant in IT, and 15 years later, Vice President of Marketing for Testo North America. 

4. Rumor has it you’re a muscle car guy? What are the top 3?

#1 1963 Corvette split-window #2 1971 Hemi Challenger #3 1968 GT500 Mustang

5. Golf, tennis or exercise?

Tennis is my game, but golf is easier on the knees. Regrettably, I play more golf than tennis. 

6. What business principles guide you?

Tough question to answer quickly as there are many levers to pull that drive growth. The #1 principle for Testo North America is an investment in people guided by our Managing Director, Bill Pezza. We have built and are continuing to build a committed team of exceptional people that drive our success day in and day out.   

7. Personally, how do you keep your business edge?

Technology across all corners of our business is changing so rapidly that you have to be willing to stop and listen. Listen to your people, listen to your customers, and shift accordingly. Unfortunately, one of the biggest pitfalls is getting stuck in old habits as technology is moving so rapidly.

8. Can you sum up your business philosophy for me?

Trust your core business for consistent value. Commit to portfolio diversification. Learn from mistakes. Take time with the big decisions.

9. What are your core organizational values, and how do they impact
your success?

Again, it goes back to the team. Testo North America is one of the largest instrumentation manufacturers in the world, and that is not possible if we don’t create an environment where people take pride in our products, enjoy working for the organization, and go home at night with a sense of pride.

10. What are the most effective elements in your communication strategy when dealing with your management team?

Be clear, concise and decisive. Manage conflict and ensure the team knows they have your support.  

11. The last 18 months have been challenging for business leaders.
What have you done to lead Testo through the pandemic and all that it has entailed?

In hindsight, there were three keys that drove us through the pandemic. #1 Build confidence in the team and be flexible to everyone’s needs and concerns. #2  Focus on training and education both internally and for our customers. #3 Lean on our investment to product diversification to weather the storm.

12. How should leaders be managing business risk in the current environment?

Such differences depend on the industry. Maybe you should be asking those in the food industry!  For Testo, the answer is a culture of responsible spending and portfolio diversification.

13. How do you develop a crisis management plan?

Testo North America celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020, and Testo as a global entity is in its
65th year. We lean on our long-standing commitment to our customers, the environment, and our employees to always be our guiding light during a crisis.

14. What fundamental business
areas do contractors have to focus on right now?

Education is key. Technological breakthroughs are revolutionizing many industries, and as equipment efficiencies increase, precision in instrumentation becomes paramount to success. 

15. Where do you think our industry will find its next-generation workforce?

Tough to answer but trade schools will play a major role in the next generation of the workforce, and it’s important for the industry to support those efforts.

16. How can business leaders promote “team concepts” with much of the workforce working remotely?

Creativity and forward-thinking. Thankfully, Testo had a good head start as we work so closely with the global teams. 

17. What is the most exciting thing happening at Testo right now?

We are leveraging data like never before with
App-based platforms that deliver data and make work easier and more efficient. Look for more to come!

18. What competitive advantages does Testo provide its customer?

Our commitment to our customers is second to none. Best in class service and precision engineering but ultimately, it’s our people. With Testo, you can be sure you can trust our products and services to deliver.

19. What should business leaders be focusing on right now?

Employee retention and company culture. You have to give it to the millennials for starting this trend. They are willing to work hard and learn but want flexibility in the work environment. Many employees are now sharing that view and why not? Good employees can get their work done on the moon. You just have to invest in good people. 

20. Do you have any parting words of wisdom?

Take care of your good people and they will take care of you. 

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