Editor’s Note: In this column, we get to know key players across the imaging channel on a more personal level.
Since we are celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Cannata Report, we thought it would be only fitting that this issue’s subject be the founder of the publication, Frank Cannata. After 35 years, he’s still going strong, and without a doubt, he is one of the industry’s most influential icons, a distinction, that in his most humble way, he would dismiss. No matter, there are plenty of others in the industry from dealers to OEMs, to vendors, to his peers in the press and analyst community, who will tell you just how important he’s been and continues to be to this industry. Indeed, the dealer community and this industry couldn’t find a bigger booster or friend than Frank.
Fun Facts: Frank is an excellent dancer—just watch him partner with and lead his wife Carol on the dance floor. Among other styles, Frank is adept at the Charleston, the Fox Trot, the Waltz, and disco. He also buys his wife Carol fresh flowers every week.
Scott: What was your first car?
Frank: 1948 Oldsmobile while I was in the Marine Corps.
Scott: What’s the worst job you ever had, when and where?
Frank: Working at American Can Company on the graveyard shift while in college. Believe it or not, all we did was make beer cans.
Scott: What’s the best professional decision you ever made over the past 35 years?
Frank: Conducting an annual dealer survey that led to an awards–and ultimately and awards and charities ceremony.
Scott: What’s the worst professional decision you made during the past 35 years?
Frank: There are so many that can qualify for the worst, but I think not wanting to build a business model that entailed the employment of many people. I just preferred working alone with help from contract workers.
Scott: What’s the best advice you ever received from someone inside the industry?
Frank: Take care of the customer no matter what.
Scott: What professional accomplishment during the past 35 years are you most proud?
Frank: Adding a charitable component to our annual awards dinner.
Scott: Who’s the boss in your house, you or Carol?
Frank: Without question—Carol. Even our pet Princeton (who unfortunately passed away) had more to say about what we did as a family than I did.
Scott: I know you’re a sports fan and have been to quite a few baseball games over the years. Who’s the most exciting player you’ve even seen play?
Frank: There are so many—Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays were all electrifying. If I had pick one, Jackie Robinson.
Scott: What historical figure do you most admire?
Frank: Franklin Roosevelt, followed by Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Each of them dealt with unbelievable challenges, and their leadership not only allowed us to survive and prosper, but it also taught us that we are our brother’s keeper.
Scott: What’s the last great book you’ve read?
Frank: “The Gallant Men” by Donald Stratton and Ken Gire. Stratton was a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Scott: What’s the one movie you could watch again and again?
Scott: You’ve been to a lot of dealer meetings over the years and heard a lot of keynote speakers. Who was the best?
Frank: Bob Dole.
Scott: What was the most memorable dealer meeting you attended during the past 35 years?
Frank: Toshiba’s 2000 Dealer Meeting in Maui, Hawaii—that was truly spectacular. That said, last year’s 2016 Konica Minolta meeting in Aspen, Colorado is a close second.
Scott: What’s the one expression or phrase that drives you crazy every time you hear it?
Frank: I am not able to do that!
Scott: If you’re going to have a last meal, what’s on the menu?
Scott: What’s the one food that would definitely not be on the menu?
Scott: Your best vacation, where and when was it?
Frank: Carol and I in Italy at different times over the years.
Scott: You’re pinned down in a foxhole. Which three people from our industry—past or present—do you want by your side?
Frank: Otto (BOB) Pabst got me into the copier business; Joe Castrianni taught me the benefit of working with dealers; and Michael Fisch, a Holocaust survivor, taught me how to live. All three had tremendous courage and integrity.
Scott: What’s the one thing you’re really good at that your friends and peers in the industry would be surprised to hear?
Frank: Tending bar. I made a lot of money doing that and had a lot of fun.
Scott: If you could choose any career other than the one you did, what would it be?
Frank: Anything to do with specializing in American History: a historian, teacher, or writer of American History.