Stan Kanevsky holds a degree in Industrial Engineering and an MBA in Finance and spent nearly 20 years in various IT leadership roles most notably at Johnson & Johnson before leaving corporate America in 2018 to pursue his goals of entrepreneurship as President and CEO of Airsled.
Q: Please tell us about your career journey to date, and how you became involved with Airsled.
A: After a few different roles after college, I landed at Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in their IT organization. I took advantage of J&J’s tuition reimbursement program and went for my MBA at night. One of my classes paired me with Airsled as part of a program to connect MBA students with small, local businesses looking for help developing growth plans. I was immediately struck not only by their novel products but also by the incredible yet unrealized potential of Airsled’s hovercraft-like technology. That was almost 26 years ago. In 2018 when I was evaluating my career direction and considering more entrepreneurial pursuits, I took a chance and reached out to Airsled’s ownership and learned that the business was hanging on by a thread. I still felt strongly that Airsled was a “diamond in the rough” with incredible potential but lacked vision and real commitment from ownership to meaningfully transform. I ended up acquiring what by many standards was a dying business because I firmly believed Airsled offered incredible solutions for countless load movement challenges but simply failed at marketing itself to create awareness about its products, technology, and capabilities. From that moment, I poured all my energy into expanding the product portfolio, marketing the brand, and creating distribution opportunities to reach customers around the world.
Q: What do you believe are the major concerns surrounding safety involving the moving of heavy and sensitive equipment?
A: Our customers, regardless of industry, inevitably identify with the risk of bodily injury, risk of property and/or equipment damage, and risk of insufficient manpower for the task as their major concerns when having to move heavy and sensitive equipment. Other concerns could be more job or project-specific but, in the end, people simply want to feel safe and confident when moving heavy, sensitive equipment whether it’s in their home, place of business, or job site. Whether you’re the one tasked with performing the physical move or have responsibility for planning and oversight, the concerns are the same.
Q: How does Airsled cater to these concerns for its diverse clientele?
A: Airsled’s formation in 1982 came from the realization that appliance service and repair technicians faced these concerns and struggles on nearly a daily basis without any pragmatic or cost-effective solutions. Airsled’s founder, with whom I still occasionally collaborate, developed low-pressure, air film technology to give the appliance industry a unique tool that helped service techs safely move heavy, cumbersome objects such as fridges, ovens, and laundry equipment. Over time and especially in the past five years, the product line has substantially grown to better serve countless industries where people move common objects such as appliances and furniture to massive industrial equipment weighing more than 10 tons. Early in my tenure, I started developing videos as well as posting customer-supplied videos on Airsled’s YouTube channel. As people from different industries discovered our videos, they contacted us with countless questions and interesting project requirements. We routinely use this customer interaction to inform our R&D strategy to create products and accessories tied to real-world, load movement problems brought to our attention. It’s very common for me to speak one moment with a general contractor who has questions about moving a luxury range on marble flooring and the next to speak with a senior leader from a fortune 50 company responsible for safety programs or loss prevention. We truly strive to engage with everyone who contacts us, which is how we partnered with Infors HT to develop the right Airsled solution for moving their multitrons during servicing.
Q: What does Airsled's Vending Moving bring to the table for service technicians and laboratory personnel?
A: Airsled’s Vending Mover offers service technicians and lab personnel a highly portable, lightweight solution that can be both an alternative and/or complement to traditional products such as pallet jacks, hand trucks, and dollies used to move heavy equipment. The Vending Mover’s incredibly thin, aluminum air beams make it easy to slide under loads that sit low to the ground without the need to first lift the equipment. Tight spaces and delicate floors can be a challenge for a bulky pallet jack but not an Airsled Vending Mover. Raised floors are susceptible to point load damage from caster wheels when moving heavy objects but that is not the case with an Airsled. Accessing equipment when installed side by side frequently involves moving multiple items but with a Vending Mover, you can easily pull out just one piece. The Vending Mover, like all Airsled products, is a “finesse” tool that can shine in cases where traditional load movement products are unsuitable or undesirable. We feel an Airsled system is a smart option to have in your arsenal of load movement solutions.
Q: Airsled's products are highly customizable for use; what configurations are available?
A: Airsled has a range of standard products designed to lift loads anywhere from 450 to 4,200 lbs. The lift rating of our systems is a function of blower strength, air beam size, and air beam quantity. Customers can browse our website to determine which model and configuration meet their requirements and purchase the unit directly online. Typically, customers purchase systems with two air beams, but we have systems with three air beams meant for applications where the load size, footprint, and weight distribution are more irregular. In some cases, customers use multiple systems concurrently depending on equipment size. We have developed custom systems with air beams as large as 2 ft. wide x 10 ft and powered by our most potent blowers to move equipment weighing more than 10 tons. The power of our low-pressure air film technology is impressive especially when you consider that the main requirement is access to a standard, electrical outlet as opposed to high-pressure, compressed air which is uncommon in many environments, including labs.
Q: What is next for Airsled?
A: Since 1982, Airsled’s hovercraft-like products have been used to safely move countless objects that rest directly on the floor. From working with our customers and studying the solution landscape, we saw an opportunity to develop a device to lift, lower and support loads that are elevated off the ground or rest on counters. In the appliance industry, this includes double-wall ovens, over-the-range microwaves, and stacked dryers. In the laboratory setting, an example would be a heavy and delicate benchtop device like a mass spectrometer. This new Airsled product is called the LiftCart and there are two versions, one rated to lift 275 lbs. and one rated to lift 400 lbs. The Airsled LiftCart is launching in June and is a significant milestone because it’s the first solution in Airsled’s history not based on low-pressure, air film technology. But there is something even more interesting we plan to launch in 2023 but folks will simply need to subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when that product is released.