Remembering Our Founder John Lacz

In 1965 John A. Lacz founded LAN Associates. A humble beginning in a small office, at the time he could not imagine that over half a century later his company would still be going strong and employing nearly 100 people across four offices. For those who knew him well his success is no surprise.

Photo of John Lacz

Getting LAN Associates Off the Ground

LAN Associates began as a small engineering and planning firm located in Paterson, NJ that consisted of three people: John Lacz along with a part-time draftsman, and a part-time secretary. His business plan was simple, “Get work, produce on schedule and budget, make payroll, and keep clients happy.”

LAN History Video Cover
Play Video

LAN Associates began as a small engineering and planning firm located in Paterson, NJ that consisted of three people: John Lacz along with a part-time draftsman, and a part-time secretary. His business plan was simple, “Get work, produce on schedule and budget, make payroll, and keep clients happy.”

His method was simple too. An Air Force veteran with an Engineering Degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, he worked 50 to 60-hour weeks while raising three children. John’s hard work paid off, and after five years he took the next logical step for any successful business; he began to expand his company.

He relocated LAN to a bigger office in Hawthorne, NJ and in 1978 he hired LAN’s current President Ken Karle. A few years later in 1983 he brought on board LAN’s now CEO Ronald Panicucci along with Stephen Secora who would eventually become Vice President and Company Secretary.

The influx of new talent, coupled with a culture that encouraged employees with diverse skillsets to pursue their interests, put the company on the path to becoming the full-service engineering, planning, architecture, and surveying firm it is today.

“Get work, produce on schedule and budget, make payroll, and keep clients happy.”

– LAN Founder John Lacz on Business Philosophy

Building a Legacy

John Lacz believed the key to success was hiring the right people, assigning them challenging projects, and having faith you can safely delegate responsibility. He rewarded success and very deliberately designed LAN as a “C” corporation, offering his employees the opportunity to buy shares in the company and share in its success. This basic tenet of John’s management style is still ingrained in LAN’s current corporate culture. To this day, LAN still grows by encouraging employees to pursue new revenue streams and giving them the opportunities to take on new challenges unencumbered.

In 2001, LAN Associates moved to Midland Park, NJ where it is currently headquartered in a large office that accommodates our continued growth. In addition to the NJ office, LAN also has offices in Goshen, NY, Voorhees, NJ, and Bethlehem, PA.

Although John stepped down from full-time service in 2006, he remained a Director and Officer, and assisted on special projects. He has influenced the lives of every LAN employee past or present. The impact of his leadership lives on through the culture he created at the firm he started in a small Paterson, NJ office in 1965.

Those at LAN who worked with him directly speak of him often and impart the wisdom gained from working under his direction. The longevity and success of LAN Associates and the acumen and vision of LAN’s current management team is directly attributed to John’s management style. This style is often summed up by a single indelible quote, “Make every management decision with your mind, your heart, and your wallet.”

Photo of John Lacz and Kenneth Karle
John Lacz Outside of Work

John’s Personal Story

John A. Lacz was born in Paterson, New Jersey on August 22, 1932. He graduated from Don Bosco Boarding School in Ramsey and went on to earn an M.E. degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1953. He spent his career building his company, LAN Associates, and working as a Professional Engineer and Professional Planner who was licensed in an impressive seven states and the District of Columbia. John was also a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force where he had experience with large operations before receiving an honorable discharge.

Before he founded LAN, he was a Project Engineer for Curtis-Wright Research Division in Pennsylvania and a Project Engineer/Manager at Atlantic Research Corp. He was also a member of a team studying limited warfare for Special Projects at the US Department of Defense.

John passed away on February 5, 2020. His legacy lives on through his family and his contributions to the profession he dedicated his life to and the company he founded.  

Ronald Panicucci LAN CEO Head Shot

Ronald Panicucci

CEO

“John Lacz was an amazing mentor for many of us, setting a very high bar for the ongoing management of LAN.”

Kenneth Karle LAN President Head Shot

Kenneth Karle

President

“He was interested in providing opportunity for others. A testimony to Mr. Lacz’s character is that more than a few of us at LAN have never had another job.”