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Crane Hot Line Publisher Franci Motz Passes, Celebration of Life Planned


June 8, 2021 - The lifting industry and many of us who work in it lost a talented and beloved colleague and friend when Franci Motz passed away on May 27 after a short illness.

She was 46.

Franci was publisher of Crane Hot Line and Lift and Access, both produced by Heartland Communications Group.

She had joined the company in October 2009 as digital media director for Maximum Capacity Media (MCM), of which Heartland was part owner. Heartland later bought MCM and assimilated it into the parent company.

Right from the beginning, Franci’s organizational skill, creativity, marketing acumen, and entrepreneurial attitude benefited both the company and the industry.

Thanks to her education at Paradise Valley Community College and almost nine years as an account executive at Bigfish Publications, Franci brought a wealth of digital marketing experience to MCM and Heartland.

She understood the power of reaching potential customers and gathering leads digitally.

She used that knowledge to help choose vendors and design both the Crane Hot Line and Lift and Access websites.

Franci was also instrumental in setting up the social media platforms for both magazines, for creating the company’s Lifting 360 weekly electronic newsletter, and for developing the company’s ability to help clients reach readers with targeted email blasts.

Almost from the start, she organized and managed industry events like MCM’s Crane and Rigging Conferences and Crane and Hoist Conferences held in the U.S. and Canada.

For those shows, Franci handled everything: choosing and booking the venue; managing the exhibit space; handling exhibitors, speakers, and vendors; managing the hotel rooms; promoting the event; and working with sponsors.

One former colleague said, “Franci had the rare ability to see the big picture and also keep firm control of all the details.”

That combination of skills also let Franci create or manage many other industry-benefiting programs, from the Lift and Access Showcase events, to Crane Operator Rodeos, the LLEAP Awards, the Top Trainer competition, webinars, and the Crane Hot Line and Lift and Access exhibits at major trade shows.

Franci’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to always look for new and better ways to serve and support advertisers, readers, and the industry.

But what people remember most about Franci is what a great person she was. I’d worked with Franci since 2011, and I always appreciated how honest, supportive, and funny she was. Also, I saw how she inspired loyalty, trust, and friendship in nearly everyone she met. In fact, many former colleagues still called her often just to talk and stay in touch with her.

Franci is survived by her life partner Jason Furrow and their son Kade; her very close sister and best friend Kristin Pride-Chase (who is an advertising account manager at Heartland); Kristin’s family; her sister Jessica Pride; her mother Carol Pride; and extended family.

She truly will be missed.

Funeral and Celebration of Life

Franci’s funeral will be held Thursday, June 10, at 10:00 a.m. at the Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary and Cemetery, 7777 W. 29th Ave., Wheat Ridge, Colorado, 80033 (www.dignitymemorial.com/).

The service will be followed by burial at 11:00 a.m., also at Crown Hill.

There will be no visitation before the service, and at this time, no memorials have been established.

A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, June 11, 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m., at the Bella Rosa Golf Course Clubhouse, 5830 Bella Rosa Parkway, Frederick, Colorado, 80504 (www.bellarosagolf.com).

The family is planning the event as a potluck with a cash bar.

All of Franci's family, friends, clients, and colleagues are welcome to attend and share their favorite memories of  her.

By Mike Larson

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