Lakeview Vineyard Equipment Inc. was founded as Lakeview Harvesters in 2003 by Niagara grape growers William Falk & Arnie Nickel. In their own farming operations, they knew that mechanization was important and decided to start importing equipment that was almost exclusively made in France into North America. Gregoire Grape Harvesters were their first choice of supplier as they firmly believe they offer premium harvest results without sacrificing productivity or reliability. They realized that to achieve any kind of scale as an industry or a business, that it would be important to achieve buy in from other growers in North America and took a grass roots and service based approach to selling equipment. Through relentless presence at trade shows, demo days, and cold calls throughout their trade area they quickly established Lakeview Harvesters as the “go to” supplier for new and used vineyard equipment. By 2007, the demand for mechanization had become so grand, they needed some help! Keeping their family farms, William and Arnie passed the torch to Joe Pillitteri and his business partner Jesse Willms - and so Lakeview Vineyard Equipment Inc. was born.
Joe Pillitteri grew up with his parents and two sisters on a peach farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Always the class clown, Joe had passion for very few things outside of comedy – tractors. He considered following in his father’s footsteps to be able to work the land and drive tractors. As he grew up, Joe pursued Business Marketing degree from McMaster University and following graduation joined John Deere Company as a Territory Manager and eventually Dealer Development Manager.
Along the way, Joe married his wife Rebecca Hagman and they had three beautiful children. When news of a fourth child came, Joe decided to leave corporate life to pursue a livelihood that would allow him to spend more time with his family. He also began performing as a comedian for charitable causes and eventually became an in demand emcee and corporate comedian for large scale events. Giving back to the community is a pillar not only of Lakeview Vineyard Equipment but of Joe and his family as well. Using his comedic talents to help build a better Niagara is a huge privilege for Joe and one that he takes very seriously. He has been recognized with awards for his work with charity but ultimately he’s a firm believer that praise matters as much as criticism and that, in the words of his mom, “It’s best just to get up in the morning and try to do good work.”
Jesse was born and raised in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Growing up on his parents’ 14-acre fruit farm inspired a love of farming and equipment. He and his brother were avid motocross racers and spent countless nights with their fathers’ tools working on their bikes. After high school, Jesse started working at Lakeview Vineyard Equipment doing routine oil changes, sweeping floors, and helping out senior mechanics. In 2009, with the sponsorship of Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, he started a 3-year Farm Equipment Technician Apprenticeship at Fanshawe College. It is here that he learned about all aspects of diagnosing, repairing, and properly setting up all types of farm equipment. Jesse made the transition into sales in 2013 and thoroughly enjoys working directly with customers from operations of all sizes and requiring all types of equipment. In his spare time, Jesse enjoys camping and playing baseball with his wife and their three kids.
MEET THE TEAM
MARKETING | SERVICE | WARRANTY
Meagan started at Lakeview Vineyard Equipment in 2018. She graduated from the Winery and Viticulture Technician Program at Niagara College in 2015 and has been in agriculture for the last 13 years. Meagan manages our marketing platforms, handles warranty applications and assists in the service office. Meagan has been lucky to have travelled to many places in the world, but her favourite place will always be Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada.
SALES & CUSTOMER RELATIONS
As Vineyard Manager for 15 years, Duarte has developed extensive knowledge on all types of vineyard/orchard farm equipment. Duarte specializes in soil management and canopy maintenance implementations and can drive just about anything with 4 wheels! He can speak English and Portuguese. When not at Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, Duarte is spending time with his wife and two young daughters.
WIND MACHINE SPECIALIST
Ken came to us from OMAFRA after working with them for 36 years., where he worked as the Tender Fruit and Grape Specialist for the province of Ontario. Now a Wind Machine Specialist, Ken has been with us for the last 8 years when we became a certified Orchard-Rite dealer. Outside of Lakeview Vineyard Equipment, Ken owns an 11-acre vineyard equipped with an Orchard-Rite 2600.