Outdoor Power Equipment

August 2017

Proudly serving the industry for which it was named for more than 50 years, Outdoor Power Equipment provides dealers who sell and service outdoor power equipment with valuable information to succeed in a competitive market.

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Page 37 of 51

regions taken over by others when he moved to Virginia Beach, Va., as a product manager for guide bars and saw chain. It was during that time that most Stihl distributors began selling Stihl chain exclusively and abandoned brands such as Carlton and Oregon. Appropriately impressed with Fred's leadership abilities, the Stihl family asked Fred to first establish and then lead a Canadian operation, where he'd be responsible for distribution of Stihl throughout all of Canada. Fred's performance in Canada resulted in him being asked to return to Virginia Beach as president of Stihl Inc., overseeing marketing, sales and the rapid expansion of Stihl's North America manufacturing operations. After serving Stihl for more than 45 years and leading the company from a moderately known brand to America's biggest- selling outdoor handheld power tool, Fred retired as Stihl Incorporated's longest-serving president. The Stihl family, not wishing to lose Fred's knowledge and influence, appointed him sole director and chairman of the board at Stihl Inc., a board of one, created solely to keep Fred in the game. During the research for this book, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Fred and Karen at their home in Virginia Beach. He and I discussed the book and reminisced about all things Stihl, the Stihl family, Stihl's unique marketing strategy, what Stihl had meant to his family, and so many others, as well as Fred's recent diagnosis with cancer. Just before Karen graciously drove me back to my hotel, I shook Fred's hand, patted him on the shoulder, and confirmed that I'd pray for him. We both knew it was likely our last earthly visit. Fred passed away soon thereafter on July 7, 2017. His passing left in me a wounded heart that won't soon be healed, if ever. OPE Stan Crader is the president of Stihl distributors Crader Distributing Company (CDC) in Marble Hill, Mo., and Blue Mountain Equipment (BME) in McKinney, Texas, as well as an author and lecturer. The Crader family has been selling Stihl since 1959 and serving as a Stihl distributor since 1960. Stan officially joined the company in 1971, and he has served as president of both CDC and BME for more than 25 years. He recalls their first shipment of Stihls, a pallet of 40 D24s arriving by train and his father hitting the road in search of dealers interested in selling Stihl. He attended his first Stihl distributor meeting in 1966, a 40th anniversary of Stihl's auspicious founding in Germany. During a more recent Stihl 40th anniversary in 2014, celebrating the 1974 opening of Stihl's manufacturing plant in Virginia Beach, Va., Stan was inspired to write a book titled Stihl American, profiling many of the people who pioneered Stihl's reintroduction to America. Stihl American will be available later this year. Stan has also authored three other Colby Series books — The Bridge, Paperboy, and The Longest Year — with all proceeds from the books benefiting the Resurrecting Lives Foundation, which supports the research and treatment of traumatic brain injuries for U.S. Veterans. For more information, visit www.stancrader.com. from the University of Iowa. He also served as president of the Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association (PPEMA). OPE: You were nominated by your peers as one of the "Most Influential People in the Green Industry." How do you feel that you influence other industry professionals? FJW: First of all, I am humbled by this honor since there are so many talented individuals who come to work every day motivated to make STIHL successful. As far as influencing others, I firmly believe that you lead by example and, through your actions, establish yourself as someone who is trustworthy and worth learning from. I believe that STIHL has taken its place as a leader in the industry primarily through our team's efforts to continually improve our products, processes and programs. It has been a wonderful experience for me to watch the entire industry push itself over the years to become more efficient, produce better products, and reduce our impact on the environment. OPE: What do you feel has been your biggest contribution to the Green Industry so far? And what do you see as your role in the future of the industry? FJW: I have always believed that as leaders we need to be part of the solution, not the problem. Part of that is to empower personnel to move beyond just doing their basic jobs and create an environment that encourages them to be active in the various organizations and associations in the Green Industry and in our community. STIHL has focused, in particular, on the future of the Green Industry, and our people are very active in youth- and education- oriented programs like Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days, Tree Care Industry Association Foundation (TCIAF) Student Career Days/Competition, National Association of State Park Directors Leadership School, and the National FFA. By supporting these programs, we believe that we are helping to strengthen the future of the Green Industry. As far as my role in the future, I think I have a few more years of active service to STIHL and to the industry, as well as to the local community. However, with two-cycle oil in my veins, I don't see "retirement" leading to separation from the OPE industry. I certainly hope that I can use my knowledge and experience as an advisor or consultant to the industry. OPE: Who has influenced you both personally and professionally? FJW: My father worked for STIHL, and it was through him that I became involved with the company nearly 40 years ago. One of his favorite quotes has always stuck with me, "Quality is like buying oats. If you want good, clean oats, you must pay a fair price. If you want oats that have already been through the horse, they are always cheaper." If you want a good, quality product, it isn't necessarily always the cheapest, but it is always worth the investment. At STIHL, employees, branches, distributors and COVER STORY | Fred J. Whyte 38 AUGUST 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com FLASHBACK Continued from page 37 FLASHBACK Continued on page 39

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