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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6 AUGUST 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com OPE industry loses a legend: Fred J. Whyte After recovering from the initial shock and sadness over learning about the passing of Fred J. Whyte on July 7 and reflecting on my 20 years working as editor of OPE, I could not think of a single person who has had a more profound impact on the OPE industry during my tenure than him (see stories on pages 10 and 36-39). Fred not only worked a remarkable 45 years in the Stihl organization, including 23 highly successful years as the president of Stihl Inc. from 1992 through 2015, but his influence extended far beyond Stihl. Fred played prominent leadership roles with the Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association (PPEMA) and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), and he was instrumental in uniting PPEMA with OPEI. And even when he finally announced his retirement at the end of 2015, Stihl still felt the need to retain his services as the sole director and chairman of a one-person board. Despite all of Fred's success, I also can't recall another person in the OPE industry who was more humble and personable than him. When talking to Fred, he had the unique ability to make you feel as if you were the most important person in the room. I'll never forget an encounter with him at OPEI's 52nd annual meeting in Hershey, Pa., in 2004. After I formally introduced him to my boss, then-publisher Steve Brackett, Fred paid me the ultimate compliment by saying, "Whatever you're paying this guy, you should double it!" Fred left lasting impressions on nearly everyone who crossed his path, as evidenced by how many people felt compelled to share their thoughts about him following his passing. OPEI issued the following statement: The industry has lost a true leader and great friend. Fred J. Whyte was one of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's longest-serving board members, including acting as chair. "Fred was a leader in the truest sense of the word, a friend and mentor to me," said Kris Kiser, president & CEO of OPEI. "I routinely sought Fred's guidance and direction. He sought solutions and fundamentally understood compromise in the furtherance of consensus. This is a genuine skill and key in operating a successful trade association of competitors. We will miss him. "He was tough, smart, intuitive and just plain fun to be around. He had a terrific sense of humor and infectious laugh. He was a solid, decent, caring man." Kiser added, "Lucky the TurfMutt and I visited Fred in his Virginia Beach offices at Stihl. We shared a passion and love for our dogs. We would share dog stories and our pictures." In Fred's honor, OPEI will make a donation to the Virginia Beach SPCA, an organization close to his heart. Rest in peace, our friend. OPEI Chairman Dan Ariens, who is the chairman and CEO at Ariens Company, said, "Fred Whyte was a wonderful man. He easily made friends in the industry. His strong leadership pulled two trade associations — PPEMA and OPEI — together at a critical time. Merging the handheld industry together with OPEI was historic, and set OPEI as the pre-eminent authority on power equipment in North America. The Stihl corporation was blessed with the leadership Fred brought to the brand — the results are obvious. At Ariens Company, we wish his wife Karen and the Whyte family our sincerest condolences to a man who passed away far too early. We will all miss Fred." UPFRONT Editor Steve Noe | snoe@epgmediallc.com OPE STAFF Group Publisher David Voll Associate Publisher John Kmitta Editor Steve Noe Art Director Phil Tippin Production Manager Angela Scott DIRECT MAIL LIST SALES MeritDirect, Jim Scova, (914) 368-1012; e-mail jscova@MeritDirect.com REPRINT SERVICE Robin Cooper, email rcooper@epgmediallc.com EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Founder and Owner OPE Consulting Services Jeff Sheets Senior Advisor Servantage Dixie Sales (retired) Jim Starmer Director of Sales and Marketing Central Power Distributors, Inc. John D. Hedges EDITORIAL OFFICES EPG Media & Specialty Information 10405 6th Ave. N., Suite 210 Minneapolis, MN 55441 Phone: (763) 383-4407 ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVES: EAST Chris Pelikan Senior Account Manager Phone: (763) 383-4408 cpelikan@epgmediallc.com MIDWEST Peggy Tupper Senior Account Manager Phone: (763) 383-4429 ptupper@epgmediallc.com WEST Leslie Palmer Senior Account Manager Phone: (763) 383-4460 lpalmer@epgmediallc.com CIRCULATION For subscription inquiries and customer service questions, please call (847) 513-6025 or fax (763) 383-4497 customerservice@epgmediallc.com business hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST Publisher's Notice: We assume no respon- sibility for the validity of advertising claims in connection with items appearing in Outdoor Power Equipment. Commercial product names are used for the convenience of the reader. Mention of a commercial product does not imply endorse- ment by Outdoor Power Equipment or EPG Media & Specialty Information, or preference over similar products not mentioned. Fred J. Whyte Continued on page 39

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