OPEI holds 66th annual meeting

Kohler’s Tom Cromwell welcomed as incoming chairman.

June 29, 2018
GCI Staff
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute held its 66th annual meeting in Bonita Springs, Fla., recently, focusing on messages of innovation and industry advancement.

“Our Annual Meeting is the premier opportunity for members, suppliers, vendors, and financiers to engage in a relaxed atmosphere, discuss the most important issues facing the industry today, and to do some business,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI President and CEO. “With more than 100 members, we have record levels of membership and engagement, and the Annual Meeting is the place where they come together.”

Chief among industry updates heard at the meeting, the trade association introduced its new statistics vendor, Vault Consulting, which showcased updates to the members-only program’s capabilities and categories. OPEI staff also shared the latest forecast update for key categories of equipment.

John Dunlap, OPEI consultant and former chairman of the California Air Resources Board, outlined the potential market impact of new regulatory schemes in California on the outdoor power equipment industry in the state and nationwide.

Keynote addresses from futurist Vivek Wadwha and NASA Mars Rover team leader Adam Steltzner highlighted the power of technology, teams, innovation, and exploration to advance companies and civilization.

The OPEI board of directors met in conjunction with the Annual Meeting, installing its 2018-19 leadership. The board bid outgoing chairman Dan Ariens, chairman and CEO, Ariens Company, a fond farewell and welcomed incoming chairman Tom Cromwell, Group President, Kohler Power, Kohler Company.

The Board also has appointed Earl Bennett, President, Husqvarna Professional Products, to the Board.
“Earl Bennett is a longtime advocate for the outdoor power equipment industry, and we welcome his perspective on the OPEI Board of Directors,” Kiser said.

The 2018-2019 OPEI board of directors includes: 
--Tom Cromwell, Group President, Kohler Power, Kohler Company, Chair
--Bjoern Fischer, President, STIHL, Vice Chair 
--Rick Olson, Chairman, President and CEO, The Toro Company, Secretary/Treasurer
--Dan Ariens, Chairman and CEO, Ariens Company, Immediate Past Chair
--Earl Bennett, President, Professional Products, Husqvarna, Director
--Edward B. Cohen, Vice President, Government & Industry Relations, American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Director
--Tim Dorsey, President, Echo Incorporated, Director 
--Tom Duncan, President and CEO, Positec USA, Inc., Director 
--Peter Hampton, President and CEO, Active Exhaust Corporation, Director 
--Jean Hlay, President and COO, MTD Products, Inc., Director 
--Tim Merrett, Vice President, Global Platform Turf & Utility, Deere and Company, Director
--Lee Sowell, President, Outdoor Products, Techtronic Industries, Director 
--Todd Teske, Chairman, President and CEO, Briggs and Stratton Corporation, Director
--Mark Wagner, President and CEO, Club Car, LLC, Director 
--Joe Wright, President and CEO, Excel Industries, Director