OPEI welcomes new board members; announces grand opening plans for new headquarters

The board of directors for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) recently met in Miami, Fla. to discuss the association’s strategic initiatives for 2018 and beyond. The board also elected two new members.

“Growth and engagement are the watchwords of OPEI this year,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “We discussed the blockbuster growth of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s signature trade show, as well as the many opportunities and challenges facing our members. We are also very excited about the opening of our new headquarters building in May.”

At the meeting, the board elected two new members: Mark Wagner, president, Club Car LLC, and Joseph C. Wright, president and CEO, Excel Industries.

The final plans for OPEI’s new headquarters building at 1605 King Street in Alexandria, Va. also were finalized, with the grand opening and ribbon cutting set for May 7 from noon to 2 p.m. The event is open to OPEI members, trade press, and guests who will tour the new facilities. Both OPEI’s Handheld Products and Engines and Fuels committees will be meeting that week in the new conference center.

The new OPEI headquarters includes a state-of-the-art conference center that can seat 50 people for in-person and virtual meetings. This new headquarters office will enable OPEI members around the country and overseas to participate more fully in association business and activities.

The OPEI board of directors is chaired by Daniel T. Ariens, chairman and CEO, Ariens Company. The vice chair is Tom Cromwell, group president – power, Kohler Company. The secretary/treasurer is Bjoern Fischer, president, Stihl Incorporated. The immediate past chair is Tim Merrett, vice president, global platform – turf & utility – Deere & Company.

Rounding out the board are:

  • Ed Cohen, vice president, government and industry relations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Tim Dorsey, president, Echo Incorporated
  • Tom Duncan, president and CEO, Positec
  • Peter Hampton, president, Active Exhaust Corporation
  • Jean Hlay, president and chief operating officer, MTD Products, Inc.
  • Jeff Hohler, president, consumer brands division, Husqvarna Professional Products
  • Rick Olson, president and CEO, The Toro Company
  • Lee Sowell, president, outdoor products, Techtronic Industries Power Equipment
  • Todd Teske, chairman, president and CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
  • Mark Wagner, president, Club Car, LLC
  • Joe Wright, president and CEO, Excel Industries


The next board meeting will be in conjunction with the OPEI annual meeting held June 16-18, 2018, in Bonita Springs, Fla.