- Generac Announces $73 Million Expansion
- Association of Equipment Manufacturers, And Other Manufacturers Challenging North Dakota Dealership Law
- Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. Reports Record Nets Sales for the Second Quarter and the First Six Months of 2017
- What’s ‘Empathic Design’ and Why is This Bob-Cat Executive so Fired Up About It?
- Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Announces 13% Rise In Q2 Profit
- Thoughts for the Day
- Briggs and Stratton Expanding Production in Three States
- MTD Completes Transaction With Robomow
- Brexit Threatens Bankruptcy for Family Firms – Nikolas Stihl
- OPEI Purchases New Headquarters and Location to Give Members an Opportunity to Engage
- Husqvarna Interim Report January – June 2017
- Stanley Black & Decker Commits $2 Million to the Campaign for Hartford Hospital
Generac Plans $73 Million Expansion
Generac announced recently that it will expand its headquarters in Waukesha and manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin to create at least 400 new jobs in the next five years.
Generac, which manufactures power generation and engine-powered products, plans to spend $73 million to expand its corporate headquarters, research and development, and production operations.
The company will receive up to $10 million in enterprise zone tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. for the project through 2021.
Generac will renovate buildings and equipment at its facilities in Waukesha, Oshkosh, Jefferson, Eagle, Whitewater and Berlin.
“As we’ve grown and added facilities throughout Wisconsin, it became clear that we needed to invest in a cutting-edge space at our corporate headquarters allowing us to dramatically advance our key product development and engineering activities,” Generac President and CEO Aaron Jagdfeld said in the release. “We’ve been on our current campus since 1965, but a lot has changed since then. This project will help us realize efficiencies at our headquarters facility that will drive continued innovation.”
While the company expands its home operation, it has grown recently through global acquisitions. Since 2012, Generac acquired firms in Germany, Italy and Mexico. Those new businesses helped sales increase last quarter 16%, to $331.8 million. Earnings for the quarter fell to $25.8 million, driven by a weak market for home power generators.
The improvements will enable Generac to make prototypes and tests products faster.
According to the release, state tax credits awarded to the company will be dependent on how many jobs are created, investment in employee training and capital spent on the project.
Generac said it will add at least 400 jobs. It currently has about 2,000 employees in Wisconsin.
“In addition to the jobs created by this project, this expansion will enable Generac to usher in a new era of innovation and develop products to reach new markets and position the company for future growth,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of the WEDC. “That is good news for southeastern Wisconsin and the entire state.”
Association of Equipment Manufacturers, And Other Manufacturers Challenging North Dakota Dealership Law
The Assn. of Equipment Manufacturers along with AGCO Corp., CNH Industrial, Deere & Co. and Kubota Tractor Corp. have filed suit to block a North Dakota dealer protection law that was scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1.
Last March, North Dakota signed into law the Farm Equipment Dealer Bill of Rights legislation (SB 2289) that addressed several manufacturer contract issues that was sponsored and supported by the North Dakota Implement Dealers Assn. Areas covered included the prohibition of mandatory equipment and parts purchases, minimum order requirements, and “purity” requirements stipulating the separation of facilities/personnel/display space/etc. It also addressed the requirement that manufacturers reimburse dealers for warranty parts, labor and transportation at the respective dealer’s non-warranty customer pay rate.
Other issues addressed by SB 2289 include prohibitions regarding dealership terminations, transparent and reasonable performance requirements, limitations regarding warranty and incentive payment chargebacks, and the establishment of a fair process through which dealers may transfer or sell their dealership.
In its suit the manufacturers say, “Senate Bill 2289 creates arguably the most restrictive dealership law in the entire country. Both individually and in combination, the provisions of Senate Bill 2289 impose unprecedented restrictions on the ability of farm equipment manufacturers to enforce new and existing contracts with dealers, to maintain their federally protected trademark rights, to enforce dealership appearance and performance standards, and to monitor or prevent warranty and incentive payment fraud.”
In a note to NDIDA dealer members, association president and CEO Matthew Larsgaard, said, “This type of manufacturer initiated lawsuit is not a new concept. We have seen both automobile and farm equipment manufacturers sue several states on the East Coast with similar arguments regarding the ‘constitutionality’ of state dealer franchise laws. In every case, the courts ruled in favor of the dealers.”
Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. Reports Record Nets Sales for the Second Quarter and the First Six Months of 2017
Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. (NASDAQ: OBCI) announced today record net sales for the second quarter and the first six months of 2017. For the second quarter of 2017, net sales were approximately $9.9 million, compared to approximately $8.7 million for the second quarter of 2016, an increase of approximately 14% or $1.2 million. For the first six months of 2017, net sales were approximately $18.3 million, compared to approximately $15.5 million for the first six months of 2016, an increase of approximately 18% or $2.8 million.
Ocean Bio-Chem. CEO & President Peter Dornau commented, “We are pleased to be able to announce these record results. In the case of our six months results, this is the fifth consecutive year net sales reached record levels for the first six month of the year. Our performance underscores the continuing success of our investment in advertising and marketing efforts, which has facilitated increased brand awareness and acceptance of our high-quality Star brite® and Star Tron® products.”
Mr. Dornau continued, “Our second quarter net sales were also exceptionally strong, with net sales approaching $10 million. These results reflect increased purchases of both Star brite® and Star Tron® products by several of the Company’s major customers.”
Mr. Dornau concluded: “In the third quarter, the Company will continue to invest in advertising and marketing to support our Star brite®, Star Tron® and Performacide® products, as well as new product initiatives.”
About Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc.
Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. manufactures, markets and distributes a broad line of appearance and maintenance products for the marine, automotive, power sports, recreational vehicle and outdoor power equipment markets under the Star brite®, Star Tron®, Odor Star®, Outdoor Collection and other brand names within the United States of America and Canada. In addition, the Company produces private label formulations of many of its products for various customers and provides custom blending and packaging services for these and other products. The Company also manufactures, markets and distributes a line of disinfectant, sanitizing and deodorizing products under the Star brite® and Performacide® brand names.
Schiller Grounds Care Inc., the parent company of Johnson Creek-based Bob-Cat Mowers, knows what its customers want — sometimes even before they realize it.
A top priority for Pat Cappucci, president and chief operating officer, is executing a strategy he calls “empathic design.” The company’s 200 production employees manufacture six brands of landscape equipment.
Bob-Cat mowers, which range in price from $3,999 to $13,000, are intended for commercial users, but also for owners of large properties who want high-end, commercial-quality equipment.
Bob-Cat’s Wisconsin roots run deep. The first machine labeled a Bob-Cat was actually a commercial snow-thrower built by Wisconsin Marine Co. in Lake Mills.
“For the Bob-Cat brand, we did what I’ve learned throughout my whole career: ask the customers what the brand means to them and then build around that,” Cappucci said. “We involve our customers in the entire breadth of the brand, from messaging to product testing, and that has helped revitalize the Bob-Cat name.”
For Cappucci, the strategy is intentional and never-ending.
“We observe them in their environment, observe them using the product,” he said. “We understand from them what they’re trying to get out of the product.”
I asked Cappucci to share insights about how the Bob-Cat strategy of empathic design is executed.
Ask customers what the brand means to them: “The Bob-Cat brand promise features three pillars: quality of cut, durability and ease of ownership. That’s not just marketing-speak. We went out to the customers and asked them what the brand means to them and why they bought it,” Cappucci said.
Observe how customers use the products: “Sometimes customers are able to tell you what they want, but sometimes they can’t, and you just have to see it for yourself,” he said. “We work in the field with the customers who use our mowers so that we can help serve them the best.” This approach led the company to re-engineer its QuickCat 36-inch mower to better fit urban properties with narrow gates.
Listen to customers: “We manufacture mowers for both homeowners and commercial landscapers, but we found that the ‘professional’ message works for both. We learn a lot from homeowners, but one takeaway we’ve learned is that they look at what the pros are using. In short, if you win the pros over, you’ll win the consumers over too.”
Let customers test the products: “In the product development phase, we bring in customers to test our products against the same pillars that we built the brand on. The customer tests it, and we adjust and tweak to make sure that when the product hits the market, it can deliver on the promise, the very same promise that the customers helped with from the beginning.”
Steve Jagler is the business editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. C-Level stands for high-ranking executives, typically those with “chief” in their titles.
Title: President and chief operating officer
Company: Schiller Grounds Care Inc., which is based in Southampton, Pa., and operates a manufacturing plant in Johnson Creek
Previous experience: Executive positions at Becton Dickinson, 3M, Toro and Select Comfort
Education: Bachelor of science, mechanical engineering, Marquette University; master’s degree, business administration, Carlson School at the University of Minnesota
Family: Wife, Julie; daughter, Mia; guinea pig, Max.
Best advice ever received: “Family comes first, and never stop chasing your dreams; anything is possible.”
Favorite movie: “The Godfather”
Favorite musician: Bruce Springsteen
Favorite Wisconsin restaurant: Ward’s House of Prime, Milwaukee.
Personal: “I grew up in Paterson, N.J., in an ethnic Italian neighborhood. I was the first person in my family to move away from home to go to school, and everyone thought the only thing cool about Milwaukee was ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Laverne and Shirley.
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. (SWK) reported earnings for its second quarter that gained ground compared to the same period last year.
The company said its bottom line totaled $306.6 million, or $2.01 per share. This was up from $271.5 million, or $1.84 per share, in last year’s second quarter.
Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.96 per share, according figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.
The company said revenue for the quarter rose 10.2% to $3.23 billion. This was up from $2.93 billion last year.
Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. earnings at a glance:
- Earnings (Q2): $306.6 Mln. vs. $271.5 Mln. last year.
- Earnings Growth (Y-o-Y): 12.9% -EPS (Q2): $2.01 vs. $1.84 last year.
- EPS Growth (Y-o-Y): 9.2%
- Analysts Estimate: $1.96 -Revenue (Q2): $3.23 Bln vs. $2.93 Bln last year.
- Revenue Change (Y-o-Y): 10.2%
- Guidance: Full year EPS guidance: $7.18 – $7.38
MTD Completes Transaction With Robomow, Making One Company With More Robotics Technology And Greater Distribution Worldwide
F. Robotics Acquisitions Ltd, the makers of Robomow a leading brand of environmentally friendly, robotic residential lawn mowers sold mainly in Europe is now a subsidiary of MTD Products Inc.
The transaction, which closed as planned on July 2, 2017, will enable MTD to employ Robomow’s progressive technology and broad line of robotic products under MTD’s brands in Europe and North America; while Robomow will benefit from MTD’s broader outdoor power equipment portfolio, sales and marketing resources, plus extensive global network of dealers.
Robotic technology for residential lawns has already taken hold in Europe, and the category is growing globally at an annual rate exceeding 15%. MTD is already the leader in robotics for golf course putting greens with the Cub Cadet RG3, and now with Robomow, the company further expands its portfolio of robotic offerings.
In Europe, North America and elsewhere in the world, MTD will be marketing the Robomow portfolio under MTD’s Cub Cadet and WOLF-Garten brands, as well as its newly acquired Robomow brand.
Robomow’s operations will remain headquartered in Pardesiya, Israel, and its present management team will continue to lead the organization toward rapid growth and innovation with support from MTD’s European, North American and Asia-Pacific divisions.
MTD Products Inc is a worldwide leader in outdoor power equipment with manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia, and distribution around the globe. MTD manufactures and distributes equipment such as mowers, snow throwers, trimmers, chain saws, utility vehicles and hand tools for both residential and professional lawn and landscape markets. Founded 85 years ago and headquartered in Valley City, Ohio, MTD’s engineering expertise and state-of-the-art facilities are known for innovation and award-winning products for brands including Cub Cadet, WOLF-Garten, Troy-Bilt, Rover and Remington among others. MTD has earned a reputation around the world for excellence in quality, customer service and value; and, seeks to passionately create, build and deliver great products and services that consumers all over the world enjoy using to improve and beautify lawns and gardens. To learn more, visit www.mtdproducts.com.
Brexit talks are deeply worrying Germany’s family-run companies, which make up the bulk of the country’s business interests in Britain. A fact-finding trip to London only intensified fears.
If you ask Nikolas Stihl, chairman of the family-owned motor saw company Stihl, Brexit will be bad, whatever shape it takes. He’s deeply worried about the future of his company’s sixth-largest market, and he’s not alone.
The 57-year old was among a group of 30 businessmen from family-run firms that recently undertook a fact-finding mission to London to get a sense of what might be in store for them.
It’s a little-known fact that around 90 percent of the 2,500 German companies with business operations in Britain are family-owned firms like Stihl. The country’s exit from the European Union will impact many of them and may even bankrupt some.
“The effects could in parts be very severe for family companies,” Alfons Schneider, a board member of the Foundation of Family Businesses in Germany and Europe, said at a briefing in the German embassy in London.
Economic ties between continental Europe and Britain had evolved over decades, he said. “To smash or reverse them through Brexit would result in maximum damage.”
Britain is Germany’s third-biggest export market. Germany exported goods worth €86 billion, or $99 billion, last year, ranging from cars to gummy bears. Imports from Britain amounted to some €35 billion.
Mr. Stihl said this is good reason for Britain to remain an important business partner after Brexit. He said there were “various successful models” that the Brexit negotiators in Brussels could adopt, such as those of non-EU members Norway or Switzerland, which have access to the EU’s single market.
But divorce talks between Britain and the EU aren’t heading in that direction. EU and British negotiators met again this week in Brussels, and, as things stand, Britain doesn’t want to accept the free movement of people or the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain — preconditions for a Norwegian or Swiss-type deal.
The clock is ticking: on March 30, 2019, Britain’s EU membership will end. The two sides have to strike a deal by then, or reach a transitional agreement. The latter would be a bad outcome because it would prolong uncertainty, said the entrepreneurs gathered in London.
“If there’s no planning certainty, many companies will wait and see and that means there won’t be investments,” said Hinrich Mählmann, the chief executive of Otto Fuchs, a components supplier to the auto and aerospace industry whose subsidiary Schüco sells building facades in Britain.
British hopes that German companies will lobby the German government to agree concessions for Britain will be dashed, said the managers. “That’s wishful thinking,” said Mr. Stihl. “It’s difficult in negotiations to get everything and give nothing. There will have to be compromises.”
He said he was worried about new rules that would come into force once Britain switches from being an EU member to a so-called third country. It would mean that a motor saw that requires only one certification for the entire EU market would have to go through a further certification process in Britain. That would increase costs and end up hurting consumers, he warned.
Stihl and other German companies already raised their prices for the British market following the June 23 referendum on Brexit last year.
“It hits consumers,” said Mr. Mählmann, pointing out that Britain is reliant on imports. He warned Britain not to abandon freedom of movement because that would hit industries like the construction sector which employed many EU citizens who could move back home.
Family businesses are also worried about the impact of Brexit on inheritance tax. Under current rules, the number of people German firms employ in Britain is included in their total workforce, the size of which determines the tax relief they get when company assets are transferred to heirs.
Brexit could mean that British workers are no longer taken into account in the tax calculation as Britain will have third-country status. This could hit the level of tax relief.
Kai Wärn, President and CEO:
“The Husqvarna Group is continuing to implement its profitable growth strategy following the positive execution of its margin improvement activities in recent years. Sales, operating income and margin as well as cash flow increased in the first half of the year. The three divisions with growth targets had a very positive development, effectively capitalizing on an overall good demand in areas such as robotic mowers, battery-powered products and watering products. Going forward we will continue to invest in strategic growth initiatives to further strengthen our position. The Consumer Brands Division continues to focus on margin improvement where cost and efficiency measures, in parallel to increased product development, remain imperative. However due to the challenging U.S. retail market, the previously anticipated margin improvement is now expected to be slower.
Group net sales in the second quarter was 8% higher adjusted for currency and increased in all divisions. Operating income increased 16% to SEK 2,002m (1,729) due to the higher volume and a positive currency impact which was partially offset by higher costs for our growth initiatives. The operating margin for the Group continued to improve and was 15.3% (15.0) in the quarter and 9.6% (8.6) for the rolling twelve month period.
Sales in the Husqvarna Division increased 5% adjusted for currency, and the operating income rose 15% to SEK 1,186m (1,031). Europe continued as the growth driver largely as a result of good growth in battery-powered products including robotic lawn mowers. The Gardena Division added another quarter of strong performance. Sales increased with 11% adjusted for currency with growth in all product categories, particularly in watering. Operating income rose 26% to 565m (449).
From a sales perspective Consumer Brands also had a favorable development with top-line growth of 9%. Operating income however declined to SEK 80m (147), reflecting a challenging and competitive business environment in the North American retail market, as well as unfavorable product and regional mix. To further improve efficiency in the supply chain footprint, the quarter was impacted by one-time cost items of close to SEK 30m.
The Construction Division delivered another strong quarter, with currency adjusted sales growing 16%, whereof organic growth was 2%. Operating income increased 30% to SEK 233m (179). The acquisition of HTC, the floor grinding solutions market leader was finalized in May, further strengthening our product portfolio and ability to better serve our customers in the prioritized concrete surfaces and floors segment.”
Second quarter 2017
Net sales increased to SEK 13,069m (11,504), corresponding to a currency adjusted* growth of 8%.
Operating income increased 16% to SEK 2,002m (1,729), corresponding to a margin of 15.3% (15.0).
Changes in exchange rates, net of raw material costs, positively impacted operating income by around SEK 110m.
Operating working capital* as a percentage of net sales for the last twelve months was 26.8% (27.2).
Earnings per share after dilution increased 11% to SEK 2.43 (2.19).
Briggs and Stratton Expanding Production in Three States
Briggs and Stratton Corp. announced a “business optimization program” expected to generate up to $35 million in savings annually by fiscal 2019.
The plan, which will cost $50 million to $55 million, includes expanding production of Vanguard commercial engines into the company’s existing large engine plants, adding capacity for Ferris commercial mowers at a new facility, implementing an upgraded enterprise resource planning system and other “operational excellence efficiency improvements.”
The company sources the majority of Vanguard engines overseas under a joint venture with Daihatsu Motor Co. The engines are used in a number of applications including commercial turf care, construction, fire and rescue, and golf course equipment. Briggs will be expanding production at its Auburn, Alabama and Statesboro, Georgia facilities.
Briggs plans to begin production of its Ferris commercial mowers in a new facility near its Munnsville, New York operation during the second half of fiscal 2018. The company will look to sell the current facility and a remote warehouse in fiscal 2019.
Todd Teske, Briggs chairman, president and chief executive officer, said the company has grown sales of commercial-oriented products by $180 million, or 70 percent, over the past five years. The new program would allow for “continued profitable growth.”
The company set a record for commercial-type product sales in fiscal 2017 at $434 million, a 7 percent increase. Revenue overall was down 1.3 percent, to $1.79 billion. Teske attributed the drop to lower-than-expected shipments of residential outdoor power equipment, merchandising inventory changes by North American channel partners and regional pockets of suboptimal growing conditions.
Net income for the year was $56.7 million, up from $26.6 million last year, although the company did incur the same level of pension settlement or restructuring expenses as fiscal 2016. Adjusted net income was up 3 percent, from $55 million. Earnings improved to $1.31 per diluted share from 60 cents last year, or an adjusted $1.25.
For the fourth quarter, net income improved from $5.4 million to $19.7 million, although it was down slightly compared to 2016’s adjusted figure of $20.1 million. Adjusted earnings were flat at 46 cents per diluted share, but up from a reported 12 cents last year.
Revenue was down 5.6 percent during the quarter, to $474.1 million. The engines segment saw revenue decline 7.2 percent, to $292.5 million and the products segment was down by 6 percent, to $203.4 million.
The company implemented a new method for recording overseas engine sales, but on a comparable basis engine volumes were down 4 percent, or approximately 80,000 engines.
Lower merchandising support at retail for pressure washers led declining sales for the products group.
“We have observed improved growing conditions throughout the season, but continue to see a cautious approach to reordering as channel partners have focused on controlling inventory to abnormally low levels,” Teske said.
The company is anticipating it will have revenue of $1.87 billion to $1.92 billion in fiscal 2018, an increase of 4.5 percent to 7.5 percent. The growth is expected to come from continued improvement in commercial products, along with modest market growth in the U.S. residential lawn and garden market.
Hartford Hospital announced that Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) has committed to donate $2 Million to the Campaign for Hartford Hospital. The donation will be used to support Hartford HealthCare’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI).
“We are extremely grateful when socially responsible companies like Stanley Black & Decker rise to the occasion and support initiatives that make a meaningful impact in our community,” said Stuart Markowitz, President of Hartford Hospital. “CESI is already leading the way, improving how health care professionals treat patients across Connecticut and beyond. We will continue to be a draw for the finest medical professionals from around the world. The experts come to learn the latest and most innovative techniques and technologies right here in our capital city.”
CESI is a regional and national training destination for medical professionals. Housed at the second largest surgical center in New England and the Northeast’s largest robotic surgery center, CESI is a hub for medical training, and the centerpiece of Hartford Hospital’s pioneering vision to revamp the medical educational system.
“We know innovation when we see it,” said Jim Loree, President & CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, “and CESI is on the cutting edge of medical education and simulation. Everyone in an area served by Hartford HealthCare will be impacted by this extraordinary training facility and economic driver for our region.”
CESI is among the focus areas for The Campaign for Hartford Hospital, which in its lead phase, has generated nearly $64 million in donations. While the early focus of the campaign was on the establishment of the Hartford HealthCare Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital, gifts have touched virtually every corner of the hospital, such as CESI, the Brownstone Relocation Project, the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital and more.
Stanley Black & Decker is one of CESI’s corporate partners that are helping to realize Hartford HealthCare’s vision as a national leader in innovation, patient safety, outcomes and satisfaction. Stanley Black & Decker is also widely renowned in the region for their corporate philanthropy.
About Hartford Hospital
Hartford Hospital, founded in 1854, is one of the largest teaching hospitals and tertiary care centers in New England with one of the region’s busiest surgery practices. It is annually ranked among America’s Best Hospitals by US News & World Report and has been recognized nationally for the quality of many of its programs. The 867-bed regional referral center provides high-quality care in all clinical disciplines. The hospital’s major centers of clinical excellence include cardiology, oncology, emergency services and trauma, mental health, women’s health, orthopedics, bloodless surgery and advanced organ transplantation. Hartford Hospital owns and operates the state’s first air ambulance system, LIFE STAR. Among its other specialized departments, The Institute of Living, a 114-bed mental health facility with a national and international reputation of excellence, and The Jefferson House, a 104-bed long-term care facility.
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”
“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” ~–John Lubbock
“I know that if odour were visible, as colour is, I’d see the summer garden in rainbow clouds.
“When people went on vacation, they shed their home skins, thought they could be a new person.”
―Aimee Friedman, Sea Change
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
UEDA Decides to End One Show and Start New One
January 2017 marked the end of an era for Power Show Ohio. From its inception back in January 1971, Power Show Ohio was a venue for agricultural, landscape and construction industries to showcase their products.
Dennis Alford, show manager, said the main purpose of the show was to create retail sales for the members of the Association. At its conclusion, it was no longer doing that. The decision was made by the board of directors of the United Equipment Dealers Association (UEDA) to end Power Show Ohio and create a new more effective show.
The Power Show was held at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus, Ohio, and Alford said over the years thousands of vendors worked together to transform a blank concrete floor, into a quality trade show. Four companies that exhibited since the beginning include: R.J. Cox Trailers, Kubota Tractor, Hayward Distributing and SISCO. Ending the show was not easy, but it is reflective of the changing marketplace.
Plans are underway for a new show that will focus on lawn and rural equipment. The show will be known as the Lawn and Rural Equipment Expo (LAREE). Its focus will include lawn, landscape, small farm and rural lifetsyle equipment. It is being planned for Dec. 7-8, 2018, at the Roberts Centre in Wilmington, Ohio.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announces the association has purchased a new headquarters building, and will move its offices to 1605 King Street, Alexandria, Va., in the spring of 2018.
OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser said the trade association outgrew its current space. The new building will be better equipped for the association’s needs. “OPEI has been dealing with a problem for a couple years now,” Kiser said. “And it’s a great problem to have: We’ve increased our membership and increased our member engagement to a point that we’ve outgrown our current location and meeting space.”
The new OPEI headquarters will include a state-of-the-art conference center that can seat 50 people for in-person and virtual meetings. This new space will enable OPEI members around the country and overseas to participate more fully in association business and activities.
“As a trade group with members in Europe, Japan, China and across the United States, we have global meetings, and we wanted to be able to host them in person and virtually. Now, we’ll be better suited to host ISO, IEC and other international gatherings,” said Kiser. “Alexandria has been our home for 30 years. When we looked to make this decision, we considered other locales, and our board of directors chose to reinvest in Alexandria due to its proximity to Washington, D.C., airports, hotels, as well as its historic character and lifestyle.”
OPEI’s new King Street location is on the historic main thoroughfare in the bustling heart of Old Town Alexandria, and is within walking distance to several hotels. It is one block from the King Street Metro station, the second subway stop from Washington National Airport. It will also have private offices reserved for members when they visit the D.C. area.
OPEI closed on its new location on Aug. 15, and the move represents a multi-million-dollar investment. OPEI has retained OTJ Architects of Washington, D.C., for the project.
“In 1987, OPEI’s board was prescient and chose to relocate from Washington, D.C., to Alexandria and built its current building. The current building met our needs for three decades and appreciated considerably. Our new building prepares us for future growth and engagement,” said Kiser.