ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute announces its 2015-2016 officers and doard of directors. The officers and new board members were chosen during the OPEI annual meeting, which was held June 23-25 in Santa Fe, N.M.

Officers for the 2015-2016 year are:

  • OPEI chair: Lee Sowell, president, outdoor products at Techtronic Industries Power Equipment
  • OPEI vice chair: Tim Merrett, vice president of A & T global platform and turf & utility, Deere & Co.
  • OPEI secretary/treasurer: Daniel Ariens, president, Ariens Co.
  • Immediate past chair: Paul Mullet, president, Excel Industries

“I am proud to be part of the outdoor power equipment industry, a member of OPEI, on the board of directors for OPEI, and especially to be chairman for the 2015-16 year,” said Lee Sowell. “I look forward to a productive year in this role – serving our industry and the OPEI member companies.”

“OPEI is the voice of outdoor power equipment, utility vehicle, and small engine manufacturers. Our board of directors plays a key role in overseeing, inspiring, and leading our work,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “We represent our members and their interests in Washington, D.C., educate the public about proper fueling for outdoor power equipment through our ‘Look Before You Pump’ campaign, and share safety standards and best practices. Our TurfMutt environmental stewardship and education program, created in partnership with Scholastic, teaches children how to take care of green spaces while learning and having fun.”

Continuing their service on the OPEI board of directors are: Earl Bennett, general counsel N.A. & L.A., Husqvarna Group; Edward Cohen, vice president, government & industry relations, Honda North America; Tom Cromwell, group president - power, Kohler Co.; Tim Dorsey, president, Echo Inc.; Marc Dufour, president, Club Car; Peter Hampton, president, Active Exhaust Corp.; Jean Hlay, president and chief operating officer, MTD Products Inc.; Michael Hoffman, chairman, chief executive officer, The Toro Co.; Todd Teske, chairman, president & CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corp.; and Fred Whyte, President, Stihl Inc.

About OPEI
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show, and the creative force behind the environmental education program, OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit