Alexandria, VA – August 4, 2011 - The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today announced its 2011-2012 Officers and Board of Directors.  OPEI is pleased to welcome Jean Hlay, President and Chief Operating Officer, MTD Products, Inc., as the first woman to serve as the Institute’s Chair of the Board and Board member.

Officers for 2011-12 include: OPEI Chair Jean Hlay, President and COO, MTD Products, Inc.; OPEI Vice Chair Richard Fotsch, President of the Global Power Group, Kohler Company; and Secretary/Treasurer Dan Wilkinson, President, Jacobsen, A Textron Company.

“This coming year will be a challenging, yet exciting time for our industry as we confront many regulatory and business issues.  Our new officers have the depth and breadth of experience to make sure we pull together as an industry and meet these challenges head on and come out stronger and more competitive than ever before,” said Kris Kiser, Executive Vice President and COO at OPEI.

“OPEI will continue to focus on providing our members with outstanding services.  Our leadership in product standards development is imperative to ensure safe products and high customer satisfaction for our industry.  Additionally, OPEI is a key source for timely, accurate market data used by members in their day to day business.  Finally, we will continue to take an active role advocating for our industry in regulatory matters that impact our members.  Uncertainty is abundant these days, but our objectives are clear,” said Jean Hlay, OPEI Chair.       

Continuing their service on the board are: Daniel Ariens, President, Ariens Company; Steven Bly, Executive Vice President, Echo Inc; Edward Cohen, Vice President- Government & Industry Relations, American Honda Moto Co., Inc.; Michael Hoffman, Chief Executive Officer, The Toro Company; Michael Jones, President, Husqvarna Professional Products; John May, Senior Vice President, AT&T Global Platform, Turf & Ag Division, John Deere Company; Gary Michel, President & CEO, Club Car, Inc; Paul Mullet, President, Excel Industries; Todd Teske, President & CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corp; and Fred Whyte, President, STIHL, Inc., Immediate Past Chairman.

About the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing manufacturers worldwide in the utility, forestry, landscape, and lawn and garden industry, whose mission is to bring awareness to the importance of environmental stewardship, an appreciation of the outdoors and how to grow, restore and maintain our every day green spaces in a responsible way.  OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. For more information, visit