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Big Goings-on at OPEI
New Headquarters, TurfMutt Returns to TV, Latest Poll Numbers


OPEI board members celebrate after the ribbon cutting of the associationi? 1/2 s new headquarters building in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Pictured from left are: Bjoern Fischer, president, STIHL Incorporated; Daniel T. Ariens, chairman & CEO, Ariens Company, and chair of the OPEI board of directors; Kris Kiser, president and CEO, OPEI; Tom Cromwell, group president i? 1/2 Power, Kohler Company; and Tom Duncan, president & CEO, Positec.

The official opening of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's new headquarters building was recently held in Alexandria, Virginia, and more than 100 people, including OPEI members and partners, joined the celebration.

"This building represents a new chapter in OPEI's story. Thanks to record levels of membership and member engagement, we had a good problem - we outgrew our old space," says Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO. "As a trade group with members in Europe, Japan, China,cheap watches and across the United States, we have global meetings, and we wanted to be able to host them in person and virtually. Now, we're better suited to host ISO, IEC, and other international gatherings."

It has been 30 years since OPEI first moved to Alexandria from Washington, D.C., and only one year since the decision was made to acquire their new building, which represents a multi-million-dollar investment.

"This is an exciting moment in the history of OPEI. As this year's chairman, I'm proud to officially open our new headquarters for business," says Dan Ariens, chairman and CEO of Ariens Co., and OPEI board chairman. "Since it was founded more than 60 years ago, OPEI has grown in scope and stature, and it's well-positioned to continue its advocacy on behalf of the outdoor power equipment industry."

In the heart of Old Town Alexandria at 1605 King St., the new headquarters is conveniently located one block from the D.C. Metro, and just four miles from National Airport. It boasts a state-of-the-art conference center designed to accommodate the trade association's increasingly large committee meetings.

"Evidencing the shift away from out-of-house meeting spaces, our Engine and Fuels, and Handheld Products committees met here this week, debuting our new conference center," Kiser says.

As a sponsor for the popular Lucky Dog show that airs on CBS on Saturday mornings, OPEI recently announced that in addition to new episodes of the show with tips from TurfMutt, a rebroadcast that features a rescued miniature poodle named Max who is introduced to a prospective new home, will air on Saturday, June 2. Kiser checks out the residence's yard to see if it is TurfMutt-approved for Max's safety and comfort.

Furthermore, the association recently released results from a 2018 poll conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of OPEI that showed that 11% of Americans reported using the wrong fuel in their outdoor power equipment this year.

According to the association, "Americans are increasingly unsure about how to properly fuel outdoor power equipment and other non-road engine products like boats, snowmobiles and generators, and mis-fueling is occurring at increasing rates." Only 7% reported using E15, E30, E50, or E85 to fuel their equipment in 2015.
Manufacturers of these types of equipment warn that it is illegal to use fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol in their products.
"Higher blended fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol have been shown to damage the equipment," explains Kiser. "Mid-level ethanol fuels are known to phase separate, further endangering equipment."

Researchers also found that Americans are more likely now (38%) than in years past (31% in 2017 and 2016, 30% in 2015) to believe higher ethanol blends of gasoline are safe for any gasoline engine.
"We believe this lack of knowledge is due to consumers blindly trusting that gas stations will only sell fuel that is safe. The EPA must do more to educate fuel users," concludes Kiser.
Read more about the poll here.

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September 20, 2019, 3:44 am PDT

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