People on the Move: Former Stihl president dies; Primera appoints interim CEO; Kawasaki Engines names vp; and more from Fockele, Ruppert, Douglas, K-Rain, Bayer CropScience

Former Stihl President Fred Whyte died of cancer July 7. Here, he poses with the TurfMutt, a promotional figure for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, for which Whyte served as chairman of the board of directors. Photo: OPEI

Fred Whyte, former president of Stihldied July 7 in Virginia Beach, Va., after a battle with cancer. He was 70. Whyte began his Stihl career in 1971, working as a regional manager for Stihl American, following in the footsteps of his father, who also worked for the company. Whyte moved up the ranks and eventually took over Stihl’s expansion and operations in Canada. In 1992, he returned to the U.S. to begin his tenure as president of Stihl. In that position, he led the company from a “moderately-known brand to the No. 1 selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America,” according to Stihl. After 45 years working for Stihl and 23 years as president, he retired and was named sole director and chairman of Stihl’s board of directors. “Fred Whyte was a man who had both substance and style and we are forever thankful for his leadership of our organization,” says Bjoern Fischer, president of Stihl. “He will be remembered for his extraordinary leadership, passion and personal connections he had with both his customers and his employees.” Whyte also served as chairman of the board of directors for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and president of the Portable Power Equipment Manufacturers Association (PPEMA). “Fred was a leader in the truest sense of the word, a friend and mentor to me. I routinely sought Fred’s guidance and direction, “said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “We will miss him.”

Primera’s board of directors appointed Keelan Pulliam, owner and president of Pulliam & Associates Consulting, to interim CEO of Primera. Pulliam has worked on special projects with the company for the past two years. Most notably, he led the membership drive, growing membership-owners by 20 percent. Pulliam’s career includes 33 years at Syngenta in roles such as head of turf and ornamentals and group head of professional products. He’s also served on the boards of RISE and Viakem. He holds a bachelor’s in agronomy and a master’s in agricultural economics from the University of Kentucky.

The Engines Division of Kawasaki Motors Corp. promoted Nelson Wilner to vice president. He joined Kawasaki last year as the division’s executive director. Before joining Kawasaki, Wilner spent time in the marine and recreational vehicle industries.

The Fockele Garden Co. promoted Jason Sparks to operations manager. Sparks joined Fockele in 2014 as installation manager. He has 15 years of experience in project management for residential and commercial properties and golf courses. He also has a background in irrigation system installation. He has a degree in turfgrass management from North Georgia Technical College.

Ruppert Landscape promoted Tim Schofield to financial analyst in its landscape management division. Schofield began his career at Ruppert in 2015 as a field manager in the Laytonsville landscape management branch, where he was quickly promoted to area manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he triple majored in food and agribusiness marketing and management, landscape horticulture and design, and agriculture and natural resources.

Douglas Dynamics, which controls the Fisher, Western and SnowEX brands, named Pam Buckley to sustainability manager for its commercial snow and ice division. Since joining SnowEx in 2010, Buckley has promoted liquid ice control applications in the snow and ice industry. She has spoken and written articles about the topic for entities like the Snow & Ice Management Association, Accredited Snow Contractors Association and American Public Works Association.

K-Rain appointed Taylor Rockecharlie to the position of sales support manager.

Environmental Science, a business unit within the Crop Science division of Bayermade four new staffing appointments within its turf and ornamentals business.

  • Clay Beazeale was hired as area sales manager for North Carolina and South Carolina. Beazeale is a class-A member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. He holds a bachelor’s in turfgrass science with a horticulture minor from the University of Florida. He most recently served as assistant director of golf course maintenance and operations at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
  • Eric Skorich was hired as area sales manager for Ohio, Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Most recently, Skorich worked with Heritage Golf Club in Hilliard, Ohio, where he has served as superintendent since 2012. Skroich holds a bachelor’s in agronomy from the Ohio State University.
  • Cameron Smith was hired as area sales manager for Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Smith has previously served as a distributor sales representative and assistant golf course superintendent in the Southern California area for the past eight years. He most recently served as territory manager for Crop Production Services in Oxnard, Calif.
  • Eric Snelsire was hired as area sales manager for Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia. Snelsire has served as superintendent at Glen Riddle Golf Course in Maryland since 2006. He holds a bachelor’s in turfgrass science from Penn State University.

Photo: OPEI


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