The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), formerly known as the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA), announced that Fred J. Whyte, retiring president of Stihl Inc. in Virginia Beach, Va., has been recognized as an honorary member of the association. Whyte has been a part of the Stihl organization for more than 44 years, including the past 23 years as president of Stihl Inc.
Over the course of his career, Whyte has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in positioning Stihl Inc. at the top of the outdoor power equipment industry. His emphasis on a dealer-focused retail distribution/support model emphasized the critical role of the full-service dealer, many of whom are EDA members. During his tenure as president, Stihl Inc. achieved record growth to become the nation’s top-selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment.
Joe Dykes, EDA vice president of industry relations and staff contact to the association’s OPE Council, presented a plaque to Whyte during a short ceremony on October 21 at GIE+EXPO.
“We are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to honor Fred for his outstanding contributions to the industry,” said Dykes. “This recognition is extremely well deserved as he has been a staunch supporter of the association and our members for many years. He will be missed, and we wish him well as he approaches retirement.”
One of the highest honors the association can confer on an individual is honorary membership. This status is reserved for individuals who have shown exceptional leadership, dedication and support of the industry and the association. Whyte is the first individual to be recognized with this honor by the newly branded association.
Joe Dykes, left, VP of industry relations, Equipment Dealers Association, presents Fred J. Whyte, president, Stihl Inc., with the association’s honorary membership.