STIHLLOUIS, MO — The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA), formerly known as the North American Equipment Dealers Association, 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 (OPE) 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. Whyte is set to retire at the end of 2015.

Equipment Dealers AssociationJoe 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 the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, KY. “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.”