Header Image
The Virginia Manufacturer - Focusing on Manufacturing Issues of Today and Tomorrow

Virginia Manufacturer's Association

In This Issue

Welcome: Ian Ginger, VMA Business Development Manager
Save the Dates
Follow Us On Facebook
VOLUME 10 | Edition 7 | July 2017

Letter from the President & CEO

Dear Members:

The last few issues of this newsletter have focused on the primary elections as well as nominating VMA members to serve on key legislative and regulatory committees.  In this issue, we wanted to continue that focus on leadership within our own organization.  Leadership is defined many ways and is often measured by a balance sheet or annual report.  However, these are only short-term and are often inadequate methods of measuring true leadership.

True leadership can be seen when a lasting and permanent impression is made upon society, an industry, a community or company.  Today we are honoring one of those people.  Fred Whyte, recently retired President of STIHL Inc., has left an indelible mark on the outdoor power equipment industry, Virginia Beach community, STIHL Inc. and the VMA.  His commitment to innovation and fierce loyalty to his friends as well as colleagues was remarkable.  He left us too soon and will be missed, but never forgotten.

Fred's passing reminds us how important it is to make every experience and relationship count.  Over the next 45 days, the VMA will be working to identify leaders for open seats on VMA committees and councils.  The VMA Board of Directors' Nominations Committee will also start recruiting candidates for election to the Board at the November 2nd annual meeting.  If you are interested in leaving a permanent reminder of your leadership on the VMA, please contact knoonan@vamanufacturers.com.

In closing, Fred Whyte left a permanent impression on everyone he met.  Personally, he helped form many of my own thoughts about vertical integration, premium product retailing, robotics, workforce training and community engagement.  Perhaps, now is a good time for us all to reflect upon the permanency of our own impact as industry leaders.
Best Wishes,
Brett A. Vassey
President & CEO

Man of STIHL, and Outdoor Power Equipment Industry Icon, Dies after 45 Years of Service

Fred Whyte, former president of STIHL Inc., passed away July 7, 2017 surrounded by his family at his home in Virginia Beach, Va. after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer. He was 70 years old.

A Vancouver, British Columbia native, Whyte began his STIHL career in 1971, working as a regional manager for STIHL American, the same company where his father had worked. Whyte moved up the ranks at STIHL in 
the U.S. and at the age of 34, led STIHL's expansion and operations in Canada. In 1992, Whyte returned to the United States as president of STIHL Inc. During Whyte's tenure as president, he led the company from a moderately-known brand to the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America.* After serving STIHL for more than 45 years and leading STIHL Inc. for 23 years, Whyte retired, and was named sole director and chairman of the Board of Directors for STIHL Inc. and influenced STIHL strategy worldwide.

"Fred was not only a Man of STIHL, he was a tireless proponent of manufacturing and the well-being of his employees. His passion and dedication to the manufacturing sector was evidenced in the Frank Armstrong III Service Award honor bestowed upon him by the VMA in 2015. He was a beloved leader and friend, and a mentor to so many who are still shaping and defining the modern manufacturing industry. He will be missed by his family, many friends and STIHL - as well as across the Commonwealth and throughout the outdoor power equipment and manufacturing industries" said Scott Tiley, STIHL General Counsel and VMA Chairman.
In addition to Whyte's service to STIHL, he was also a well-respected leader of both the outdoor power equipment industry nationwide and the local Hampton Roads community. He 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).

In 2015, the Virginia Manufacturers Association (VMA) recognized Whyte with the Frank Armstrong III Service Award for his contributions to the Virginia manufacturing sector and the association. He was also named honorary member of the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA). In 2016, Whyte was honored by the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates with a joint resolution outlining his successful tenure with STIHL Inc.

He was a member of Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors and served as rector from 2013-2014. He also served on the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters Children's Health Foundation Board of Directors.
During his retirement Whyte stated, "I often say history is a great business teacher. And after working for more than four decades in this industry, I can confirm that substance wins out over style, every time."  
Whyte was an avid sports fan, outdoor enthusiast and like many true Scotsman, played the bagpipes. He is survived by his wife Karen, their two children, Jean and John (wife Stacy) and their twin granddaughters, Klarise and Isla.

Governor Selects VMA Member James Xu to VEDP International Trade Committee

On June 9th, Governor Terry McAuliffe announced his appointments for the VEDP International Trade Committee that was created during this year's legislative session.  VMA member  James Xu, CEO, AVAIL Vapor LLC, and Executive Vice President, Evergreen Enterprises and Plow and Hearth was selected from the 12 nominations submitted by the VMA.   The appointees will work with the McAuliffe Administration and new VEDP leadership to expand international trade opportunities for Virginia industry.  

The Joint Rules Committee will be choosing two additional candidates from the VMA list in the coming months.  

VMA Recognizes ITAC as the Latest VALET Graduate

Congratulations to ITAC who was one of the recent graduates of VEDP's two-year export development program.  The VALET program assists exporters in the Commonwealth that have established their domestic operations and are committed to international exporting as an expansion strategy.  Participating firms are chosen based on their dedication to growth through export. 

There are currently 50 companies participating in the program which provides companies assistance from a team of experienced international service providers to help meet their international goals.  291 Virginia companies have participated in the VALET program to date. 
The VMA is a founding member of the Virginia International Trade Alliance (VITAL) that is committed to expanding international trade opportunities for Virginia industry and expanding Virginia manufactured goods exports by 50% by 2025.

NAM Opinion Editorial Regarding Scott Garrett's Nomination as President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank

On July 12, NAM placed an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal penned by Jam Timmons, NAM President & CEO, outlining why Scott Garret at the Export-Import Bank would be a bad deal for the American manufacturing worker.   Timmons went on to say that Garrett's unwavering and absolute opposition to the Ex-Im Bank makes him incapable of serving as Ex-Im Bank chairman and president, a role that confers enormous authority over all the agency's operations.  

A Fact Sheet has been created with talking points.  NAM is asking that manufactures request that his nomination be withdrawn.     You can view NAM's statement here.    

Now Enrolling: Manufacturing Leadership Program

Developing Leaders and Organizations to Their Full Potential!

Starting in August, OpX Solutions and the Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI) are partnering to offer an award-winning leadership development program in the Richmond area for Manufacturing and Industry Leaders.  Excellent leaders can be the difference between succeeding and failing in today's global marketplace.  The program includes eight 2-hour sessions developed for managers and supervisors.    

Topics include:
  • Effective Time Management
  • Goal Setting and Achievement
  • Planning & Prioritizing Activities
  • Effective Communication
  • Delegation
  • Team Productivity

Companies that have participated in the past include GE, Hitachi Power Systems, RR Donnelley, Trinity Packaging and Tread Corporation. 

"The investment I made with OpX Solutions to develop our leaders was the best training money I've ever spent!"
-Sam Suttle, VP North America Mfg. & Repair,
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, Inc.
If you would like more information regarding this training program and how you can leverage this opportunity for employees at your company, please contact Tom Walker at Tom@OpXSolutionsLLC.com .  Class size is limited so call today!

33rd Annual Employment Law Update - Hosted by Kaufman & Canoles

Hampton Roads Convention Center
July 20, 2017

Finding a seat at the table can be a difficult task when it comes to ensuring your organization is able to cope with changes in employment law. Oftentimes the important employment law changes aren't understood by management until it is too late. 

The 33rd Annual Employment Law Update will address the most recent legal changes and hot topics like the impact of the Trump Administration on employment laws as well as provide attendees with vital information that can help them "find a seat at the table." Attendees can also earn up to 6 credit hours toward PHR and SPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and 5 PDCs toward the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP.  In keeping with this year's theme, one lucky attendee will win a private group cooking class (for up to 10 people) with Casual Gourmet at the Culinary Institute of Virginia. 

VMA members will receive a 20% discount on the registration fee for this event.  Just indicate that you are a VMA member when registering by phone or include this information in the comments section online to receive your discounted rate.

Root Cause Analysis for Today's World

The VMA's is partnering with Thinking Dimensions Global to offer workshops on Root Cause Analysis for Today's World. 

Upcoming Workshop Dates:

July 18-19 
September 19-20 
November 14-15

For more information on group discounts, please contact Bill Dunn at (703) 865-6700.  Click here to view program details and to register for upcoming workshops.

Game of Drones Summer Camp was a Huge Success!

Earlier this summer, Franklin County High School students took part in the Dream It. Do It. Advanced Technology "Game of Drones" Summer Camp at the Gereau Center in Rocky Mount, VA.  Participants were instructed in drone technology including building the remote control, installing software and customizing their unit.  At the end of camp, campers competed in a showcase and competition.  

"This camp has been a fun time from the drone, to the trips, to the people.  I would highly recommend this experience!"

The complete 2017 camp schedule is  available here .

69th Virginia Conference on World Trade

This is a must-attend event for Virginia business leaders interested in developing and cultivating international partnerships.  Highlights include:
  • Workshops led by industry experts that match your interests
  • Speakers will discuss future trends in international trade
  • Attendees will walk away with new ideas and relationships to put global trade to work for your business
Click here for registration and agenda details!