Upfront: OPE industry answers call once again

By Steve Noe

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the outdoor power equipment industry rushed to the aid of those in need on the East Coast.

As you may recall reading in July 2012 OPE, Briggs & Stratton Corporation donated nearly $1 million worth of generators and pressure washers to the American Red Cross a few days prior to the hurricane season’s official June 1 start. Briggs & Stratton made the donation to assist the American Red Cross with preparing for and responding to disasters caused by hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather. In addition to that generous donation, Briggs & Stratton responded to Hurricane Sandy by providing hundreds of portable generators to power polling stations in Long Island, N.Y., so its residents could vote on Election Day.

“As an American company, we’re proud to help Nassau and Rockland County, N.Y., residents exercise their right to elect our leaders,” said Eric Loferski, director of marketing for Briggs & Stratton’s Portable Power division. “Voting is so central to our nation’s identity, we felt it was our duty to assist Hurricane Sandy victims as best we could, especially as portable generator inventory and gasoline are scarce in the area.”

Seeking portable generators, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security contacted Jere’s Hardware, a Briggs & Stratton generator dealer in the Long Island area. Within 24 hours, Briggs & Stratton’s regional sales managers provided 804 generators transported by the truckload mainly from its dealerships in Maryland and Virginia. By late evening Nov. 3, the Homeland Security warehouse in Nassau County, N.Y., was filled with generator inventory ready to be mobilized for powering the polling stations.

Briggs & Stratton sales managers and technicians and 50 National Guard members worked the weekend and Monday prior to Election Day to organize shipments from the warehouse to polling stations.

“We are glad to be in a position to work with the Red Cross and help those on the East Coast who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Laura Timm, Briggs & Stratton director of corporate communications.

Generac also responded by ramping up production and shipping of its generators to meet the needs of East Coast residents facing long-term power outages due to Hurricane Sandy. Generac opened up its new Jefferson, Wis., facility earlier than expected and hired additional employees to support the increased production. Employees worked 24 hours a day to guarantee products were shipped to affected areas as quickly as possible.

“Here at Generac, we are working around the clock, running extra shifts, and shipping thousands of units to ensure residents along the East Coast who don’t have power can recover from this devastating storm safely and in their own homes,” Generac spokesman Art Aiello said Oct. 30.

At press time, we were still in the early stages of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. In the coming days and weeks, I’m sure that we will be hearing about many more stories about the OPE industry’s generous contributions to those relief efforts. That’s what makes this industry so great. It always answers the call during times of need.

OPE Editor Steve Noe


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