Viewpoint: Carrying the Torch Onward

I am not Steve Noe.

I’m sure you figured that out already, but, after 20 years of Steve’s mug shot and musings appearing in this space, I wanted to point out the change in case you thought that you had some sort of face recognition disorder.

As Steve outlined to you in his “Upfront” column in January Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE), that was his last issue as editor of this magazine. In his farewell column, he eloquently thanked everyone in the industry, and also took that opportunity to pass the torch as editor of OPE to me.

But before I introduce myself, please allow me a moment to recognize and thank Steve for his contributions to the outdoor power equipment industry. After all, Steve was editor of OPE for more than 20 years, which is amazing when you consider that he has led the editorial direction of the outdoor power equipment industry’s longest-published B2B magazine for more than one third of its entire existence.

Steve guided OPE from its days as a pocket digest publication to standard size, and also helped the brand expand with the growth of the Internet, e-mail, social media and other digital platforms (and the related changes in the way that we consume information). During the past two decades, Steve has been the voice of OPE magazine, and has been essential in delivering news, information and quality editorial content to you.

I have had the pleasure of working with Steve for the past 18 years. When I began working with Steve in 1999, I was editing one of our company’s magazines in an entirely different industry. But by the end of 2000, I had shifted roles, joined our group of green industry publications, and had taken over as editor of Arbor Age magazine – covering the professional tree care industry – as well as managing editor of SportsTurf.

When I first attended the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Exposition (EXPO) in 2001, Steve and I realized that we shared an obsession with sports, and our friendship grew from there.

By the end of 2005, while I was still editing Arbor Age, and Steve was editing OPE, we began co-editing Landscape and Irrigation magazine together. Then, in 2008, I took over sole editorial responsibility on Landscape and Irrigation, while Steve once again focused specifically on OPE.

As you can see, most of my editorial background for the past 17 years has been in the professional end-user (landscaper and arborist) markets – developing relationships, and cultivating content related to those industries.

However, as associate publisher of OPE (and our other green industry brands) the past five years, I have also been able to work with Steve behind the scenes on OPE. I have had the pleasure of attending the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) annual meeting the past two years; GIE+EXPO for the past decade; and countless other industry events, media days, equipment demonstrations, and manufacturer events. As a result, through all my various roles in the green industry, I feel that I have a solid understanding of the outdoor power equipment industry, the associations, the manufacturers, our contributors, and, most of all, you the reader and the topics that are of interest to you.

That said, I still feel a bit like a new director being asked to take the reins on a beloved movie franchise. So, please reach out to me with any editorial feedback, insight, or suggestions. Let me know if you are interested in being part of our reader surveys or other editorial efforts. And please know that I welcome insight into your businesses, high-resolution photography of your dealerships, and more. I want OPE to reflect the industry which it serves, and you are vital to that effort.

But if you just want to talk sports, movies, books, pop culture or food, I’m more than happy to do that as well.


No. I am not Steve Noe. But I will do my best to carry that torch on the next leg of the OPE journey. Along the way, I hope to also earn your trust and help you grow your business.




John Kmitta

Associate Publisher/Editor

Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) magazine