Stressing that its engine division’s support of original equipment manufacturers continues to be a major emphasis for the company, Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. announced the appointment of Kurt Forrest as director of OEM sales.
Forrest will oversee Kawasaki Engines’ extensive relationships with the OEM segment.
Before joining Kawasaki, Forrest spent several years in the contract furniture industry, building a broad background in distribution channel development for Herman Miller North America. He has also served in leadership positions with related industry brands such as Haworth and Knoll.
According to Kawasaki’s vice president, Rodger Howe, “Kurt comes to our team with significant experience in strategy development and program implementation that will fit well with our OEM-servicing group.”
The recent move of the engine division’s research and development group from Maryville, Missouri, to the expanded headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will strengthen engine planning and product development, Forrest said, and “greatly enhance our ability to support and service our OEM customers going forward.”
The Kawasaki team reporting to Forrest consists of four OEM sales managers as well as a sales support and coordination team.
Takeuchi hires product and training manager
Compact equipment manufacturer Takeuchi-US announced recently the appointment of Michael Shebetka to the position of product and training manager. The move follows the promotion of David Caldwell to national product manager.
As product and training manager, Shebetka will be in charge of product information and training for both dealers and field representatives. He will also serve as a product trainer at national training events at Takeuchi’s U.S. headquarters in Pendergrass, Georgia, as well as in the field.
Shebetka was previously employed by Takeuchi-US for nearly five years as the regional sales manager for the Southeast and Western United States. He moved back to his hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to be the outside sales representative for Martin Equipment, selling John Deere construction and forestry equipment in an Iowa territory.
“Michael has a range of industry experience from both the distribution side and manufacturing side that will be of great benefit in his new role at Takeuchi,” said Caldwell, the national product manager. “We feel with his previous experience at Takeuchi and his knowledge of our culture and product, he will be a great asset to both our company and our customers.”
ETwater appoints new regional sales manager
ETwater, an irrigation technology company, has named D.J. Caldwell as its regional sales manager for the Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming markets. Based in Greeley, Colorado, Caldwell draws on more than 20 years of experience in the irrigation industry, having served in a variety of sales and service management positions.
He fills the role vacated by Bob Olson, a founding member and the first salesperson for ETwater, who has retired.
Caldwell worked previously at CPS Distributors Inc., the largest wholesale distributor of pump, irrigation, and landscape supplies in the Rocky Mountain Region, where he held positions in branch management and outside sales.
Before that, he was irrigation division manager for Environmental Designs Inc., a Henderson, Colorado, company specializing in landscape design, construction and maintenance.
STIHL names information services director
STIHL Inc. has hired Tom Scott as the company’s new director of information services. Scott will be responsible for all U.S. activities related to information technology, including business applications, system architecture and communication infrastructure support for STIHL Inc., its branches, distributors and servicing dealers.
Scott brings more than 30 years of IT leadership to STIHL, most recently serving as the interim chief information officer for Dollar Tree Stores in Chesapeake, Virginia. Beyond information technology, Scott has overseen distribution, customer service and human resources. As chief operating officer and CIO for Coldwater Creek, he helped transform the catalog-only business by launching internet and retail channels.
Over the course of his more than 30-year career, he has also been responsible for the construction or management of seven distribution centers and eight call centers.
Scott holds a master’s degree in industrial administration from Purdue University and a B.S. in economics from Brigham Young University.
Ruppert rounds out its fleet department
Ruppert Landscape recently announced the promotion of Reid Altavilla, Jesse Lepinsky, Jeff Williams and Vince Ridgell, in addition to the hiring of Carlos Argueta and Jordan Rupp, in the company’s fleet department.
Altavilla, a resident of Warrenton, Virginia, has been promoted to corporate fleet manager. He has worked in the automotive industry for more than 33 years, including 20 years with Ruppert. He joined the company in 1996 as a mechanic/painter in Ruppert’s Gainesville, Virginia, landscape management branch, quickly rose through the ranks to become shop manager, then managed multiple shops throughout the company before becoming regional fleet manager. In his new role as corporate fleet manager, Altavilla will oversee the regional fleet managers as well shop managers in the Laytonsville and Forestville locations. In addition, he will continue to look for ways to improve shop processes and procedures and increase productivity.
Lepinsky, a resident of Front Royal, Virginia, has been promoted to regional fleet manager. He has more than 17 years of automotive industry experience, having worked as lead mechanic at General Motors for 15 years before joining Ruppert as shop manager in the company’s Gainesville branch.
In his new role, he will oversee multiple shop managers, including those in the Gainesville, Alexandria, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and Frederick branches.
Williams, a resident of Bealeton, Virginia, has been promoted to shop manager in the Gainesville branch. He has more than 26 years of experience in the automotive body and paint industry.
Ridgell, a resident of Waldorf, Maryland, has been promoted to shop manager in Ruppert’s Forestville, Maryland, landscape management branch. He joined the company in 2014 with over 30 years of experience as a mechanic. As shop managers, Williams and Ridgell will be responsible for overseeing fleet operations in their shop, including the supervision of mechanics, the maintenance of the branch’s fleet vehicles and equipment, as well as facility oversight.
Of the two new hires joining the fleet team at Ruppert, Argueta is a resident of Dumfries, Virginia. He will serve as a mechanic in the company’s Alexandria landscape management branch. He has eight years of experience in the automotive field and holds several ASE certifications as well as a Virginia state inspection license.
Rupp, a resident of Frederick, Maryland, has been hired as a mechanic in Ruppert’s landscape management branch there. He has six years of experience in the automotive field.