Vale Michael Ariens (1931-2015)
The Outdoor Power Equipment community will be saddened to hear of the passing of Michael S. Ariens, a global leader in the industry for 55 years.
Mr Ariens died at home in the US on 28 February. Grandson of Ariens Company founder Henry Ariens, Mr Ariens served as Ariens Company President from 1969 – 1992 and as Chairman of the Board from 1992 – 2014. He celebrated his 55th anniversary with the company in November of 2014 among family and several hundred Ariens Company employees.
“Mike leaves us with a legacy of his personal leadership style, a strength of character that people who work with him want to emulate. As a leader he was thoughtful, and insightful with a great sense of humor,” says Dan Ariens, Chairman & CEO.
The company experienced significant growth under Mr Ariens’ direction. He managed the business through several acquisitions, hundreds of product launches, maturing market shifts and, of course, the unpredictability of the weather.
In 1982 he led the acquisition of the Gravely® brand when the product line revolved around two-wheeled and four-wheeled tractor products. The move set the stage for entering an emerging commercial grounds care sector that ultimately led to the growth of the Gravely® professional brand.
Mike was active in the outdoor power equipment industry. As one of longest-serving board members on the board of the OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute), he held various leadership positions over his career including Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. He also chaired a number of committees and task forces for the organization.