OPE Reviews is written by Pros for Pros, and we strive to bring you a professional’s perspective on which outdoor power tools are either the best performing or the best value available. Our writers are tradesman from just about every facet of the residential and commercial landscaping industries. They also include plenty of heavy equipment operators. Get to know our OPE Reviews writers and editors, and feel free to reach out to them via our Contact page, or via the Comments section below any written review.
OPE Reviews Staff Editors and Writers
Tim Johnson, Editor-in-Chief
Having a love of automobiles that stems from his father’s racing days, Tim has spent a lifetime around cars and trucks. From restoring and renovating them as well as fixing them when they break, Tim always has a tool handy. He currently resides in central Florida with his wife and 5 kids where he divides his time as mentor, devoted father, loving husband, and jungle gym. Tim Johnson serves as the Director for Shop Tool Reviews, and his experience with automotive tools and shops gives him a uniquely honed perspective in this area.
Kenny Koehler, Managing Editor
An avid endurance athlete, Kenny has competed in triathlons (he’s an Ironman) and various other fitness activities. Still, his passions lie with his faith, family, friends, and now—his growing love for well-designed power tools. You’ll often find Kenny chatting up engineers at media events to better understand the chemistry and physics behind tool technology. His chief responsibility is managing the massive amount of content that flows through our publication as well as publish our weekly newsletter. Kenny continues to keep in shape by being a loving father to two very active twins!
Clint DeBoer, Publisher
When he’s not remodeling part of his house or playing with the latest power tool, Clint enjoys life as a husband, father and avid reader. He has a degree in recording engineering and has been involved in multimedia and/or online publishing in one form or another for over two decades. In 2008, Clint was one of the founders of the Pro Tool Reviews online magazine. In 2013 he started Shop Tool Reviews, and 2017 saw the creation of OPE Reviews to help landscapers and heavy equipment operators understand the best value in OPE tools. He hopes his efforts will provide landscapersand other Pros with reliable and engaging tool reviews to help them make better purchasing decisions.
Adam Spafford, Pro Editor
A liberty-loving, sensible, God-fearing options trader by day, Adam Spafford is known for his quick wit, easygoing demeanor, and readiness to lend a hand when called upon. Adam manages our team of pro tradesmen and ensures we get the right tools into the right hands for a truly jobsite-focused approach to reviews. Adam also writes for The Lakelander, a local publication here in town that specializes in local businesses and trades. This also serves to make him very well-connected in the local community.
Raissa Logrono, Staff Writer
One of our “crack” news editors at Pro Tool Reviews, Raissa gathers all the latest power tool, hand tool, accessory, and product news and info available and delivers it in a way that’s fresh and easy to understand. She’s got her ears to the ground so that we can focus on product reviews and tool shootouts. Raissa is a quick study and loves to learn new things—including information about new power tools, accessories, and technologies in the residential and commercial construction marketplace.
Tina DeBoer, Managing VP
Vice President and co-owner of Pro Tool Reviews, Tina has been involved in the multimedia and publishing business since 1999 when she joined CD Media, Inc., the publishing company behind Pro Tool Reviews and its sister publications. Tina is a strong organizer and planner, and her photography has been published in various online magazines and websites including PTR.
OPE Reviews Writers and Reviewers
Thomas Gaige, Reviewer
Tom is one of the original founders of Pro Tool Reviews. He has over twenty years of experience in residential and commercial construction. He’s been a project manager at an engineering firm, started his own architectural design company, and finally owned and operated a residential construction company as a licensed contractor in South Carolina. Tom’s specialties are problem-solving and attention to detail—two traits which are apparent each time he tests and reviews power tools.
Michael Springer, Reviewer
Craftsman and writer Michael Springer specializes in testing tools and covering the tool industry for construction and woodworking professionals. Based in Boulder County, Colorado, but going wherever the story takes him, Michael crisscrosses the country yearly to visit manufacturers and attend trade shows and occasionally gets as far afield as Europe. When he’s not running the kilowatts through power tools, Michael enjoys drumming and rustic woodworking with chainsaw, ax, and adze.
Luke Smith, Reviewer
Luke does remodeling and repair construction work by day. During his “off” time, he helps maintain a horse farm in Georgia which gives him the perfect opportunity to try out a variety of power tools and hand tools. When he’s not out enjoying the outdoors, you can catch him as a riding double on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Incidentally, he also makes the best burger this side of the Mississippi. Of course, we love Luke because he’s been responsible for giving us some of the best photography we’ve every taken of tools—thanks to the farm and a stable full of some beautiful horses.
Ernie Conover, Reviewer
A veteran woodworking author with nine books, Ernie Conover has many videos and hundreds of articles to his credit. Ernie is also a lathe designer, having developed his own lathe and worked on the designs of the Nova and the Powermatic 3520b. His work has received numerous awards and has been the subject of several one-man shows. He lectures widely for clubs, trade show groups and woodworking stores and is frequently called upon as a consultant and expert witness in the woodworking field. When not writing, lecturing or consulting, he is active in providing academic oversight and teaching at Conover Workshops—a craft school founded by the Conover family.
Joshua Sturm, Reviewer
Joshua works with his father and brother at Sturm Plumbing (“The Faucet Doctor”)—a family-owned, plumbing sales and service business in the small town of Harrison City, Pennsylvania. With over 40 years experience as master plumbers, Sturm Plumbing has helped customers from across the country with hard-to-find parts. Their plumbing expertise has landed them articles and awards in Fine Homebuilding, Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine, The New York Times and The Bob Vila Show. Oh, he also happens to be married to the talented and beautiful singer-songwriter, Lacey Sturm (the former lead singer for Flyleaf).
Tim Mitchell, Reviewer
Tim serves as the director of Parker Street Ministries, a Christ-centered not-for-profit inner city ministry that is committed to the restoration, reconciliation, and revitalization of individuals, families and community. His commitment to the organization spans over two decades and has placed him in a position to become more than a little proficient at using outdoor power equipment, power tools and more, as he takes a front-line position in neighborhood clean-ups, landscaping projects, home repair, and historic-era home renovation.
Caleb DeBoer, Junior Writer
From riding on his cousin’s four-wheeler and cruising on his RipStik, to practicing Wing Chun Kung Fu, Caleb loves to move. His constant pursuit of adventure leads him to enjoy creating things—both with Legos and his imagination. Once his typing speed catches up to his brain, Caleb may indeed prove to be a fiction story writer to be reckoned with! Caleb takes various tools we’ve reviewed and puts them into various fictional scenarios—contributing a bit of editorial fun to the publication.
Tom Rutherford, Contributing Reviewer
A jack-of-many-trades, Tom is a professional painter and landscaping professional who is as comfortable in the field with an airless sprayer as he is with a zero turn mower or string trimmer. Tom’s attention to detail and wide variety of experience with OPE and painting tools brings a unique perspective to the site and affords us an opportunity to accurately and thoroughly test tools that perplex many other Pros. Tom also takes a no-nonsense approach to tools that keeps him from being impressed with a new gadget unless it truly performs.
Steve Villarete, Contributing Reviewer
A contributing writer for Pro Tool Reviews, Steve is a father, devoted husband, sportsman, and an avid practitioner of the Wing Chun fighting style. Steve’s interests put him in contact with a rather large assortment of knives and cutting instruments. He’s also developed a rather devoted affinity for cordless outdoor power equipment which he reviews as often as he can get his hands on them. Steve continues to provide the enthusiasm for tools that truly energizes everyone else around him.
Jack Plating, Contributing Reviewer
An avid craftsman with experience in fabrication, carpentry, home renovations, and furniture design, Jack owns a small business building custom vintage industrial furniture for residential and commercial customers. When he isn’t working or spending time with his wife and children, he enjoys trolling the back roads of the Georgia mountains looking for salvaged lumber and steel to turn into heirloom pieces for his customers. Jack’s penchant for good tools helps him maintain an enthusiasm for testing new products that’s downright contagious.
Mike Hurta, Contributing Reviewer
Being the former plant manager of a 300 acre, 200,000 square foot multi-building facility with 400+ employees and sales over $61 million per year might seem a bit daunting. Apparently not to Mike, who decided to simultaneously construct a dedicated home theater room and then renovate his kitchen and living spaces. Biting off more than he can chew is an art form—one that Mike is still working on perfecting. All in a day’s work, I guess. In the meantime, his love for tools shows in all that he writes.