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Toro's Byers, and his ADR Legacy (Dec. 7)

Andrew R. (Drew) Byers
1946 – 2011

This tribute to Drew Byers was prepared by Donald S. Trevarthen.  He is Director, Division Counsel at Toro Co., which makes yard and garden equipment. Trevarthen and Toro are longtime participants in CPR Institute initiatives and events. Toro is based in Bloomington, Minn.

The Toro Company, the CPR Institute and the legal profession lost a dear friend and colleague this year.  Andrew R. (Drew) Byers, age 64, passed away on Sept. 16, 2011.  Drew served as Toro's Senior Manager of Corporate Product Integrity from 1988–2010.

Drew led Toro’s product liability claims resolution program–focusing on safety and prevention, early investigation of accidents, and mediation–for two decades. 

Drew was a true pioneer in the alternative dispute resolution field.  He transformed Toro’s approach to resolving its portfolio of product liability claims.  Prior to the implementation of the program, Toro treated injured parties as potential litigation adversaries, instead of “unhappy customers.”  As a result, Toro has been able to amicably resolve virtually every claim, often with $0 outcomes, over the past 20+ years.  The program truly has been a “win-win” – a remarkable feat.

Toro takes great pride in its innovative products – and in its innovative product integrity program.  Drew was the man who championed the company’s mediation approach.   He had a keen sense for how to get plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ counsel to come to the table early, how to pick mediators, and how to settle the cases.  He was adept at leveraging the strength of local counsel and had an innate sense for finding the “sweet spot” in getting the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel to reach a deal.  He achieved successful settlements in dozens and dozens of claims during his 20+ year career with Toro. 

Drew fully supported CPR’s work in the ADR field and admired the companies who committed to using ADR to resolve disputes.  He is deeply missed by all of his colleagues, both at Toro and at CPR.

--Donald S. Trevarthen, Toro Co., Bloomington, Minn.

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Attached in PDF format is a Sept. 2002 Alternatives article summarizing a CPR Institute meeting session at which Drew Byers participated in a role play exercise with his Toro conflict resolution colleagues demonstrating the company's award-winning multistep alternative dispute resolution processes.  "Toro's Approach to Conflict Management:  A Case Study in Advocacy," appears on Page 149 of the PDF.

Download this PDF:  byersarticleSept2002.pdf