The management and staff of First Cut, together with local and international colleagues mourn the loss of First Cut’s sales director Gary Willis, who passed away on Thursday evening 1 April, at the age of 51.
Willis fought an 18-month battle with cancer very bravely, remaining resolutely positive until the end.
Wealth of experience
Since starting work in his late father’s tungsten carbide tool tip business in 1990, Gary garnered a wealth of experience in the industrial tool sector, in the supply of cutting consumables and, latterly, in the retailing of DIY tools.
Willis had a 25 year history with First Cut, some 15 years of which was in a senior management position in the company, culminating in his position as sales director, heading up the Consumables division. He took his role and contribution to the business – and the industry as a whole – extremely seriously, was highly diligent and always thought deeply about his responsibilities.
In his approach to business, Willis had a ‘hands-on’, practical approach which was very logical and measured, with a talent for dealing with the detail. These skills really came to the fore when implementing sales strategy. His characteristically careful and consistent approach contributed substantially to the successful management of the First Cut Consumables division – very much the ‘heart’ of the business.
He was also always well prepared, whether for an Exco meeting, a meeting with a customer or his weekly Friday afternoon sales meeting. He always considered the well-being of his staff, his customers and his suppliers, in making his suggestions and decisions. Gary will indeed be sorely missed by the staff and management of First Cut.
Open to those around him
He was always open – ear, heart and mind – to the people around him, and he listened carefully, considering everyone’s viewpoints with calm and sensitivity. He was a very loyal manager, fighting robustly for the benefit of his team. Because of this character trait, Willis was uniformly trusted and respected by all.
He leaves his wife Katy, daughter Lauren, his mother and his brother David. He was a dedicated family man, and was loving and highly protective over his family, always focused on their safety and well-being. He put the loves of his life – Katy and Lauren – first. First Cut’s thoughts and prayers go to his family during this very difficult time.
“It has been an honour and privilege working with and getting to know Gary over the past 25 years. We complemented one another’s strengths and weaknesses, forming a close and cohesive partnership with much mutual synergy and benefit. He was both a colleague of the highest order and a genuine friend. We worked hard together, we laughed, we celebrated, we dug deep when necessary – but most of all we enjoyed and valued his company,” says Andrew and Ian and the First Cut team.