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 1st April at the age of 51. Gary bravely fought an 18 months battle with cancer, remaining resolutely positive until the end.
Since starting work at his late father’s tungsten carbide tool tip business in 1990, he gained a wealth of experience in the industrial tool sector and the supply of cutting consumables.
Gary had a 25 year history with First Cut, some 15 years in a senior management position, followed by his appointment as Sales Director, heading up the consumables division. He took his role extremely serious, was highly diligent and always thought deeply about his responsibilities.
Gary was a ‘hands-on’ person, practical, logical and with a talent for dealing with detail. These skills came to the fore when implementing a sales strategy. Gary’s 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 always well prepared, whether for an Exco meeting, a meeting with a customer or his weekly Friday afternoon sales meeting and never missed to consider the well-being of his staff, his customers and suppliers before making a decision. Gary will indeed be sorely missed by the staff and management of First Cut.
While he was open – ear, heart and mind – to the people around him, he listened carefully, considering everyone’s viewpoints with calm and sensitivity. He was a very loyal manager, who always fought for the benefit of his team and therefore, Gary was trusted and respected by all.
Gary leaves his wife Katy, daughter Lauren, his mother and his brother David. He was a dedicated family man, loving and highly protective over his family, while always focussing on their safety and well-being. He put the loves of his life – Katy and Lauren – first. Our 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.
We will miss you deeply Gary, rest in peace.
Andrew and Ian and the First Cut team