Mike Willett was “born and bred” in Southeast London, and now lives in Beckenham, Kent, with his wife Elaine and their children. His career with F. Ball spans almost 13 years since he joined the company in August 2005, so what did he do before?
Mike explains: “When I was 16 my parents gave me an option, or rather an ultimatum: stay in school, or get a job. I got the very first job I interviewed for which happened to be in the flooring trade, and I’ve remained in the business ever since. In that first job, I travelled to many different places as well as running the warehouse; I was about 27 years younger than the next guy, so I learned a lot very quickly!”
In an average week as an F. Ball technical representative, Mike gives advice to anywhere between 20 and 30 customers, in addition to visiting sites and liaising with contractors and distributors. “Meeting new people is definitely one of the perks of the job”, he says. “I love the freedom that comes with working for F. Ball; they hire you because they trust you to get things done. This means that everyone has a slightly different style of working, but with F. Ball it works. It’s a very good company to be a part of.”
When asked about the problem he deals with most regularly, Mike laughs and says: “I’m sure I’m about to say exactly the same thing as everyone you interview – damp! It is without a doubt the single biggest issue we come across; the vast bulk of problems in any site relate to moisture in some way. It can be frustrating if someone doesn’t take our advice and gets it wrong, but it’s all part of the job!”
When asked about any special personal achievements, Mike reveals there is a plaque on a building in South London with his name on it: “I won the Best Student prize in my last year at primary school! I was the third Willett on that wall, after two of my cousins. They can’t give out those sorts of awards any more, all children have to be equal…which I suppose makes my award even more impressive!”
Outside of his well-rounded flooring career, Mike is definitely a family man, claiming that his children are his biggest achievement in life: “One of my favourite things to do is to go skiing with my sons in Andorra. The boys are absolutely fearless though; the older I get, the more I look at those big slopes and think, “I’ll hurt myself!” I’ve warned them that they’ll have to be ready to catch me one of these days!”
Let’s hope that doesn’t happen any time soon!