A Sheffield sales manager has spent more than four decades working with one of the world’s biggest cutting tool manufacturers and has no intention of stopping just yet.
Alan Fowler, from Asheville in North Carolina, USA, is currently the Eastern Regional Sales Manager for Precision Dormer, the American division of the global tooling company.
Having worked for the company since 1967, Alan is Dormer’s longest serving current employee.
Born in Sheffield, England, he joined as a trainee in the Export department working at Dormer’s Summerfield Street facility – the company’s base since its inception as the Sheffield Twist Drill Co. back in 1913.
Alan, 63, said:
“Working for Dormer has been an excellent experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. If someone told me in 1967 I would be still working with the same company, I would have laughed.
“I was referred to as ‘young Alan’ in Sheffield, which seems quite ironic now!
“I’ve enjoyed it. There’s been a lot of innovation and change, some struggles, but it’s all been a very worthwhile experience and I would have no hesitation in doing it all over again.
“Dormer has always been a proactive brand – quick to launch new products, a strong marketing department and some of the best literature in the industry.
“Over the years the company has grown through acquisitions and today features a broader offering than many other cutting tool companies.
“Dormer continues to signify innovation and is well positioned today to grow at a much faster rate than when I first joined the company.”
Alex and John Dormer, son and grandson of original company founder Harry, still worked at the company when Alan began his career and as Dormer celebrates its centenary he remembers his first years in the UK fondly.
“It was a very busy period in Sheffield when I joined Dormer. It was my second job after leaving school and there was a great group of people in the Export department.
“It was very active. We had a lot of overseas visitors and business – at home and abroad – was good.”
Alan’s export role at Dormer saw him visit the company’s field office in Toledo, Ohio in America and following a seven-month training sabbatical there was offered a permanent job.
“It was a very small operation in Ohio, but I loved the experience and everything about the United States at that time,” said Alan. “America seemed very exciting with lots of potential.”
By the late 1980s Alan chose to have an 18-month break from Dormer and worked as vice-president of sales at Union Butterfield in North Carolina. Ironically, Union Butterfield was then acquired by Dormer, allowing Alan to renew his relationship with the company.
“After returning to Dormer in the same sales role and location, I realised that Dormer was where I always really wanted to be.
“It was very competitive in America, but Dormer continued to acquire companies and this gave it strength and a stronger global footprint.”
Alan rose to become President of Sales, Union Butterfield, a position he held when Dormer became part of the Sandvik Group and then, in 2002, joined forces with Precision.
When operations moved to Precision’s headquarters in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Alan elected to remain in Asheville, NC and take a position as Regional Sales Manager for the group, a role he continues to perform today.
“I’m responsible for covering the east coast area of the US, which is about a third of the overall volume in America. It’s a huge area including most industry segments, and in the south east there is a very active and growing aerospace and automotive industry.”
Alan is excited about the future for Dormer and is keen to continue with an active role in the development of the company.
“Dormer continues to present a strong value proposition to customers which includes not only the right products, but all the elements necessary for success today, including e-commerce, literature, technical support and high service levels in support of our channel partners.
“A new generation of Dormer people continue to look at new ideas and innovative ways to communicate with customers. The development of stronger e-commerce capability, web-based training and product apps is a showcase of the proactive approach Dormer has always taken.”