Meet Steve Willis, our new Southland Regional Manager
Steve Willis reckons he’s hit a home run, with his new role as CrestClean’s Southland Regional Manager.
The accomplished softball player, who previously worked as a senior account manager for Kimberly-Clark, has a passion for the cleaning industry and says applying for the role was “a no-brainer”.
“It was everything I wanted. I have been in sales for a long time, and it was time to put my experience to good use to grow and help other people become better,” says Steve.
Over the past couple of weeks, while he’s been learning the ropes, he says it’s “very obvious that this is a fantastic company and everyone looks after each other”.
Married to Rachel, and Dad to Connor, 5, and Isabella, 2, Steve was born and bred in Invercargill.
After finishing school, he was accepted into the Otago Rugby Academy and attended Otago Polytechnic, returning to Invercargill after two years to help with his stepfather’s plastering business.
“I ended up doing a trade in interior plastering and design. It’s a trade I’m honoured to have,” says Steve.
He later returned to Dunedin where he worked at Forsyth Barr Stadium, before moving to Australia with Rachel.
“That’s where my passion for cleaning came about,” explains Steve.
“I worked for Kimberly-Clark as an Account Manager for the Western Australia region, and within three years was promoted to Senior Account Manager, looking after the Northern Territories, South Australia and Western Australia… it was a big area.
“Anyone can do a job but if you’re just doing it for your pay cheque it’s not a very nice job. When you have a bit of passion for what you’re doing, you go a long way.”
While living in Perth, he also followed his other passion — softball.
“I played softball for the Perth Outlaws club and ended up getting signed to represent Western Australia for three seasons. It was amazing to play with and against some of the world’s best players at the time,” says Steve.
“Softball is my family sport. My father went pretty high up in the ranks. He played for Southland and Otago, and I grew up idolising him. If anyone ever asked me who my sporting hero was, I always said, Dad.’
After six years, and with the arrival of Connor, he and Rachel moved back to New Zealand to be closer to family.
Settling back in Invercargill, Steve found employment with PlaceMakers as a Sales Account Manager, celebrating his five-year anniversary with the company just prior to joining CrestClean.
Currently recovering from a leg injury, he coaches the Panthers Major League softball team in Invercargill, and is hoping to recover in time to get a few games in with them before the end of the season.
He also coaches Connor’s Under 7s T-Ball team and is part of the Southland Development Programme to cultivate other pitchers in the region.
When he’s not coaching or playing softball, Steve likes getting into the outdoors, fishing and spending time with family.
“We have a family whitebait stand on the Haast River which my grandfather owns. The blokes of the family go whitebaiting there every year and fishing for trout and blue cod … there’s no reception there and you eat what you catch which is awesome.”
Steve says his “three pillars” in life are — valuing yourself and others, trust and accountability.
“I bring a lot of support to franchisees because I care. I care about the success of their business, because their success is my success, and my success is their success.”