It is with great sadness that we share the news that Accent Tools' founding Director and Shareholder, Graeme Ridler (above right), passed away early this morning after a long battle with cancer.
Accent Tools' Managing Director, Andrew Way, says: "Graeme was a stalwart in our industry with a career spanning 40+ years, involved early in his career driving significant local and export growth with companies such as Yates and Ceramco.
"In 1988 Graeme and business partner Chris Kennings established Accent Tools to acquire the New Zealand agency for Hitachi Power Tools.
"Graeme is widely acknowledged as an innovator and influential member of the modern New Zealand power tool industry, having introduced to the New Zealand market over the following decades many new power tool innovations and construction practices that have shaped the industry we operate in today.
"Through a never ending passion and drive for success, Graeme helped build Hitachi Power Tools (now HiKOKI Power Tools), as well as our Nilfisk and Shinano Air Tool Agencies into leading industrial brands in New Zealand.
"As well as strong support and dedication for the retail and trade sectors, Graeme was also strongly involved in the Hire Association of New Zealand (HIANZ), supporting this industry group for over 25 years, including serving on the Board of Directors as Supplier Representative, and being awarded Honorary Membership in recognition of his service." [See top photo.]
From Mexico, Graeme told our sister magazine NZOPE at the time that he was "overwhelmed and humbled to be recognised... It was totally unexpected and wonderful to receive this acknowledgement."
Andrew continues: "Always the consummate salesman, Graeme worked tirelessly with our Dealer Partners to grow our mutual business and support New Zealand industry.
"There will be many industry friends and colleagues that will wish to join the staff and management of Accent Tools in passing on their condolences to the Ridler family."
Due to COVID restrictions, attendance at Graeme's funeral service will be restricted, however messages of support may be passed on to the family via Andrew Way (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our sympathies also go out to Graeme's family, friends and colleagues.