A tribute to Sirron founder and advocate, John Watts

John was Sirron Group’s founder and a staunch advocate for the company vision.

It is with great sadness that we announce Sirron Group’s founder and staunch advocate for the company vision, to “leave the place better than we found it” passed away at 2am on Friday, April 3. Quietly, surrounded by family, he slipped away to meet his beloved wife Flora after a courageous attempt to recover from the effects of a massive stroke over Christmas.

He was the quiet, consistent voice that guided our values and he will be sorely missed. We will work as tirelessly to achieve his goals for community and charity, business success and Australian jobs as he did, in his honour.

Many people would know nothing of the man, so we wanted to share some of the comments heard during the inevitable phone calls to express condolences.

One colleague-turned-dear-friend-of-John recalls that he first met John in the early 1970’s when John was the controlling owner and prime mover of fixed and contract quarrying, asphalt and trucking operations. He quickly came to appreciate John’s accounting acumen and ability to find innovative and profitable improvements, including engineering details.

His presence made the business a very successful enterprise and, as time went by they became, through a partial buyout, close partners.

During this time, outside of work John was an active and devoted player and member at his home golf club in Sandgate. It is unarguable that his efforts at the Club made it an interesting course and a viable operation – even at play, John’s mind was always at work.

The same friend recalls one passion John developed that was purely personal, that being his interest in Jaguar cars. This became almost an obsession as he accumulated cars and parts which enabled him to have a garage of classic Jaguars, some of which were altered to suit his own taste and some accurately and meticulously restored.

John always had an extra eye for a great opportunity, as evidenced by the time he struck a deal after he incurred a bad debt, which ended up with John becoming a successful developer of significant size in the Sunshine Coast hinterland at Maleny, resulting in 100’s of homes. This could have been a disastrous undertaking for anyone else but John made it work. It was during this time that career John spotted and acquired Norris.

And the rest is history, as he went on, always with his wonderful wife Flora at his side, to create the business we now know as the Sirron Holdings Group.

Another colleague recalls a time when he was approached by a businessman, who pitched an idea for a business to make cooler cabinets to wash miners thermoses.

It turns out the businessman was previously known to John. There was never anything wrong with John’s memory and he was also a quick judge of character. When he was told of the impending business pitch meeting his quietly mumbled comments were “he is a super salesman and doesn’t pay his bills”.

The colleague ruefully recollected that at the business pitch, he was easily sold on the business idea. It caused the business to turn themselves inside out to make a prototype, which the ‘supersalesman’ had promised to pay for. It took a long, long, long time to be paid and the business idea never went anywhere. Should’ve listened to John’s mumble closer!

Everyone who knew John even a little was left in no doubt as to John’s capacity for great patience and compassion. He was a staunch, annual supporter of 10 charities and untold numbers of people he randomly met and found connection with benefited from his support in time of need. The legacy intended by the building of the Sirron Group is something those left behind are resolved to fiercely protect, to honour his intention and in his memory.

His life revolved around the love of his life, Flora. After her death, something noticeably changed in John. His perspective of things became more narrow and he became much more agitated to realise his goals. At all times, he considered he had the best interests of his business, his family and his charities and his friends at heart.

There is no doubt that success such as John’s is only possible with keen focus, hard work and agility of thinking. It made it hard for others to follow. It made it hard for some to understand him at all.

We take comfort in the realisation within ourselves of his faith in us. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and others who knew and loved him. We cherish the faith he put in us to continue his work.

Moving forward, the team at Sirron is committed to carrying on John’s legacy, and we believe nothing reflects this better than the adaptations we have made to the business structure to combat the current COVID 19 pandemic. You can read more about this here.

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