Industry Remembers One of the Good Guys, Chuck Williams

Chuck Williams
Chuck Williams (center) in 2006 at PAACE Automekanica in Mexico City with representatives from Reaco. Williams helped forge Putco's presence in the Mexican market, says former colleague Rufus Cipriano.

Chuck Williams, former Putco regional sales manager in Texas, died July 23, in San Antonio, Texas. He was 63 years old. Williams was Putco's national sales manager in the mid-’90s and rejoined the company as regional sales manager from 2005–2006.

Matt Payne, Putco vice president of sales, notes that Williams’ experience watching the company’s—and industry’s—mom-and-pop vendors grow into million-dollar enterprises taught him a lot about the operations of successful companies, experience he brought to bear at Putco.

“Beyond being a skilled sales manager, Chuck was a master at the art of a successful product launch,” Payne says. “Our company learned a lot from him over the years on how to create catalogs and show booths that stand out from the crowd. Chuck will be missed by all of the staff at Putco and by many in the automotive aftermarket.”

Williams shared an additional talent with the world: a role as Santa Claus, performed at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston—appropriate for a man born on Halloween (a tribute page for Williams on a local San Antonio TV station’s website overflows with memories of his Santa Claus role). Williams’ wife has requested that any contributions for Chuck be sent to Shriners Hospital for Children.

"Chuck was a fun-loving guy who worked hard," says Chuck Blum of Chuck Blum Consulting. "He was one of the early pioneers in the truck accessory business when it was just starting to grow, and worked for a number of companies who pioneered that segment."

Rufus Cipriano came to know Williams while working at Holley Performance. "I was totally green in selling truck accessories, and Chuck mentored me and showed me the difference of how to work and sell the best quality products offered in our industry," Cipriano remembers. "He was a pioneer in our industry and should be remembered as such. I will miss him."

“Chuck was quite a guy, well-respected by many,” says Chris Thomson of AIRAID. “He was the first real ‘factory’ guy I met early on in my travel days. He would always make us newbies feel welcome.

"He would take the time to learn something about you, something more than just your name. If he ran across something he knew you had an interest in, he would tell you all about it. In my home office I have a framed picture of the Blue Angels that he sent me based on a conversation we once had about aviation during the old American Road Show in Pittsburgh. There are fewer men like Chuck coming along, and I will certainly miss him and the man that he was.”