Kirkcaldy optician celebrates 30 years with Specsavers
Kirkcaldy man, Gary Wood, is celebrating 30 years’ service with Specsavers.
The father of two is a qualified dispensing optician and currently director at Specsavers in Glenrothes, Leven, Cupar and Lerwick, and previously led remote operations for Highlands and Islands before Specsavers Lerwick was established.
As a teenager, Gary played for Kirkcaldy Junior Ice Hockey, which was sponsored by the company, and he was fitted with contact lenses at his local store when, director at the time, Fiona Walker offered him a job.
He said: “I was 17 and left school with good qualifications but no clear career path or further education plan to pursue.
"I started out with admin tasks at Specsavers Kirkcaldy while considering my options but after a few months I moved into the lab, learning the ropes as an optical technician and later learning how to dispense.”
After a short hiatus, Gary was offered a role within the lab at Specsavers in Perth, and, when he was 21, he left to become lab manager in Glenrothes, and, within a year, became store manager.
Supported throughout by director Stewart Wilson, Gary completed a three-year course to become a qualified dispensing optician while in the role of store manager and secured his first director title aged 31.
Gary added: “Not many people know that you can pursue a managerial career at Specsavers without a degree.
"It is a growing company, it’s an exciting place to work with lots of opportunities and thanks to its excellent training programmes you can develop quickly and have job security from a young age.
“I take great pride in helping other people to grow with us. I had several great role models, including Stewart Wilson, who is a fantastic mentor.
"I hope to encourage more people to pursue a career in optics whether that be as an optician or in non-clinical operations and management like myself.”
A career highlight for Gary was launching the first mobile joint venture in Highlands & Islands aged 31 in January 2006.
Operating with no fixed location, Gary and the team would visit town halls and community centres to conduct eye tests remotely or at workplaces, they would test within factories and dispense safety glasses.