Tue, May 2, 2017
Conference Speaker Title(s)
Director, and retired Chairman, IDEAL Industries Inc.
Dave was born in Sycamore, home of IDEAL INDUSTRIES INC; the family owned and controlled business since 1916. He joined the company in 1972 after college at Shimer and grad school at University of Chicago. Experience as a teacher, VISTA volunteer, and several years in a manufacturing company in Chicago proved to be important career steps prior to IDEAL.
Dave held several positions at IDEAL, from IT director, to salesman, to marketing positions, culminating with being named chairman in 1984. He held the CEO title for some portion of his 30 years as chairman, depending on who he had in operations.
The first part of his term as chairman included revising the role of the board, working with family to enhance and formalize the family governance systems to parallel corporate governance, and reevaluating markets being served. It led to a series of actions, including creating a Voting Trust and a stock redemption policy, both of which have become the backbone of future growth for the company and the family.
The middle portion led to several acquisitions that moved IDEAL into a broader reach into the data communications market, entered the environmental monitoring market, a greenfield operation in China, and novel approach to connection technology in the high current DC arena.
The final stage was focused on exiting the chairman role. He was able to recruit a very talented non-family member who heartily embraced the overall direction of the family and company, which led to a new level of involvement for the next generation of family leaders. Along with an extremely complex estate planning effort, IDEAL is well placed for growth for generations to come.
Dave has served on several boards from a community bank to an ag retailer, to a high tech HVAC startup in the private sector. He served 10 years on the Illinois State Board of Education as well as the local school board. He has been active in support of the local community college as well as NIU. Economic development has been a real interest, having served DeKalb County, Illinois as well as Vilas County Wisconsin.
Since his retirement in 2014, he keeps up with happenings at IDEAL, overseeing a major construction project, serving on its board, and driving the estate planning initiative. He also owns a manufacturing incubator operation in Vilas County where he advises, and sometimes funds startups. He has five operations currently, with several having come and gone.