David Alan Schulz was born October 9, 1954 in Saginaw, Michigan. He died December 19, 2020 at his home in Sanford, North Carolina. He was 66.
Known by his friends as Dave, he was a hardworking ironworker who started his career in construction in 1973 erecting grain dryers and boilers. Described as a funny, kind, and generous fireball of a personality, Dave was certainly rough around the edges. But that exterior belied a heart of gold.
With more gumption than money, he and his wife Cindy, opened Schulz Iron Works, Inc., in 1999 equipped with not much more than a pickup truck and credit card. Anyone who ever observed Dave and Cindy together knows that they just fit together. Married for 34 years, he adored her beyond measure.
Cindy serves as President, managing the business side of Schulz Iron Works, while Dave as Vice
President, remained hands on, reportedly working as many as six days a week, often in the field.
Together they assembled a team that today is about 45 people strong and feels more like family than employees. Several have been with Schulz Iron Works for 20+ years.
Generous with both his time and finances, Dave was a man of second chances, affording many of his employees an opportunity for a fresh start and a career path. He supported them in more ways than just a paycheck, investing in their personal and professional lives. For example, he was godfather to one team member’s child and made sure another had a company truck with a king cab, suitable for toting children in car seats to school.
In much the same way, he was passionate about safety, which was a key reason he joined the Steel
Erectors Association of America in 2001. Schulz Iron Works was one of the first companies to become an accredited training and assessment site in the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Craft Training Program, which he later expanded to also include crane operator and rigger training for his employees. He shared these training resources with other companies; on more than one occasion brought nearly one-fourth of his crew to SEAA’s annual conventions; and put his all into fundraising for SEAA’s education and training programs.
Dave first joined the SEAA board of directors in 2007. He served on the Safety & Education Committee for several years and more recently led the planning for SEAA’s Annual Education Fundraiser Golf Tournament at Lonnie Poole Golf Course located on the campus of NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. In typical Dave style, he agreed to not charge a customer for change orders if the company supported the golf tournament. That charitable mind set permeated much of the company’s activities with donated supplies and labor for Raleigh-area community projects and the NC State Student Steel Bridge Competition.
An unofficial ambassador of SEAA, Dave was named the association’s Person of the Year in 2009 and was elected President in 2018. Achieving this goal was a life-long dream of Dave’s which at times may have seemed like wishful thinking to anyone but Dave. The man was not polished—he wore red sneakers with his dress pants—and at times he had no filter, which was often hilarious. But when he screwed up, he learned from it. His energy and passion for life was amazing; his kindness overwhelming.