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.
SEAA’s Executive Board directs six committees, which tackle specific projects and annual planning. “More than anything, involvement in the day-to-day work of the association is what opened doors and created great networking opportunities for me personally,” said Jack Nix, Chairman of the Membership Committee.
Openings are available for each of the following committees. Committees meet in person at quarterly board meetings and by conference call as projects dictate. Looking for more information? Contact Tom Underhill at the SEAA office or the individual chairperson. https://www.seaa.net/get-connected.html#committees
Long Range Planning, Josh Cilley
Finance, Greg Phillips
Safety & Education, Bryan McClure
Media, Chris Legnon
Convention, Carrie Gulajan
Membership, Jack Nix
Chris Legnon, Cooper Steel Fabricators, Inc., Shelbyville, Tenn.
Chris Legnon joined the SEAA Board of Directors in 2015 and currently serves as Secretary and Chairperson of the Media Committee.
He is Vice President of Strategic Planning at Cooper Steel Fabricators, Inc., a family-owned AISC Certified Fabricator and Erection Company. Chris began working for Cooper Steel while attending college in 1999. He began full-time in 2004 in Plant Operations and has held roles as Estimator, Project Manager, Senior Sales Manager and Vice President of Preconstruction prior to his current role.
Chris received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University.
Chris and his wife of 14 years, Brooke, reside in East Nashville, Tenn., and welcomed their first child, Edward, in 2015. In his spare time, Chris enjoys cooking, traveling abroad and live music.
Bob Beckner, Peterson Beckner Industries, Inc., Frisco, Texas
Bob Beckner has been a member of SEAA since 1993; he served as SEAA President from 1999 – 2000, a Board Director for 24 years, and currently serves as member-at-large on the Executive Committee and the Convention Committee. In 2007, he was awarded the William Davis Service Award for his service to SEAA and the steel erection industry.
Bob is Senior Vice-President & Area Manager of Peterson Beckner Industries, Inc., an AISC Advanced Certified steel erection contractor specializing in the erection of complex steel structures in the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors throughout the USA.
He attended the University of Texas at Arlington and has two children, Alexa and Dillon. His interests include golf, hunting, football and traveling.