“Something that I really enjoy about SIGMADESIGN is the fact that I’ve always been empowered to make decisions, and I’ve always felt a sense of ownership over what I do.”
David began working at SIGMADESIGN in 2010
Early Life and Education:
I am a middle child, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, specifically in Canby, Oregon. In high school, I realized that if I took one extra class during my junior year, I would be able to graduate a semester early. After graduating early, I moved to Lake City, Florida, where my aunt was the chairman of the education department. She motivated me to go to college, and arranged for me to attend a community college in Lake City.
Like many people, I worked part-time while going to school. As a shift manager at McDonalds, I learned a lot about decision making and leading a team. After a couple of years of school and work, I got homesick. I moved back to Oregon and enrolled at Portland State University to work toward a business degree. During this time, I was also working as a teller for a savings and loan (S&L) company in Portland, and learning a lot about finance. When I met my (now) wife, I slowed down on schooling, and as life got in the way, I put school on hold. Still at the S&L, I went on to do mortgages and then started working for the credit card department with US Bank.
While working at US Bank, my first daughter was born. My wife and I shared a nanny with another couple, but in looking more closely at our finances, we realized it would actually be cheaper overall to be a single-income family. This meant I would stop working and become a full-time caregiver. I took over all responsibilities for our former nanny, and became a certified day care provider. Caring for our daughter and the kids of the couple we shared a nanny with previously. I continued to work as a day care provider for another year after our second daughter was born. Then, I became a full-time stay at home dad, which I did for 14 years. For most of that time, we lived in Portland, and then moved to Vancouver, WA.
The Road to SIGMADESIGN:
On the school playground in Vancouver, I met Bill and Becky Huseby. Our kids played together, and we became friends. My aunt from Lake City had moved, and was a professor at the University of Idaho. She connected me with a distance learning program there. I graduated with a degree in Office Administration (22 years after I first started college). It was a challenge to finish my degree, because I was out of school for so long. My aunt was instrumental in helping that happen. I’m lucky that she provided so much inspiration and encouragement for so long. For graduation, Bill and Becky threw me a party at their house.
One evening, I got a call from another friend who worked at SIGMADESIGN at the time, asking if I wanted to come in over the weekend to help pack boxes. I went in on Sunday and Monday to help pack a line of tooling that was shipping overseas. That was my beginning at SIGMADESIGN and I never left! Initially, I worked as a contractor. That turned into 20 hours a week, which worked out well, since I could drop my kids off at school, work, and then pick them up when I was done.
When SIGMADESIGN moved the shipping department into the annex across from our Vancouver HQ at 1500 Broadway, there wasn’t a dedicated shipping person. I packed all the boxes, but all the documentation, shipping, and communication with customers was done by someone else. After about five months, I was hired full-time to build up the Shipping & Receiving department, and after we moved to 1714 Broadway in 2010, I was alone in that role for four years. At that time, we had one person doing Purchasing, and I began helping her out, splitting time between that and Shipping. Eventually, splitting time became too much, so I transitioned to Purchasing full time. In 2015, when we opened East Manufacturing in Vancouver, we brought on two dedicated buyers, and I transitioned into Payroll and Finance. I covered for individuals on two consecutive maternity leaves, and after that I settled into Finance exclusively.
What’s Happening Now?
In early 2020, I moved to Kirkland, WA to help out with the relatively new SIGMADESIGN office. It was only days later that we got the stay at home order because of COVID-19. While unpacking, I received the email from Bill telling all employees to work from home if possible. Currently, I manage the Finance team remotely from the Kirkland office, and I love it. It’s been a great challenge. SIGMADESIGN leadership has encouraged me to stretch my abilities and helped me learn how to support and build my team.
Something that I really enjoy about SIGMADESIGN is the fact that I’m able to make high-level decisions, and I always feel a sense of ownership over what I do. I don’t know how to express that feeling – in my current role especially, there’s so much that I’m responsible for and have the power to do, but even when I wasn’t managing, I still felt empowered to make decisions without specific approval. SIGMADESIGN values my experience and opinions, and I appreciate the trust they have in employees to do the right thing. The core values foster that sense of empowerment for everyone, which is a pretty big deal.
I love analyzing and solving problems that were previously unsolvable. Research into things accounting-related topics, which is probably boring for most people, is something I quite enjoy. I also have a fantastic team… I work with great people and I love the challenge of management. Even though we haven’t met in person for over a year, we’re still able to connect regularly. That family feeling hasn’t been lost.
The Great Outdoors:
Outside of work, my wife and I love to travel and see new places. Since both kids are out of the house now, we’ve been doing that a lot more. We bought an RV a few years ago which we enjoyed, but we recently sold that and now have a new travel trailer. It’s great for getaways. We can put our kayaks on it and do a little bit of outdoor adventuring. Cycling, golf, kayaking, and reading are all made better by doing them while we’re out camping in the trailer.
When we moved to Kirkland, we were so excited about all the rivers and lakes and outdoor spaces around the Seattle area, but the pandemic put a hold on a lot of our travel plans. We’re optimistic about this summer and hoping to take the trailer to Colorado and Wyoming to visit our oldest daughter. On the way back, we plan to make our way through Wyoming and Montana to see Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.