I have had the good fortune of working with, and learning from, great leaders during my career. One of the keys that has been evident to me is their ability to build great relationships and focus on bringing people and resources together to get results. Dave Kirven, business manager for Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 94 in Canton, has spent 32 years in the labor field, working to bring the community together by getting people and organizations to go outside of their comfort zones for the common good.
In addition to his responsibilities with Local 94, Dave is also president of the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council, which comprises 22 local trade union chapters, and is chairman of the Stark Carroll Oil & Gas Partnership, an alliance of local community and government groups that promotes understanding of the oil and gas industry.
Dave is a good friend and I am honored to feature him as one of our spotlight interviews this month. Here are his comments:
Heroes, coaches and mentors: My most significant hero was my sister Laura, who battled cancer for 20 years. I have also taken bits and pieces of learning from various union leaders and managers over my career.
Most significant “a-ha” or “wow” moments to this point: I’d have to say the importance of my family, and the realization of how fast kids grow up. I’ve also learned the importance of not second-guessing myself and being professional and self-confident.
Greatest insights and experiences: I am the first plumber in 35 years to sit in this chair and have the responsibility of being business manager for our union. So I’ve learned the importance of getting past stigmas and:
1.) being more inclusive and learning how to treat people;
2.) being more transparent; and
3.) learning how to deal with people and getting more people involved.
Three key pearls of wisdom to share with young aspiring leaders:
1.) Share your success.
2.) Own your mistakes.
3.) Nine out of 10 times if it feels good in your heart, it is probably the right thing to do.
The legacy that you want to leave: I want organizations to see the integrity of the work that we do.