The son of two loyal alumni, David (Dave) Spalding (’67, Engineering) grew up wearing, seeing and being Spartan green. As a testament to his parents and for all MSU has meant to his family, Dave recently funded the Charles and Mary Jane Spalding Expendable Engineering Scholarships in their honor and became a member of MSU’s Theophilus C. Abbot donor society. The scholarships he created have already helped many engineering students, a high priority for Dave.
This year, ten students were selected to receive the scholarships, including Mairin Chesney, a sophomore mechanical engineering student from Brighton, Michigan. “The Spalding Scholarship is making such a difference in my time at Michigan State University. It has significantly eased the financial burden on me and my family,” she said, noting that the assistance has enabled her to more fully experience college life and specifically provided the financial flexibility for her to participate in the Society of Women Engineers. “I am so grateful to Mr. Spalding for his generosity.”
“Engineering was tough,” recalls Dave, an alumnus of the mechanical engineering program. “I was glad to earn that degree. The social experience I gained at MSU taught me how to respect all people and to stay well-rounded. Now that I am in a position to do some charitable contributing, I wanted to help others gain what I did. ”
Dave credits his parents with not only leading him to MSU, but also for instilling in him the value of the dollar, treating people fairly and working hard. Dave developed a simple but meaningful approach to living that has guided not only his success in business but also his style toward management, family and everyday life.
“I always felt here at the company that family is number one, then spiritual needs, community is next, and if those three are in balance the company will greatly benefit,” he said.
Dave’s family includes Betsy—his wife of nearly 40 years—and three children who he is proud to say are all college-educated. The company is one Dave built from the ground up. Literally up, that is, because his business develops, produces and distributes roofing products.
Dave started out working for Uniroyal in a division for industrial roofing. An entrepreneur at heart, he purchased the rights to their unique waterproofing membrane formula. American Hydrotech, the company he built on that product, boasts its headquarters in downtown Chicago, but his business acumen has led to branches and associated businesses all over the world. They sell their products to construction firms and work directly with such well-known clients as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Gehry Partners, LLP and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Dave’s affection for green goes far beyond his Spartan allegiance. He is currently involved in providing “green” garden roofing systems and employs several MSU crop and soil sciences alumni who are heading up this environmentally progressive approach. Another testament to Dave: 50 percent of his employees have been with him for upwards of 25 years.
After MSU, Dave completed an MBA at Western Michigan University. He believes his education was key in preparing him for his future. “You have to be well-prepared for when opportunity presents itself or you might miss it. When opportunity and preparation cross, you are very fortunate. I have been fortunate in my life.”
For more information on giving to the College of Engineering, contact Senior Director of Development Stephen Bates at (517) 355-8339.