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ms Q+A: Dave Tabak

Maggie Kearns Francis

July 25, 2018


I’m a lifelong Youngstown resident with all my schooling able to fit in a one mile radius, ending at YSU. After graduating with my civil engineering degree, I worked at MVSD for nearly 30 years before joining the ms team. I have a married daughter, son, and two step-daughters. My wife Laurie and I have been married almost 22 years. Oh, and we have three rescue cats who seem to rule the house. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear that I firmly believe that there is not a bad day on the golf course!


What was your first job?  
Painting my grade school in the summer of ’69 at age 15. This was before OSHA, and looking back on that my fellow workers and I could have almost been the poster children for the Act. That summer was interesting. While working, we had the opportunity to drag the TV out of the AV room to watch Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins blast off to the moon on Apollo 11, 4 days prior to the first moon landing. Exciting times!


What is one item on your bucket list?
Playing a round at Augusta National, but I’m a realist so let’s say St. Andrews. (or Pebble Beach or Bethpage Black).


If you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, who would it be?
Arnold Palmer, but I don’t drink coffee, so it might have to be an Earl Grey or, well, maybe an Arnold Palmer?


As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An engineer, but the kind that keeps the trains on the tracks. I’ve always been fascinated by railroads and their operations.


Best concert you’ve been to?
Alabama – Farewell Tour (so they said at the time) at Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach. It must have been a nostalgic thing that made it the best.


Favorite vacation spot?
Myrtle Beach


Least favorite food?
Liver and onions. Won’t even feed it to the neighbor’s dog.


Favorite TV show?
Two of them – The Blacklist and Big Bang Theory, one offsets the other.


If you could live one day over again, which would you pick?
The last time I was with my father.


What sets ms apart from other engineering & architecture firms?
From my perspective, it is the ability and desire to not only provide technical expertise but to develop a relationship with our clients to understand the difficulties that they see in their operations and offer suggestions to make their lives a little easier.


If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be doing?
I think I would be in golf course management or a PGA Professional, not a Tour player (that ship sailed a long time ago) but a club pro. I can diagnose a swing and help correct the problem – I just can’t seem to put my suggestions to use in my own game. 


What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Probably to study hard, become an engineer, and forget about being a club pro!


You’ve got one day in Youngstown. What do you do?
Early golf round at Mill Creek, tour the Butler Institute, reopen the Golden Dawn for a schooner of Genny, go to the MVR for some Tressel Tortellini, catch the Penguins (would have to be a late afternoon or night game to allow for tailgating), and top it off with a visit to Wedgewood Pizza, The Elmton, or the Downtown Avalon. Oh, also need to stop for a dog at Jay’s Famous Hot Dogs.


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Golf (in case that hasn’t been evident to this point). Working in the garden and yard landscaping provide a great deal of relaxation and stress relief. I need that to counteract the golf, but remember, I still stick to the mantra that there is no such thing as a bad day on the golf course (but if you hear the whoosh of a helicopter, cover your head and just duck!).


Any final words?
Live life to the fullest, because you just never know!