As President and CEO of ECMC Group, Dave led a national team of more than 3,500 employees—overseeing $30 billion in assets, $700 million in annual revenue, and a $600 million charitable foundation. He also personally shepherded the acquisition of 50 career colleges across the country and the launch of ECMC’s nonprofit affiliate. His first day as Urban Ventures' President and CEO is September 1.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH PRIOR TO COMING TO URBAN VENTURES.
I’ve been in the corporate world all my life. I’ve worked mostly in finance in the context of college loan lending. Until a few months ago, the furthest thing from my mind was leaving. However, it’s also fair to say that there have been times throughout my career when I’ve wrestled privately with whether I was where God wanted me to be long-term. Once I heard about the position at Urban Ventures, those thoughts resurfaced in a new and surprising way.
WHAT INTERESTED YOU ABOUT URBAN VENTURES?
What impressed me immediately about Urban Ventures is the emphasis on empowerment. The focus is not on hand-outs, but on equipping members of the community to thrive. The day I first learned of UV, I emailed one of the staff listed on the website and requested a tour. My wife and I were soon invited over and spent the better part of an afternoon walking through the campus, meeting people, and seeing some of the programming in action. I left that day saying, “I love this place.” I really did.
HOW DID YOU COME TO DETERMINE THIS WAS WHERE YOU WANTED TO BE?
I got the letter announcing that Tim Clark was leaving in late April, so I sent him a note wishing him well. Honestly, even then, it never occurred to me that I’d replace him. I can really only explain it as a “God Thing.” I sensed God was asking me, “Dave, what are you doing with your life?”—and there was this whisper of Urban Ventures in my ear.
TELL US ABOUT THE PROCESS OF MAKING THIS TRANSITION.
All along the way I kept feeling God was in the midst of it. I had this heart and head struggle going on: My heart was telling me to go for it, and my head was telling me I was crazy and the timing wasn’t right. So I made a conscious decision to surrender. My wife and I prayed about it a lot, and I brought it to some close friends to pray about it; they were all really encouraging. I never had this kind of certainty before about any job. I’ve felt God’s leading many times in my life, but I’ve never felt it so clearly with such little information!
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED FOR IN THIS NEW CHAPTER AT URBAN VENTURES?
I’ve long sought to operate as a servant leader—which can be controversial in a secular workplace but takes on new meaning within a faith-based organization. As a leader, the focus has to be on serving everyone else so that they can fulfill the mission of the organization. I love that Urban Ventures is all about equipping, and that drives everyone who works here. I admire the board, leadership team, and every employee I’ve met so far. They truly pour their hearts and souls into serving this community. I’m inspired by them. I’m here to roll up my sleeves and help the mission of Urban Ventures in any way I can.