New DHI President: An Incredible Journey
David Beckham, AHC, FDAI
Insightful mentors and professional colleagues have helped me succeed in our fascinating door and hardware industry. I hope to pay it forward this year as your DHI PresidentDavid Beckham, AHC, FDAI
In February 1999, I showed up to work at a door and hardware distributor in the suburbs of Chicago, where I was raised and the place I currently call home.
At that time, I didn’t know what a career was, let alone think I needed one. A job is a job, right? Wrong. I started as a warehouse and shop person, which included sweeping floors and scrubbing the toilets when needed.
I always worked hard at any of the jobs I was asked to do, regardless of their glamour or lack thereof. I progressed to frame welder and door fabricator, and this quickly escalated to hardware marking and keying cylinders. Does that sound familiar to any of you?
The Importance of Mentorship
Projects are also moving much faster and require more coordination with other trades and suppliers, Just a few short years after I first walked in the door, my boss noticed I might just have the knack for this industry.
As all good mentors do, he started to talk to me about a career, not just a job. He encouraged me to attend DHI schools and attend my local chapter meetings. He shared his knowledge with me. He helped me avoid mistakes by spending countless hours with me. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was enjoying my work. My mentor put me on a path that forever changed my life.
Eventually I earned my Architectural Hardware Consultant (AHC) certification. I was so proud the day I received my letter that all I wanted to do was run to my mentor’s office and show him. The look of pride on his face was all I wanted to see.
Soon after I earned my certification, I became involved with DHI chapter leadership. My own journey with mentorship had started. Later, I became a DHI instructor and earned my Fire + Egress Door Assembly Inspector (FDAI) certification.
Eventually I was elected by my peers to the DHI Board of Governors and many other boards and committees for our industry. This has culminated in my current position as President of the Board of Governors.
I have also performed many roles at the distribution level. This includes counter sales, project management, estimating, detailing, purchasing, leadership and operations. There is no function or part of the process that is too humble for anyone who wants to advance in this industry.
If my time scrubbing toilets with a positive attitude taught me anything, it was also teaching my mentor that I was teachable. My mentor prepared me for all this, and due to his skilled guidance, I was set on a path to succeed.
As we navigate our careers through this industry, it is important to have mentors you can trust. Since joining the industry more than 20 years ago, I’ve been fortunate to be employed at three respectable companies, held many titles, and had several different mentors along the way. They have all been invaluable. From warehouse associate to an executive leader in 23 years’ time, the door and hardware industry afforded me this opportunity.
Building for the Future
In order for DHI to help deliver more training to more industry members in a faster and more efficient way A labor shortage is facing many industries, and the door, frame and hardware industry is no exception. DHI has emphasized the value of meeting people where they are in their career development, providing them training and education in ways that resonate with them.
Mentorship is also part of the way we can reach out to those who will fill the gaps left by the wave of an older generation as they reach retirement. Just as I benefited so much from mentors, I encourage all of you to find ways to mentor individuals entering our industry or even just contemplating their future, which could lead them to our industry.
As a mentor-mentee relationship develops, the end goal is not necessarily certification. Career paths take many directions, and the journey is unique for everyone. Since trust is so crucial in mentorship, guidance can also come in many forms, including being an ear for a difficult problem, a view into a different part of the industry, or a seat at the table to make further connections.
Membership in DHI is part of mentorship. Growing our membership will only serve to expand the ways that the industry engages with customers and the public.
My time volunteering at DHI has been an incredible journey. I’m deeply honored to be serving as your president and I am humbled by the amount of support and encouragement I’ve received over the years.
My thanks go out to all DHI members I have met over the years, volunteer course instructors, DHI volunteer leaders, and DHI staff. Their collective contributions to my career are rich and appreciated.
My goal this year is to pay it forward by giving back as much as possible from the knowledge and experience that so many people have helped me gain. I hope you will all join me in this spirit of giving back to the industry that has done so much for all of us.
This column appeared in the June/July 2022 issue of Door Security + Safety magazine, published by DHI.
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