David Strader, '72
2019 Alumni of the Year recipient for the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences
Dave grew up in Charleston during the boom years of the chemical industry in the Kanawha Valley. He worked four summers at Diamond Shamrock while attending West Virginia Tech. The experience working in a chemical plant provided a good start into his future profession.
After graduating, Dave moved to Rochester, New York to work with Eastman Kodak as a facility engineer, but the pull of home and the mountains brought him back to “Almost Heaven,” West Virginia to continue his career with Union Carbide as a rotating equipment specialist. An opportunity presented itself to become a sales and application engineer with Precision Pump Service, which opened the door to move to RA Mueller as part-owner and vice president of a $65 million Cincinnati-based Process Equipment Sales Company.
As the chemical industry dwindled in the Kanawha Valley, Dave retired, but quickly found that retirement was not in his DNA. He then moved to consulting engineering work as a mechanical engineer with CDI Engineering, where he became an engineering manager and general manager of the West Virginia Office. During a downturn in the economy, he retired for the second time with the same results. He continues to work part-time for Jacobs as an engineering project manager.
Project work has taken him to distant places, including Mumbai, Panama, Germany and many states across the continental United States. He is a professional engineer licensed in 22 states. Projects have ranged from ammonia nitrate plants in Louisiana and Iowa, a cyanide briquette plant for the recovery of gold in Texas, a reverse osmosis water filtration manufacturing plant in Minnesota, an organic herbicide plant in Michigan, a plastics plant in California and numerous other projects of varying sizes and locations.
After more than forty-five years in various industrial settings and having retired twice, working towards the third retirement, Dave enjoys working with younger engineers to pass along some of his expertise and experiences. He has shared his views on Mechanical Engineering with students in Introduction to Engineering Classes at Marshall and has served on the WVU Tech Mechanical Engineering Steering Committee.
Dave and his wife Candy are both from Charleston, West Virginia, where they continue to reside. Their family includes five children and seven grandchildren – all under the age of seven. Growing up, Dave spent many weekends and summer vacations in the woods camping, hunting and fishing with the Boy Scouts, where he obtained the rank of Eagle Scout. He continued his love of the outdoors, where the family farm in Webster County became his hunting camp and place to relax during off time. Dave also enjoys scuba diving, tennis, and traveling.
Dave’s love of travel and scuba diving has taken him to many out-of-way places, such as the Galapagos Islands, Palau, Bonaire, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, Caymans, Hawaii and Summersville Lake. He and Candy have taken a river cruise on the Danube, visited the British Isles and took a trip to Australia and New Zealand, where Dave spent three days on the Great Barrier Reef scuba diving with sharks.