Honoring Local Presidents
David Swain, Liberty Utilities
What’s a typical day like for you?
I spend most of my time managing relationships and working on strategy.
What do you love most about your field and what you do?
The simple answer is the people. I work with 800 employees, and I want to spend time talking with as many of them as I can. Everyone we meet has a story, and I know I can learn something from every one of them.
There is always more to do than what can be done in a day, but building relationships with those around me is what will yield the best results.
What did you do before your current position?
My previous title and company are the same but for a different location. I lived in New England and worked as president of Liberty Utilities in that region.
Where did you get your education?
When I graduated high school, I was building houses, so I didn’t go to college. I did attend night classes to gain the necessary skills. However, most of what I have learned comes from hands-on experience and learning from others. I never thought about what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to help others succeed, especially those who didn’t realize their own potential.
Have you always been a leader?
I discovered early in my career the key to happiness is being able to make a difference. We seldom make a difference on our own, so I’ve tried to influence others in a way that, together, we could make a positive impact.
What do you do to support the community?
When leading people and managing a business, we make the biggest contributions by enabling our team to be involved in the community. I am proud to work for a company that encourages and enables the employees to get involved in and support the community by donating their time to local projects and agencies. No business is truly successful until it is giving back to the community.
Who was your mentor and whom do you mentor?
My first mentor was Harold Baumann. Harold was a manager for Kroger Company. He taught me that a manager can be tough but still caring. Most of all, I got to see a manager who worked harder than anybody else and how to lead by example.
I have several people who have asked me to mentor or coach them over the years. I think our best mentoring is in what we do every day – how we treat people, prioritizing life and work, and strategizing are the lessons that matter most. Seeing people who I’ve hired and mentored succeed, that’s what keeps me going every day.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to spend time outdoors, especially running. I’ve been a runner for 45 years. I also enjoy reading and collecting old items I find along the way. There’s a lot to be learned from old effects and how they were made and used. We live in an exciting time that requires constant learning, but we should never dismiss the importance of learning from the past.