by Patty Simpson.
As we approach the 12th anniversary of David’s passing, and our 32 years in business, I
reminisce about the pre-D.W. Simpson times when David and I would sit and talk for hours (and
hours!) about what kind of company we would create. David was a visionary. He never
accepted the status quo – every concept was to be examined. We had a blast discussing how
we will do the business of recruiting differently and better, internally and externally.
David was an avid reader, genuinely interested in everything and everyone. He read 4
newspapers every morning between 4 and 6am, and would leave them (and their ink stains!)
spread all over the house. We loved to talk to about politics, philosophy, history, psychology –
we read and discussed many books together.
I could not have asked for a more loving and supportive partner in my life. And if it sounds like a
fairytale, it was! We did everything together. He was the most loving, compassionate,
intelligent, and emotionally intelligent man I have ever known. And oh my goodness, he was
ridiculously funny and would make everyone roar with laughter.
As a father, David always had the energy for our children and viewed every moment as a
teaching and learning moment, naturally and with ease. He did so lovingly and with a lot of
humor. Although their time with him was cut short, they were showered with his love and
I am particularly joyful (and I know he is, too) about our oldest daughter, Marilyn, making the
exciting decision to join the company that her Dad and Mom co-founded. It is apparent that
recruiting is in her blood. Marilyn shared some memories of David:
“I remember my parents having riveting business and philosophical discussions at the family
dinner table. My dad taught me to make decisions based on the risk versus reward principal at
an early age and taught me the importance of being reasonable, ambitious and kind. He always
took the time to teach my sisters and me life lessons through analogies or stories of his
childhood. And he was so fun – he loved blasting music in the car and belting out the songs with
us. I remember how much he loved the company football parties for Ohio State/Michigan
games and all the joy and laughter at those events. My parents always showed me the
importance of loving what you do for a living and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be following in
their footsteps at the company they built together.”
And finally, David was also the most amazing business partner. He wasn’t just a “boss” at our
company – Ellen, Derek, and KC shared with me their memories:
“I remember Dave as being sincerely interested in knowing and understanding who you were,
what you thought, why you thought it….he was very intellectually curious and philosophical
(and extremely funny!) and he brought that out in others which made for great conversations.
He really gave you his time and attention and made you feel like a million bucks. He was always
learning new things about the industry and thinking about how D.W. Simpson could innovate.
He had a great memory for what everyone was working on. We had an open office floor plan
and you’d usually find him at someone’s desk with his stack of post-it notes to go over ideas. He
was always interested.” – Ellen (Hoppenjan) Page
“Dave had so many good qualities. He was a very thoughtful listener and always had the right
thing to say when you needed to hear it. Dave had a way of instilling confidence in you no
matter what you were discussing, and he brought a calmness to any situation. He made you
feel good about being alive. He had a great sense of humor. Dave was a big proponent of
working hard but always putting family first. He led by example, and I often try to emulate his
patience, integrity, optimism and passion for life that he often showed.” – Derek Mulder
And, as KC Cho remembers, “David was someone who had a gift of making people feel better
about themselves, however long or brief the encounter.”