David E. Krabill
Vice President, Information Services & Chief Information Officer
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The values that my parents and mentors instilled in me as I grew up—the importance of hard work…always doing your best…challenging yourself to go a little further…helping and encouraging others—guide me to this day.
My parents used work opportunities to teach my two brothers, sister and me life lessons. Our responsibilities included maintaining the family garden, cutting the lawn and other household jobs. We even worked with our dad as a lawn maintenance crew at area Columbia Gas locations—a little side business he started in addition to working fulltime for the company. Along the way, I also had a paper route and when I was in high school, I worked at my mom’s restaurant. These early experiences built the foundation of who I am today.
After seeing the high price my parents were paying for my dorm at Akron University, I convinced them to cosign on the purchase of near-campus house letting them know that I had four guys ready to move in and pay rent. That experience taught me a lot about budgeting, marketing and communicating well with many different kinds of people.
During college I also interned at Swagelok. The environment was outstanding and I met great people. Right before I graduated, I landed a job conducting intake interviews with Swagelok’s human resources. After about a month on the job, Swagelok founder Fred Lennon stopped by my desk. He said, “You have a very important position with us, Dave. You’re the first touch point with people looking for a job at our company and our associates are a very important asset. I want you to know how vital your role is here.” From there on, I knew Swagelok was the right place for me.
Throughout my career at Swagelok, I’ve had many great opportunities to grow. One of the most challenging and rewarding was leading our Business Systems Transformation (BST) program which redesigned business processes and combined several of our legacy business systems into one. The personal accomplishment I felt was tremendous and it was exciting to see how the effort transformed associates on the BST team—how they advanced their abilities and evolved with the program. Hopefully, my leadership helped encourage that growth.
In my current role, I’m applying all the good lessons I’ve learned along the way. These include making sure we have the right processes in place, challenging associates to be accountable for their efforts and push to grow their skills, employing a straightforward approach to reach goals and always looking at best practices.
Well over half of what we do in Information Services (IS) is making sure the systems are available for the business. We call this “protecting the core” which means the servers have to operate efficiently and the networks have to keep running. Having a very structured, standard work mindset is necessary. But at the same point, technology moves so fast, we can’t just bury our heads and say we’re going to keep doing it this way. It changes all the time. So while process is important, it’s equally important for us to have the vision of the future and know the big picture. The path to success is taking simple steps—focusing on the next one-to-three things that move us in the right direction.
At the end of the day, I get a lot of satisfaction out of my work and helping others reach personal and professional goals. And I try to pass on those great values that my parents and mentors have taught me—to my fellow Swagelok associates, my family and through my efforts as a board member at Youth Opportunities Unlimited and the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland.