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Get to Know the Staff: David Handwork


You may not know him, but we bet you’ve walked, driven or worked in a part of A-State he’s had a chance to guide construction or renovation. We’re waiting for the rock and roll rollercoaster install next to the Red WOLF Center.

David Handwork

David Handwork

Place of birth:
Big Sandy, Montana
Wife – Jada Ennis Handwork (ASU - BSE Communicative Disorders 1992; Master of Communicative Disorders 1994). Children – Spencer and Wesley. Spencer is a May 2018 AState graduate with a BS in Biology, and has been accepted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Missouri State University. Wesley will be an incoming Fall 2018 AState freshman, seeking a pre-medical degree and aspiring to attend NYIT at A-State.
Why did you choose A-State?
I am a first generation college graduate, obtaining my Agricultural Engineering degree from ASU in 1993. When the position for Facilities Engineer was posted in April 2001, I thought it would be a privilege to work at the institution that provided me my profession. Sounds corny, but it’s true.
What makes a good staff member?
Taking pride in their work; respect for fellow employees and customers; commitment to excellence in all things.
What music is playing in your car?
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Black Keys, contemporary Christian, and Christian hard-rock / metal.
What makes for a good university?
Leadership that is committed to excellence in academic programs and other support areas. I think a culture of light heartedness/fun is very important as well.
My favorite motion picture is...
Ben Hur, the 1959 version with Charlton Heston. Messala’s death scene is the best acting ever. This is a great story of human perseverance, love of family, and forgiveness.
Your philosophy on working with students in seven words:
Excellent environment to acquire a student’s degree. Not quite a haiku.
If you could have another job or career, what would it be and why?
Designer and tester of roller coasters. I am a self-proclaimed roller coaster aficionado. Sadly, I have not made the pilgrimage to Cedar Point, Ohio... yet.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your office on campus?
We have some of the most dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. When a challenge or need arises, there is rarely an issue finding ready volunteers. Many of our staff earn modest (or less) of salaries, yet are very committed to maintaining, renovating, and constructing the facilities and grounds of Arkansas State University.
Before you retire I want to...
complete an engineering research project in partnership with the College of Engineering, and be published in an engineering journal.
In college, I was known for...
working in the welding lab.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
Dr. Jane Gates, my A-State American Government class. She challenged the class to explore our understanding of American politics, without being polarizing. She truly engaged with students, even if they had different political views. I always felt accepted and respected by her. I grew up in an all-Caucasian community. Dr. Gates most importantly helped shape my respect and admiration for persons of other races and backgrounds. One of the best persons I’ve ever encountered on this earth.
My pet peeve is...
arrogance and injustice.
What is your favorite podcast?
Smarter Everyday and TED Talks (I watch on video casts instead of listening to podcasts).
The last book I read for fun was...
”A Whole New Engineer” by Goldberg and Somerville.
My favorite trip was...
Sweden, when I worked for Camfil Farr. Great country and hospitality rivaled Southern culture.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
Four people I’d take to coffee...
Dr. Ben Carson, Penn Jillette, Max Lucado, and Ben Shapiro. That would be a great theological and political conversation, laced with human respect and high intellect.
The best advice I ever received was...
from Joe Brickell, a senior management engineer at FMC (former Jonesboro factory) when I was a college employee as a CAD technician. He told me some day I would likely be a supervisor. He asked me if I knew what it takes to make a great supervisor and leader, which I didn’t at the time. Mr. Brickell said “Give the resources for staff to do their job, provide direction and boundaries, remove as many obstacles as possible, provide frequent feedback, and get out of their way.”
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self...
dream bigger and apply those dreams to your profession. Follow though with all those invention ideas.
My hobby is...
exploring and reading up on new technology advances, and applications of technology.
My passion is...
my Christian faith and my family.
My pro sports team is...
sorry, not just one. St. Louis Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburg Steelers.
My favorite meal is...
Memphis style dry rub BBQ ribs, fries, and unsweet tea. Homemade ice cream would complete the perfect meal!
A perfect day is...
any day with family.
My spirit cartoon character is...
What I like about Jonesboro is...
it’s just a great place to raise a family.
When I want to crush karaoke, my song is...
”Just got Paid” by ZZ Top.
Cats or dogs?
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Definitely Mountains
Dinner or supper?
Dinner is lunch, supper is evening meal…right? I partake both.
The one thing I’d take to a desert island (and a boat is not an answer)...
my wife. If that doesn’t count, a guitar, with a tuner and extra strings.
I wish I could...
be a full time inventor.
Only my friends know I...
am artistic.
My favorite saying is...
“That’s dumber than a square bowling ball”, never used in a context directed at a person, but toward any act that had negative consequences when the outcome could have been easily predicted.