Longtime ABC SEMI Member Receives Highest Tribute
It was with great sadness when members of Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeastern Michigan (ABC SEMI) learned of the untimely passing of one of its beloved board members, owner and operator of Onslow-Sheffield, Inc., David Sheffield. As President and CEO, Keith Ledbetter recalls it was a shock that is still felt throughout the association today.
“Dave was not a big man, but he cast a huge shadow,” Ledbetter recalls. “That is to say that he was incredibly instrumental not only to our chapter, but to our state. Dave was even actively involved at the national level for ABC. No one embodied the merit shop philosophy more than Dave Sheffield which is why he was the unanimous choice for this year’s Legacy Award winner.”
The Legacy award is our highest honor recognizing lifetime achievement in merit shop contracting. Each year, ABC SEMI board members solicit from member companies—names of potential nominees for the award. Submitted names are evaluated and voted upon by the board and a shortened list of nominees is assembled. According to Cort Niemi, Agent for the Lighthouse Group and ABC Board Member, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind who this year’s recipient would be.
“He was a virtuous man who led by example and I think we can continue to learn from his example,” said Niemi. “He cared deeply about his business. There are many examples of this, but probably none greater than investing the long hours to keep Onslow Sheffield profitable after the passing of his longtime partner Mark Onslow. Dave cared big for ABC. He spent countless hours sitting on the ABC SEMI Board of Directors, the ABC State Board, The ABC Workers’ Compensation Board, numerous ABC side projects and Committees. He was proud to operate his business as a merit shop and he cared about the importance of ABC at all levels to ensure the sustainment of the merit shop philosophy.”
Dave became a member at ABC in 1986 and was appointed to the ABC SEMI Board of Directors in 1988, which he served on until his passing this year. During which time Sheffield served as ABC SEMI Board Chairman from 1991–1995, upon which he was appointed to the ABC of Michigan Board. In addition, Dave served as ABC SEMI Board Vice President in 1996 and subsequently Board Secretary until his passing this year.
Robert Clancy, ABC Board President and owner of Robert Clancy Contracting, credits his involvement with ABC in getting to know Dave better in the past two years.
“I remember my first ABC event as a new member,” Clancy recalls. “I attended a planning session in Traverse City—not sure I was even supposed to be there—but Dave invited me to sit with him for dinner and really made me feel welcomed. He gave me a real history lesson in ABC and a better understanding of what this organization means to the contracting world. He was always a constant source of inspiration and advice and I will truly miss his friendship.”
Niemi, who was Sheffield’s insurance agent since 2007 and longtime friend, shared his insights about “Dave” the person and his commitment to his family, business, and ABC.
“Dave absolutely adored his wife, daughter, and grandchildren,” said Niemi. Dave changed when the grandkids started coming around. He valued his company and relationship with ABC, but his family was always first. Another thing about Dave is he cared about his faith. He was never shy about it and was proud of it. As long as I’ve been involved with ABC, I’m fairly certain that Dave said the prayer prior to every board meeting. I always enjoyed the way he ended each one. By praying that all of the employees, that were on the job site that day, that they remained safe and made it home to their families that day… in Your Son’s Jesus’ Name… Amen.”