In December 2020, we will be saying farewell to Dave as he retires, though we are counting on him to come back and visit us! In honor of Dave’s retirement, we sat down to talk to him about his experiences during his career in the kitchen and bath industry.  In his own words, here is what Dave shared with us.

Celebrating Dave Kirkey's Retirement After 46 Years 2024

What drew you to the kitchen and bath industry?

The design. I started in the real estate and building industry and inherited the foreman position.  I drew plans and loved it.  When a new kitchen shop opened up in Lansing, I joined them doing layouts.  I realized I loved the design and working with people.  I was on the road initially selling cabinets and at that time we only had 3 choices so we could write the order on the spot.

What are the changes you have seen over the past 45 years?

The cabinet and countertop business has changed a LOT! It’s all about the versatility and quality now.  Customers have good input and there are so many things you can do now.  I remember the first time a cabinet had a waste basket in it, it was a big deal!  Turnaround on cabinets was much faster years ago due to the limited selection and we used to stock cabinets.

What are the challenges with this position?

The devil is in the details. With all the options that customers have now you have to really watch the details, since there is so much to consider when getting a project completed and writing the order.  Selling has changed, and there are now so many parts to selling that it requires keeping detailed notes and making sure you are protecting your customer.  Your customer needs to know and trust that you are a team, and you want to get the best kitchen for them.

What brings you the most joy in the position?

Happy customers, pride in a nice job that the customer is happy with, sometimes they are so happy they could just cry. We’ve become good friends during the design process and if anything happens in the future they always call back to the designer, no matter what the issue or question is.  I love it when I can find out what they want before they know what they want it.  It requires asking good questions and making sure they are thinking “I’ve come to the right place”.  I always want what is best for the customer.  I don’t consider myself a salesman, I’m a designer.  It’s different than being a salesman, like a car salesman, because they are not designing the product, they are selling a product.  I am designing the product and selling it, it’s personal as I am in the client’s home and understand their lifestyle.

What will you miss?

The people. I will miss the people and the satisfaction that comes with working with people.

McDaniels 2019 Christmas Party awards ceremony

What advice do you have for other designers?

I’ve already given it to them if they want it or listen to it. I will give advice to anyone who wants it.  I’ve seen some designers come into the workplace and there are all different skill levels. Some take a long time to get it, some get it right away, it’s a combination of skill and determination.

What are you most looking forward to from a personal perspective?

More time with my wife and family. We have a very tight knit family, and everyone is in the area.  I am so proud of them.  I have worked long and hard and would have liked to spend a little more time at home when the kids were growing up, but everyone is here, and we get together often.  I would also like to travel to the New England states, go further north into the Upper Peninsula and west Michigan with my wife.  There are about 9 or 10 states that we have not visited so I would like to travel to those states.

The entire McDaniels Kitchen and Bath team wants to thank Dave for his years of service and for being such an important part of the McDaniels family. Enjoy your travels and family time Dave and come back to visit us soon!