Two of Dave’s joys in life are woodturning and helping people. When he can help woodturners, he is in heaven. His legacy is not just what he has done for the AAW, but what he has done for the family of woodturning. Family is always the word Dave uses when talking about the woodturning community.
The maturation of the AAW from operating out of a cigar box on a card table to the multilevel organization it is today is the result of initiatives started 15 years ago by Dave. Creating the position of Executive Director was a pivotal event in the history of the AAW. When Dave first came onto the Board in 1997, he recognized that a constantly changing board of volunteer members didn’t have the time, expertise and continuity to offer new programs and better services to AAW members. Dave initiated the transition from a working board that moved lathes in and out at the annual symposium and selected t-shirt colors to a planning board that set forth goals and a vision for the organization and then charged a professional Director to execute those objectives. Dave will be the first to say credit for the AAW becoming a professionally run organization belongs to a lot of people, but his vision of a better way of doing things is how the journey began.
Dave was president of the St. Louis AAW chapter, and helped organize one of the first regional symposiums there.
Dave is also a founding member of the Collectors of Wood Art, and organized the CWA Forum in Santa Fe. He is always working to get more galleries and museums to show art that has wood elements. His promotion of woodturning and wood art is tireless. Dave and Suzy’s home has always been open to any woodturner, artist, collector, museum director, or a friend of a friend. The Wahl Home For Wayward Artists has been in continual operation for almost 20 years. There were very few times that a visiting collector or gallery owner or museum director didn’t get a turning lesson in Dave’s shop. Dave says “The most fun about being an AAW member is helping and teaching beginners to turn and seeing the look on their faces at their first success.”