Meet David Smith: Facilities Director of 15 Years

As a leader, what are some of your values? How do you ensure your department and its activities are aligned with Givens Estates’ mission, vision, and values?

I believe in self-led leadership. I strive to empower team members to make their own decisions (and sometimes mistakes) and move forward throughout their day. I am here for support and to provide guidance. Expectations of my team are high, but I also believe in making the workplace fun. Providing supportive leadership allows the Facilities Team to improve lives, closely aligning with Givens Estates’ mission. The Facilities Department exemplifies Givens’ mission, vision, and values by providing excellent customer services through hiring and retaining well trained and knowledgeable team members.

What are a few of your primary responsibilities?

I am responsible for the oversite of the Grounds and Maintenance programs at Givens Estates.  With the help of 40 team members, we manage approximately 900,000 square feet of building space (the equivalent of 16 White Houses) and 210 acres of property. I am also responsible for managing capital construction projects, campus security, and trash and recycling services.

What inspires you?

Being a catalyst for effective and positive change inspires me.

What advice would you give someone moving into a leadership position in the senior living industry?

Seek ways to be innovative and change the status quo, balanced with patience.

What goals are you currently working toward achieving?

Because COVID-19 has made meeting in groups challenging, I am working to build a more cohesive Facilities Department by bringing the Grounds and Maintenance Teams together. In future years, I would like to implement a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA), which would inventory our capital assets and load them into our existing work order system.  We would then be able to forecast replacement costs and dates and document and track when work is performed on these assets.

What resources do you use to help you as a leader (other leaders, books, organizations, etc.)?

I have read a few leadership books and participated in the LeadingAge Leadership Academy, which has been very valuable.  However, I gain the most benefit from conversations and questioning other leaders.

What life experience or event has influenced your leadership style?

Before accepting a leadership role at Givens Estates, I performed manual labor.  I try to lead by remembering how decisions made by leaders impact frontline team members. Also, I am certain my experience in Scouting, both as a youth and an adult, has strongly influenced me. Furthermore, my employment at Givens Estates has allowed me to observe examples of strong but kind and thoughtful leaders.  I have tried to use these leaders as examples of how to be a good leader.

How is your job rewarding?

I used to work in the for-profit world and had difficulty finding a sense of purpose other than making the company money.  Working at Givens, I feel like I am making a difference.

What is a fun fact about you or something that others might not know about you?

I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.

What is one word that describes you best?


If you would like to learn more about the type of residents and team members that live and work to make Givens Estates a remarkable Life Plan Community, please contact us by calling 828.771.2203 or emailing [email protected].