Concord Origin Story: Dave Birckelbaw

In the world of comic books, origin stories inform the reader of the identity and motivations of heroes and villains (thankfully, we only have the former here). Like Spider-Man or Captain American, your origin story is important as it defines who you are today. Learn about the experiences, people, and influences that shaped Concord's Astha Saxena by reading below!

Concord Origin Story - Dave Birckelbaw copy

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Freeport, Illinois, a town of approximately 20,000 people. I moved to the Twin Cities to attend Bethel University. I met my wife there and decided to stay.

What is your favorite family tradition?

It used to be leaving cookies for Santa and a bucket of water for his reindeer until my kids decided Santa wasn’t real. For the past 27 years, my wife and I have joined her parents and sister’s family for an annual long weekend on the North Shore. We’ve added kids, grandkids, and one great-grandchild. It started out with seven, and has grown to 15 with no one missing one yet. It’s a wonderful time to enjoy with family, play silly games, and have lots of fun.

Who has had the greatest influence on your life?

My late Uncle Joe was a hero of mine. He treated everyone equally, treated strangers like friends, and doted on anyone in his presence. He was consistenly in a good mood, encouraging, inclusive, and a true servant leader. I try to emulate that in my approach to life.

What is an experience that has shaped who who you are today?

Being a father (and now grandfather) has completely shaped my character. I’m a planner and quickly learned that schedules change, children come with their own needs, timing, etc. It helped me be more patient, understand the challenges others may face, and enjoy more of the journey rather than focusing so much on the destination. Many, many other life lessons in this one – new parents are welcome to reach out to learn from my mistakes and learnings.

How did you end up in your current career?

For as long as I can remember, I've always been the person pulling others together, forging relationships, and leading things. Combining that with my ability to troubleshoot and produce creative alternative solutions quickly moved me from tech support project management and program management. I've worked as a consultant for about ten years and have had the opportunity to work in several different industries and lead teams of various shapes, sizes, and purposes. As a generalist, I try my best to solve challenging problems with others to celebrate success. I enjoy mentoring, coaching, and learning from my team members.

What is your favorite travel destination? 

So far, Rome has been my favorite place to visit for all its rich history, wonderful architecture, and winding alleyways full of boutiques. I love the beach, warmth and sunshine, the sound of the waves, and sea shelling.

What is your favorite food?

Sushi is my favorite food. I love the nuanced flavors, using chopsticks, and, like a science experiment, finding just the right balance of wasabi to mix into my soy sauce.

What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobbies revolve around the arts. My wife is a visual artist, and I am a songwriter/recording artist. We enjoy collecting art and attend many concerts. I have many musician friends in the Twin Cities area that I enjoy supporting. My music can be found on your favorite streaming service! Search for "Dave Birk – Speed Queen Mystery Date." I have a few singles and a new EP coming out very soon.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

My two children are my greatest accomplishments. I am super proud of them and so thankful that they still enjoy spending time with me now that they are young adults.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

The advice would give to my younger self is that I am not as good as I think I am. I was smart enough and good enough to be included in a great number of things, but I think I let myself coast through some activities when I could have pushed myself to be better and learn more. I think that I was interested in so many things, that I never got great at any one of them.


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