Meet David Steward of Copper Ridge Chimney LLC in Claremore, Oklahoma. If you’ve been to convention in the past few years, you’ve probably seen him walking around with his cowboy hat. We were able to sit down with David during Sweeps Week 2019 to talk a little bit more about how David got started in the industry and what he likes to do when he’s not sweeping chimneys.
How did you get started in the industry?
I got started in the industry 15 years ago with the Boy Scouts. I was in the Boy Scouts and dad was sweeping chimneys and needed some help on the side, so I decided to go help him. Anything to make a buck, right? 20 bucks is 20 bucks. So that’s what I did for a little while. Then I joined the military, went away for a long time, got out and came back to it. I worked for another company for a little while.
What is a question you get asked most about being a chimney sweep?
The question I get asked most is ‘how did I get into being a chimney sweep and why am I a chimney sweep?’ I got into it from Boy Scouts, my love of construction, and enjoying doing a little bit of everything on the house. I really enjoy doing the chimney sweep because it’s an all-trades kind of job.
What advice do you wish you had received when you were getting started?
That the chimney sweep industry is a giant onion. I wish I would have known that there are so many layers involved with being a chimney sweep. It’s not just sweeping a chimney and running a brush. It’s inspections, it’s fireplace change-outs, it’s masonry skills, it’s a little of electrician, it’s a little bit of tile layer. It’s just a little bit of everything, and even after being a civil engineer and being a chimney sweep and certified and fire certified, everyday almost I peel back another layer of that onion. I don’t know if I’ll ever find the center of it, but I strive to find that daily.
What is the biggest challenge you face on the job and what are your strategies for overcoming it?
My biggest challenge on the job would be getting the job done on time and right, but not too slow. That fine line between doing it right and getting it done in a timely manner. The way that I go about doing a better job of that is do it more, practice more, get better, and improve upon my deficiencies.
Have you ever attended convention, and if so what was your favorite takeaway?
I have attended the annual convention for 4 years, and the trade show, and it’s been an absolute blast. My biggest takeaway is being surrounded by all the other sweeps, the brotherhood, that shot of energy and morale that I know when I come home, in lonely Oklahoma, that I know there are other guys everyday fighting the good fight, sweeping the chimneys just like me.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment would be marrying the love of my life, my wife Seire, and not pissing her off bad enough to where she’s run off yet.
Have you ever had to make your own tool to solve a particular problem?
Yes, we call that Okie Engineering, and we make our own tools quite often. Generally wrenches, pry bars, things that need to be cut or welded at another angle to get leverage on something.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy cattle ranching and fine woodworking. I build my own furniture: cupboards, cabinets, desks and just all kinds of real fine, high-skilled woodworking.
What is in your opinion is the most valuable part of being a member of NCSG?
Two things are the most valuable parts. On paper, one of the benefits if the TAC line (the Technical Advisory Council call line). That thing has been so amazingly valuable to me. Anytime I’m really hung up in a smoke chamber or liner issue, I can jump on that website, call whoever it is that’s in that specialty, and within an hour I’ve got an answer. I feel like I can really get done what I need to do thanks to the TAC line. Outside of that, things that you can’t really put on there as a bullet is the comradery, the brotherhood, the massive amount of sweeps out there that just want to help each other and help you to do better and grow to be a better sweep and a better person.
Thanks, David! Do you want to be the next featured member? Send an email to Annemarie Stockton at email@example.com to either nominate yourself or someone you know.
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