Driving Success with Dave Tardich

This month's Driving Success is delighted to feature Dave Tardich,
Tranztec's Senior Integrations Engineer!

The maestro of the mullet, father of two fantastic kids, master of melodies, the golfing guru, landscaping lunatic, animal lover and all-around softie, himself... Dave 'The Translator' Tardich! *crowd goes wild* 

When we reached out to James King, our Vice President of Customer Success, to discuss Dave he only had glowing things to say about him, "I have worked with Dave for several years. Dave’s tenacity and “can do” attitude is constant. He became our de facto one-party EDI expert providing excellent service to our customers, driving success." Dave's "can do" attitude definitely comes across whenever you speak to him. A man of many talents, he used his ability to play the violin to entertain the members of his army unit while coming home from deployment.

"While I was in Iraq, an organization was offering instruments to deployed servicemen and I received a violin while I was over there - played for the boys a ton and entertained a lot of those guys on the 2 weeks it took to come home."

Tranztec: So, just to start out, will you tell us what your title is at Tranztec?

Dave Tardich: Senior integration engineer. I just celebrated eight years with the company a few weeks ago.

Tranztec: Congratulations! So for everyone, will you describe your day-to-day?

Dave: I work with our customers, and I tied them and their partners together through various means. Sometimes with VIA, sometimes with direct communications. I'm like, the map guru guy. You know, we translate a lot of the data from partners to our customer systems, and vice versa. Just kind of a big data transformation type of role here.

Tranztec: When you talk about mapping and stuff you're talking about EDI Correct?

Dave: Yep

Tranztec: So how would you describe EDI for somebody that doesn't know what that means? Yeah.

Dave: It honestly would be almost easier to just draw a picture of it. But you know, it's taking it is taking one format of data and converting it completely to a different format. So, you know, XLSX to flat file or XML to JSON, all that kind of stuff. So, with our tool, like everything on the input side, could have a potential output, relocation as well. So, the map takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. Yeah, you know, you just, honestly, just transforming data, and I know, we're kind of applying transform to, to our verbiage for our product. And, you know, that's, that's honestly, the easiest way to describe it.

Tranztec: No, no, no, that's great. So, this is not to restate that. But why is it so important to apply it? Why is this so important overall to the trucking space?

Dave: For sure, no, that's a good way to put it. Because no two systems are alike. No two partners are alike. So, you know, they say you have like, a Chrysler and a Ford, and in a jeep, or whatever the case, like you have all of those different partners and their load offering data to carriers to move their pieces and parts and products and things like that, none of that data is ever going to be exactly the same. They'll follow the same type of standards, but the data is always completely different. 

Tranztec: so, was Tranztec your first foray into EDI then?

Dave: Oh, yeah. I had no idea what that even was when I jumped in very well. I knew some SQL stuff. And I think one of my first big projects when I got here was Venture Logistics, their sister company Venture Global Solutions, were a broker. And they had business with like Nissan and Subaru and stuff like that. And they needed to issue out EDI to carriers to run loads for them and stuff like that. So I mean, that took quite some time to kind of get off the ground. Luckily, we had a great team here at the time, they helped me kind of figure all the little nooks and crannies out. Huge shout out to Ray, Russ was a big help in that too. You know, these were guys that just had a lot more experience doing those types of things. And they kind of just showed me what we could potentially do. 

Tranztec: So, you're mostly a data translator, so to speak. 

Dave: It's not a glorious thing that I'm in, right, like I do. I always used to joke like, I'm just kind of sitting in my closet, just minding my own business, you know, doing my work and, but it's just it's like it just something that I do, and it just gets done. And our customers are happy about it. Our partners are happy, you know, it's just, you know, it's just a role that I'm in and like, I've just kind of owned it.

Tranztec: I think it is fair to say you are a subject field expert. Will you tell us a little bit about how Dave got to this point? I know, you have military background. I'm talking about that. Like, can we start at the beginning and move forward?drivingSuccessFunDave2

Dave: Sure. Well, I mean, I grew up, I grew up with computers in the mid 90s. Right? So by the time I was coming of age, you know, internet was a thing. And yeah, just kind of fascinated with computers. And you know, all of those placement type of tests that I took growing up, they were all like, oh, yeah, you're a systems guy, you're a system, you know, blah, blah, blah. And there was just, I never really gave that much thought. And then when I tested for the military, they really wanted me to go do computer stuff. But I declined. I wanted the full army experience. So I went infantry, so I could shoot all of the guns do all of the things to get the full experience. Right? So did that, did my tour came back, and then, ya know, then after that, it was just like, Well, I'm not doing this for the rest of my life, obviously, you know, I don't want to go on more deployments. I don't want to do this and that and so no, I just it made absolute sense to just go to school for it. And I got my degree and bachelor science, information technology from UT. That took off and on between about five and a half, six years, roughly. Because during that had my son and then kind of had to start working a little bit like life got in the way of trying to finish schools quickly as possible. But yeah, I went to school, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I kind of dabbled in a little bit of networking. Obviously, I had a couple of like little support roles, internship type things. So like I kind of, you know, got into like, more of kind of corporate setting kind of business, you know, not just being a, you know, roughneck college kid, right. And then, yeah, a couple jobs here and there, where I learned some, some more database stuff, application system processes, things like that, you know, just kind of kind of grew for a little while. And then, yeah, I mean, luckily, I saw the ad for Tranztec. And we were still in that old building around the corner from our current building.  Toby, seemed to like what he seen in me, and I'm thankful that he did, because it's only gotten better since.

Tranztec: Well, you kind of, you know, architected that position in a way. You built your own job.

Dave: I took it and I owned it right, you know. And I think that's just kind of who I've always been was, if you want me to do something, then good. I will own it, right. And I've been that way my entire life, you know, even playing sports and stuff like that when I was younger, it was just like, I loved practice, just because I could push myself harder than I felt like, I could push myself in a game, right? Like, and that was kind of one of the things that like, I got here, worked with Dawn, for a couple of years, learned what I learned from her. I've learned a lot from Ray, I've learned a lot from Russ, heck Toby has taught me a lot. You know, like, I've had these resources around me, it's like, okay, cool. Like, I've got my nice little slice of the pie here. And this is mine. Right? So, you know, maybe one day down the road, you know, we can get another person or two in here. And we tried that a couple months ago, didn't quite work out too well. But, you know, yeah, I mean, this is my role. This is where I'm at. Right? So until something needs to change in that regard. Yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm absolutely love doing what I'm doing for the company.

Tranztec: Very good. Yeah, it feels like your story that you're telling is very Tranztec. Like, you know, where we have a lot of these people that I think one of the things that makes Tranztec great is that you have these people that come in, and they own that space, and they move that part forward. I think we're a small company, that far exceeded our individual abilities, because of that type of mentality that's kind of ingrained into the DNA of the place.

Dave: Well, and, you know, the nice part about this was, and Toby made mentioned of this, he was just like, you know, we're really like a family here. That really just kind of stuck with me, you know, it's like, yeah, you know, companies will say, Oh, but we're family and oh, this or that, you know, like, no, but you honestly felt it here, right. And I almost felt it immediately when I started even in that old small building. And I was sitting right inside the office door. I still felt like, oh, cool, you know, like, everyone here is really chill. Everyone's nice, like, everyone gets along, you know,  in all that culture talk that was going on last year at our Tranztec Summit, right. You know, it was just like, like, Good luck finding a better place to work. Right? Yeah. And small to mid sized company, right. And our aspirations are extremely high. And even all of the new managers and stuff that have been brought in, right, like, I don't know, everyone, like on a personal level, or things like that, but, you know, just talking to them, hearing from them, valuing input, stuff like that, that goes a really, really long way. Right? I mean, if I was to, if I felt like I was talking to a wall that nothing was going to change, and this and that, you know, like, Yeah, I'd probably be a little disgruntled. But the end of the day, like, I mean, oh, we even were going into the office once a month or once every other month. You're like, it's like a family reunion, almost, you know. Even better you can always find somebody to talk to and just have a conversation with, right.

Tranztec: It is not a cliche of words here.

Dave: Yep. It's more than just a job. Right?

Tranztec: So, I know you mentioned your son already, but why don't you tell us a little bit more about your family?

Dave: So my wife, I met my wife back when I was 20 and I'm 38 now, so we met long time ago. She was kind of my rock. And I don't know how or what the heck she saw in me. But yeah, no, we just we hit it off. We got married, I want to say about eight months later. And then yeah, then all the army stuff, and I came back. And then my son came, I was going to school. Then my daughter was born. So he was born in 2010. My daughter was born in 2014. Yeah, so you know, from an early age, I didn't think there was anything else I wanted to be other than a father. My mom had my half brother when I was 13. And she was single. At the time. Like, she wasn't married to my stepdad at that time. So like, they didn't even live together. Nothing like that. So she was still working. So like, you know, taking care of my half brother for I would say a good solid few years, too, before, you know, my step-dad moved in and got married and stuff like that, or whatever. And, yeah, so it was kind of at a young age, I knew that I was going to be a great dad. And I couldn't wait. Right. So yeah, once my son came like he stole the show, for me. Life changed completely. I cleaned up my act, gave all the gave all the bad stuff, a break and you know, just kind of started focusing on him. And he is the best version that I could have ever created of myself. He likes all the same hobbies I like, he's very much into video games. He loves computers. He's just a wonderful kid. He's on honor roll every quarter, semester, year. He's in all honors classes. He's actually taking a high school course, his first period this year, he's only in eighth grade. So I know he's a brilliant kid. He tests off the charts for all of the ages. And he's the kindest, sweetest kid ever, you know, for being 13. When I was 13, I was rebellious as all get out. You know, I was I was doing typical 13 year old bad stuff. Now my son is just straight and narrow. He's very responsible. And my daughter she's a version of my wife. Sassy as heck, you know, doesn't take anything from anybody. Right so you know all the crazy with the COVID pandemic that was happening a couple years ago like that, that really tested everyone's wills and my kids came through it with flying colors. So well, I couldn't ask for two better children. So, I know those two are my everything bro.

drivingSuccessFunDave1Dave: So I love hockey, I still do to this day. We go to the high school games here at Northview hockey games at Tam-O, take the kids, and to the football games. Now that David is almost a part of and associated with the high school. And he'll be there next year, just getting him to those to those functions on Friday night. We didn't have that when I was growing up, right. I mean, going to a Toledo public school, nobody gave a crap about our sports teams and stuff like that. But, you know, when I go to these games, and I see the sense of community and how engaged the kids are, it's like, I wish I had that. But at the end of the day, I'm so happy I can provide that for my kids. Right? You know, it's just kind of one of those things. It's like, you know, just try to be better than what your parents could offer you. Right? And you know what, even just the school systems my kids are in right now that they're already 10 steps ahead of where I was just getting out of high school.

Tranztec: So I think I know the answer to this question, but what does Dave like to do in his free time?

Dave: So from about a really young age I saw my stepdad was huge into Scotch whiskey and cigars. So as soon as I was 18 or 19, I was indulging in both with him. So cigars, I've been smoking cigars since I was barely old enough to. Same deal with the whiskey. I was kind of off and on, you know, I go to Irish a little bit here. And there. I go to scotch. And honestly, it was it was right around when COVID was hitting and you know, all the bars and stuff closed. And it was just like, you know what, why am I just buying a bottle here and there to finish it. It's like, you know, and then you know, I always like bourbon, too, right? So then when COVID came out, it just became more of like a hobby at that point. It's like, oh, let me try this. Let me try this. And you know, what else was I able to do with my money at the time? And so yeah, whiskey and cigars. I've tried pipes a couple of times. It's not really sticking for me. I used to smoke cigarettes from 13 till about six years ago. So it's kind of hard for me to even touch anything that just had tobacco, cigars being different, obviously. So yeah, I like to golf pretty regularly. I'm in a Monday evening League. That's wrapping up now. And then I have a foursome of buddies that we go out every Sunday morning. Sometimes we'll get out Saturdays as well. But golf is a big thing of what I get to do. And I love landscaping. I do a lot of stuff around our house yard, flowers, bushes, you know, just all that. Well, we just had our pool finished up this this spring, right. So my backyard is just a wasteland of weeds. So I'm actually pretty excited about what next spring and summer is going to be like in terms of that type of project. But no, yeah, hockey, getting out, and like our high school team made the frozen four down in Columbus, this past spring. So I actually went down there with a couple of friends to watch them. We stayed the night down there. And I'm just a sucker for sports, kind of in general. That's really about it. And yeah, I ride my bike a lot. I still rollerblade I still try and stay pretty active. I learned from my father in law. Well, he was he was morbidly obese. Like that's eventually what he succumbed to. And at that point in my life well in I never cried as hard in my life than when he passed. And the one thing that I promised myself was I wasn't going to stop moving. Right? Because I feel like I feel like if you're a body in motion, you will continue to stay in motion. Right. So in, you know, the last last 15 years of his life, were very difficult on the family, obviously on him. So, you know, it was just kind of one of those things. It was like guilt. You know, make sure you're here for the kids. Make sure you're here to see the grandkids. Yeah, it was sad because he passed when my son was just about two, like he didn't even get to see you know how great of a kid he turned out to be. So I am kind of thinking, like I said, I'm very family forward. So I usually find myself having to help my mother in law or my sister in law's, you know, do stuff here and there and, ya know?

Tranztec: Yeah, I remember when you, I mean, you, you were never like, overweight. But I remember when you were a little bit bigger and then you really like took off on your fitness goals.

Dave: It's crazy because I always seem to go through like those ebbs and flows, right. It's like, getting a routine of like, eating better and just moving is so much easier than then just not doing anything for an entire year. And then like, "Oh, I gotta clean this up". And then being on a very strict diet and a very strict workout regiment. I think I think I've found now that I'm almost 40 I think that I've found like a decent area where it's like, just don't eat everything that you can possibly get your hands on. Right and just stay moving. I can maintain myself at a decent point then and I'm just as happy with that. You know?

Tranztec: We did a special deep dive on you Dave and I believe we have some things you left off your list of free time activities. 

Dave: Really?

Tranztec: You are an avid review leaver for places you've been.

Dave: Oh, I am. Well, I don't know that it's not as cool as the top 1% of Selena Gomez listeners. But no, yeah, I think I'm at like, 8%. I'm in the top 8% for Google reviews, something like that. I don't do that a ton. And I haven't in a little while just because, you know, I haven't been out and about and doing stuff but yeah, like if I like because we go on like vacations like Gatlinburg. We went to a couple years ago. That's where that whitewater rafting pictures from. And then we went to Myrtle Beach last year. That's the other picture in front of that, like little waterfall with the beard and stuff. Yeah, it was just like, he's like, Oh, you're gonna get done at the end of the evening or whatever, after dinner having a couple drinks. And it's like, oh, I mean, let me fart around and just say, oh, yeah, I love this restaurant, or oh, this was really, you know, yeah, just honest reviews or not just a star review, right? Like given some compliments or like, Hey, if you fix this up, this would be a lot better. And yeah, thanks for Thanks for finding that. Zach. Yeah, it's definitely not an embarrassing thing. Right. But yeah, I like to contribute where I can.

Tranztec: I also have that you maybe play the violin?

Dave: I do play the violin.

Tranztec: Wow. I did not know that.

Dave: Where'd you find that?

Tranztec: We're not revealing sources. Driving Success is the epitome of journalistic integrity.

Dave: I started in in was at third or fourth grade. And then yeah, I was I was the first chair violinist junior high through high school. I did honors, I did competitions, played solo pieces that you had to remember, right? Like you weren't allowed to have a score sheet in front of you. Like you had to remember the piece that you'd play and I was doing pretty well at that and for graduate. So right before I graduated, one of my aunts had passed away and she loved that I played the violin and she told my mom to make sure she got me a violin so for graduation, I did get a violin and I'll whip it out every now and again. Just to kind of get back in touch I still have my ear for tone. But yeah, like I'll play Christmas carols for the kids every now and again. I'm a huge sucker for Christmas, bro. Like, like I love the summer I love spring I love fall like you know fall stuff. You know autumn in general, but like Christmas time, bro, freaking forget about it. I'm a huge sucker. Like, I'm talking old school stuff like the stuff that I had to listen to when I was a kid. I hated it but now I'm like, I'll do the Rat Pack like give me the Frank Sinatra's Christmas. It's funny you bring that up, Zach because I was just thinking I actually should start practicing a little bit more again with my violin. I do love playing the violin. Good find 

Tranztec: Do you have a big yard display for Christmas? Like how deep is your love for Christmas?

Dave: Absolutely. When we very first got into our house our very first Christmas, it was like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree house, essentially. But no, I've just every year I'll throw a couple 100 more bucks into the decorations and lights and stuff like that. And then yeah, it's becoming quite a spectacle. The neighbors absolutely love it. And the kids are getting a little bit older. So not that they don't still appreciate it. But we've got actually a lot more like younger kids, you know, between the ages of like one and four around the, around the neighborhood. So, you know, I and I do that with Halloween too. I kind of go above and beyond decorating for that and nothing too scary. Right? But no, I Yeah, I'm just like I said, I'm a big family guy. So if just illuminating my house is going to just bring a little bit of joy to anybody. You know, that's what I want. So and that's what that's the whole spirit of Christmas right? It's spreading joy for all to hear and see.

So the funny thing is, I will with as soon as Halloween is over, and the weather's still halfway decent. All of those decorations come down and the Christmas lights go up. I don't turn them on. I'm not a sicko. But yeah, I mean, I think last year I put my lights up on November 2, and it was it was like I think the week of Thanksgiving is when I'm like okay lights are going on.

Tranztec: You have minor respect for Thanksgiving

Dave: You know I love Thanksgiving but to me on like I said holidays in general right I mean any reason to be together with family to have a good time, have good food, just create memories like I absolutely love Thanksgiving too and when my wife would always be like all these people here and like she's not like that right but I am so my thing is like oh no, the entire family is coming here your side, my side, like no we are doing this. She just doesn't like the mess, you know this. It's not like I make her clean up the house when the party is over. Right? But now that it's like Thanksgiving to me, it's just kind of like super thankful, obviously that Saturday's the big game. And then from there, it's just like, get those get those carols cranking, like, let's go, you know, like I forego all other music for like the entire month of December. So I don't listen to anything else. Yeah, like, this past year, like I was while I was working. I just had Spotify, frickin old Christmas carols just on repeat just going to town.

Tranztec: It seems that would set you up for major depression afterwards.

Dave: You know, it does get to you as soon as that New Year hits, and that we're in the lull of winter. It sucks. Yeah, but, I do find indoor golf periodically is therapeutic. Going to sporting events. Like I said, I'm big hockey guy. So like every Friday, I can always count on there being a hockey game. We'll go to walleye games. You know, I just in those months where there's nothing to do can't ride the bike, can't rollerblade, can't do this. Like, you know, honestly, I like shoveling snow guys. Like as weird as that sounds like I've never ever shied away from physical labor. Like yeah, I love landscaping, right? Like I had to redo my entire yard when we first moved in, like there was nothing growing but weeds. So I redid my entire yard. I raked it, leveled it, graded it, laid down new seed. That took me an entire summer to do like I didn't care I get off work come home change into my work boots or whatever. And I was out in the yard until the sun went down. So yeah, it's you know, you know, just it's one Have those is kind of one of those will things right? Like, where there's a will there's a way or like my will never really seems to cease. And I think that was kind of what I was talking about, like, sports and practices, right? Like because I can push myself as hard as I could possibly push myself, way more so than in an actual game. Right. So, you know, just having that mentality in the army made it easier for me. Right. And so it was in college because were a lot of people complained about how hard it is, and stuff like that. It's just like, No, you just, literally just do it. There's nothing I can't learn. You know? So, yeah, I set zero limitations for myself.

Tranztec: So I think the violin in fact, was quite amazing; but is there something like you got an award for or anything else you want us to mention?

Dave: I was an expert marksman in the army. That was pretty cool. I was of the 130 or so that were in our basic training, I was I was second in the whole company. I continued on with that and when I got to my unit I was asked if I wanted to attend sniper school? And I said no, because I knew that wasn't something long term that I wanted to do. I am still a pretty good shot. Shooting has always seemed pretty easy for me.

I was, despite being a rebel and a badass, I was in all honors classes in school, the National Honor Society. I graduated with like, a 3.9 GPA from high school. And I can't say that, that college didn't have its perks too, right. Like, I learned to become a much better orator. I can write very cleanly, clearly, you know, my interpersonal communication skills. At that time, I was in college I worked in a wood mill. So I did a lot of carpentry work the entire time I was in college. So like, I definitely do a lot of stuff with my hands. Like, I'm not like the world's greatest handyman, but I'm definitely not afraid to try.

I think the violin was a really good find.

Tranztec: You choose the Humane society for your donation. Any particular reason?

Dave: Yeah, the Humane Society. We got our two kitties, brother sister pair from there in 2021. Their 'Gotcha day" was actually just a couple days ago. So two years ago. So we go to the Humane Society. We were just looking for a cat. I'm a huge dog person. I love dogs. But we just weren't ready for it. We knew the pool was coming. The yard wasn't completely closed off to the street, stuff like that. Right? So wife was just like, oh, well, let's just get a cat first. So we went there and broke my heart. Like I hate those places. Like, soon as we were like, Okay, these are the cutest little two kitten pair, brother and sister. They're like, please take them together. Like say less easy enough. And then as they're processing and doing all the paperwork and stuff, the whole family wanted to just stay in there and pet all the kittens. I'm like, You better give me the heck out of here or we are leaving with all of them. Like just pull on my heartstrings some more right? Like I'm like Get me out of here. So now we got two kitties from the Humane Society and every now and again if I'm in the area going down that way I'll pick up some food and stuff and just kind of drop it outside the door. But ya know, I think they do a lot of good stuff. Our kittens were rescued from a sewer, the two of them together. So that's what we're not really sure how they got there. But they were found and they both of them barely made it. So pretty lucky and they're my kittens. The girl cat she'll kind of hang out with my wife every now and again. But yeah, if I'm working or hanging out late night in the recliner, chilling playing some games or whatever, like the cats are laying by me or on me.

Tranztec: Thank you Dave for sitting down sharing your journey with us. It's obviously important and you do a lot I think that goes unrecognized sometimes. It's foundational to the company what you're doing; you're just the concrete foundation on the archways.

Tranztec has made a donation to the Humane Society in Dave's name.