This archived article was written by: James Justice
David Cassidy, an associate professor in the business department at USU Eastern, is one of my favorite teachers on campus.
Cassidy didn’t start out to be a teacher, “I kind of fell into it,” he laughs. “I started out to be a chemical engineer. I left and went to Australia for two years on a [religious] mission. When I got back, I couldn’t tell the difference between differential and integral calculus equation. So I decided that accounting looks like a good field… I got into intermediate accounting and decided that wasn’t a good field either, so I went into business and marketing.”
After he received his degree, he went to work for his family’s company. “About two years later, I was recruited by a Fortune 500 Company out of Alabama that wanted me to go into a management-training program, so I did… In that management training, I did a bunch of different things; worked in the manufacturing area; traffic, rail and freight car area; technical area, learned all about crushing big stones, making them small ones. After two years they shipped me to Ohio where I became a scrap buyer for an aluminum operation. After a few years, they made me the manager of the trucking operation. Then I moved back to Alabama where I became a commodity trader…The best way to describe this is I was prepared for a lot of opportunities. When an opportunity came, I was in a position to take care of it.”
The most important part of his education he said is earning “a master’s degree, an MBA. Had I not had an MBA, I would have been like the hundred of my other patriots that just had bachelor’s degrees. Even though I’ve had a variety of positions in mostly buying, but working in the marketing and sale area too, the master’s degree set me apart from the others.”
How he got into teaching when, “I started helping some students that were in college, helping them out with different courses on the side, nothing big. After a while I thought to myself ‘hmmm I’d kind of like to teach.’” His family was forced to move back to Ohio, a different area this time, and he started teaching at a local community college. “I just taught some computer courses.”
His family moved to Indiana where he taught early-morning [LDS] seminary four years. “After that, I thought if I can teach early-morning seminary, I can teach anything. That gave me the bug for teaching. For about five to 10 years, I always had that [teaching] in the back of my mind… My son-in-law, that lived here in Price, was on an advisory board at school and told me they were looking for someone to teach marketing. I was on that like something on a June Bug, what lands on a June Bug? I forget. Let’s just say I jumped on it right away.”
From the time Cassidy applied, to the time he was teaching was about 90 days. “My first semester here they gave me 19 hours to teach,” he laughs, “I didn’t know that was a lot of classes to teach. Plus I was the sponsor of the marketing club…It’s funny now looking back.”
The best thing about being a teacher is, “Unlike in the business world, you get to start over twice a year. It doesn’t really matter if you screwed up last semester and something didn’t work right, you can do it again next semester. Business is crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch. That’s what I did for 29 years, month after month, day in and day out. That’s one thing, another is you don’t get three months vacation when you work in business. You’re basically fired on Friday and hired back on Monday. I would have to say that the best thing is there’s a lot of satisfaction in teaching. There’s not very much satisfaction in the corporate world; teaching is rewarding. Seeing [students] that really understand, when the light really clicks and they understand it’s just an amazing feeling… It’s a great life.”
One piece of advice he gives to all students is, “…get the maximum out of school. It’s not inexpensive so get the most out of your money and really learn the material.”
Cassidy not only brings a lot of experience, 29 years and an MBA, he also brings a smile and laugh to class. His classes are informative, but at the same time fun and entertaining. One of the best lessons I learned from Cassidy is to study hard, but don’t take things too seriously and always have a smile on your face. If you’re a business major and you ever get a chance to take a class from him, definitely do it, you’ll never regret it.