Dave Frank, at 56, has lived a full life, using his creativity and perfecting his craft in everything from cooking to carpentry. A Montrose native, he also gives time and energy to non-profit groups, recently serving on the boards of the Dolphin House and the Montrose County Planning Commission.
Frank remembers the prescient advice his father gave him before he enlisted in the Air Force in 1984. “My dad sat me down and said, ‘There seems to be a lot going on with those computer things, and it probably would be a good career if you got involved with those computer things.’ He was prescient. A very smart man.”
So, Frank taught electronics at Lowry Air Force Base and had a job waiting for him at Lockheed Martin. After teaching for four years, he found that he really didn’t care for it.
He has a wide variety of interests and has a tendency to overdo it. These days, he’s picking and choosing.
Frank had always worked in kitchens. “I got my first restaurant job when I was 14 at the Country Kitchen in Montrose. I’ve been working in restaurants pretty much ever since. At some point I realized that I had advanced to the level where I was actually a chef. I spent 27 years working in kitchens, and retired as a chef de cuisine.
I worked all over the country—catered movies in South Carolina, worked in country clubs in Arizona, and restaurants in Michigan, really kind of a broad spectrum of experience.”
The chef worked eight years at the Camp Robber restaurant, in Montrose. Right about the time the Camp Robber moved from Main Street to its present location, he retired. “I was really burned out,” he said.
“Working in a restaurant is like paddling a canoe up a waterfall,” he mused. “There’s never a sense of progress; everyday you start absolutely fresh. But, it was a great outlet for your artistic side. People ask me ‘When are you going to go back in the restaurant business?’ I say, ‘No, I retired.’”
He still donates wine-pairing dinners for Hope West, Habitat for Humanity, and Peer Kindness, for fundraising. “You’re able to be really, really creative and artistic, and then you put the dishes away and you go on about your life.”
He’s also a retired carpenter. “When Sue and I got married in 1991, I told her as a carpenter I could make a lot of money. But the drawback is we’d have to move to a big city and I’d have to work 70-80 hours a week, nights, weekends and holidays. Or, we could stay here where the quality of life is a lot better. So we chose the quality of life.”
Dave’s wife, Sue, is Bill Patterson’s daughter. She took over as president and CEO of the family business, TEO Rock Drills, about 12 years ago. “And has done an incredible job,” Frank says. TEO Rock Drills is the leading manufacturer of excavator rock drill attachments.
Dave and Sue Frank get great joy from their son Zach, daughter-in-law Lauren, and their three granddaughters. They live in Montrose. “I love it, love it, love it,” Frank exclaims. “We see them four times a week and they stay overnight.”
Frank has been involved in the Magic Circle Players for 32 years. “I served on the Board of Governors for the theater and I help with little construction projects. Mark Smith and I drove the addition to the theater several years ago, so I feel like I really had an impact.
It’s arguably one the best community theatres in Colorado; definitely the best on the Western Slope. Five quality shows a year, professional level. Kicking right along.”
He recently joined the Public Safety Commission for the City of Montrose
Frank is being careful not to take on any more. “I’m trying to be involved in quality organizations, and as I get older, to help Montrose become a better place. I want it to be meaningful, to be lasting. I don’t do it for any recognition. I want to make Montrose a better place for my grandkids.
Art and Philosophy
“I make knives, I paint. I was raised in that mindset that if you’re interested in it, do it.” He says that it didn’t come from his father, who was one of those “patch it with a band-aid” people. “Maybe it’s from my military training; I’ll always be that ‘do it right the first time’ kind of person. When I expressed an interest in something, I was always lucky enough to have quality people to teach me the right way to do things.”
Frank does not procrastinate. “Don’t put off until tomorrow eating the chocolate cake, or going on vacation. You might have a medical procedure that goes wrong, or a stroke, or get hit by lightning.
“We, as a culture, have become a nation that puts off everything. I don’t have a bucket list. I live my bucket list.
“My mom always said, ‘People are so worried about whether the cup is half empty or half full, they forget that at least they have a cup. A lot of people don’t have a cup.’
Drink deeply from that cup, because you never know when it’s going to run dry.”