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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - David Shica, DS Surfaces

Spotlight - David Shica, DS Surfaces


AUSTIN - Coming from very humble beginnings, David Shica has risen above many tribulations and hardships to own and operate a successful countertop shop.






Where you born?
    I was born in Lima, Peru and came over to the US with my parents in 1981.

Why did your parents decide to leave Peru?

    My father wanted to be a medical doctor.  In Peru, there is a lot of competition getting into medical school and only people with a lot of money can get in.  So he decided to come to the US with my mom, when he saw an opportunity at Andrews University.  They brought us here after a year.  We stayed with my grandma until then.
    Money started to run out.  There was not enough work so he decided to go to Mexico.  It was easier in Mexico because he could speak the language.  He started going to medical school there in Mexico.   After a while, my parents got divorced.  My mom then met a fellow, they got married and we came back in 1988.

What was it like to live in Peru?

    We lived in a Christian environment.  It was beautiful.  My grandparents were very educated with a college degree.  They both worked at a university. Our childhood was great.  We were not poor, but we were not rich either. 
    But what I remember is that my mom and my dad to make and save money. Just behind our house they built an open oven made out of brick.  In Peru when it is Christmas, the people make bread called panettone.  Every family in Peru will receive a panettone.  We would go out and sell it.  That is how they saved up money to come to the US.  It was not work to us, it was fun.  My parents made it in a way it was not stressful for us.  We had almost everything that we needed, which was love.  Material things come and go, but the love, we had plenty.

How old were you when you came to the US the first time?

    I was 7 when I came to the US the first time and 12 when I came the second time with my mom.

What was it like to live in Mexico?

    It was different.  In Peru, we have a different accent. The linguistic is different.  Our Spanish is different.  It is like American English and British English.  The first year was kind of tough getting used to the different type of food and culture.  In Peru, we did not have tortillas and we did not eat frijoles or hot and spicy food.  The second year we were getting a little more used to it the customs. 
    I have a funny story.  I went to middle school in Mexico and every Monday they would gather all the kids from the school outside and they would have the pledge to the flag and salute the flag.  In Mexico when you salute the flag, you do it like this (arm across his chest, palm facing the ground, bent at the elbow), but since I wasn’t Mexican, my brother wasn’t Mexican, we would not do anything.
    The principal saw us and pulled us into the office.  He asked us why we were not saluting and we told him because we are not Mexican.  He said “what, you are not Mexicans, you look Mexican.  Let me call your parents.”  We told him we look Mexican but we are from Peru.  My dad came and explained we were from Peru.  The principal told us he understood we were not Mexican, but we needed to show respect for the flag because this is where we lived.  So I showe respect wherever I go, whatever country I visit.  I learned a lot about respect.  Here I show respect for this country because this is where I live.

Where did you meet your wife?  Did you meet her here in the United States?

    I met my wife here in high school.  She is my high school sweetheart.  I went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Dallas and we met my senior year.  She was my best friend’s sister and they would hang out together. One day we were talking and my friend told me Norma is here and I asked who is Norma. 
    After a little while I started liking Norma and I told my friend, and he told his sister and they arranged for us to meet.  At first she did not like me.  Then after a while she started liking me a little more and so I asked her out.  We’ve known each other since 1990.  We got married in 1994.  We will be celebrating our 23rd anniversary.

How many children do you have?

    We have just one, my daughter Danielle.  She is in her second year of college.  She is studying psychology. 

Did your daughter keep you and your wife busy with sports, dance, cheerleading?
    Not so much.  She was in choir and we would go to her choir performances.  Now days we go to Fort Worth to see her at least once a month.

How did you get started in this business?
    After I finished high school I went to college on a music scholarship.  That summer after high school, I didn’t have anything to do and my stepfather told me about this guy that does countertops and needed help.  I didn’t have any money and I was just a kid living at home, so I went to work for him.  We worked 14 to 16 hours per day.  I didn’t like it, but at the end of the week I made $200.  I worked for him for about six months. 
    The company we were working with was a small company, but the owner needed another guy.  He asked about me and the guy I was working for thought I could help him out but told him I was just a helper. 
    When he asked me, I told him, “I don’t have any tools.   I don’t have a truck.  I don’t have anything.”  This man told me “David, I’ll buy you the tools.  I’ll buy you the truck.  You pay me as you work, but I need you.”  So I saw an opportunity and I had nothing to lose.
    He got me started and he gave me the opportunity.  The first year was terrible.  I was miserable but I liked working.  I was going to school while I was doing the work and slowly I started making money.  I was 18, 19 at that time making $900 to $1,200 per week. 
    The company started building and brought us here to Austin because they wanted to start up a branch in 2006.  By that time I had the experience with almost any surface.  Then the market went down.  We had become partners, but the partnership went down the toilet. 
    I brought my wife; we were living in an apartment because we thought the business was going to grow.  We lost almost all of our savings.  I2009 came with no work.  He told us we should just be on our own and ride it out to see how it goes.
    I had nothing.  The only thing I had was my truck, my tools, my family and first of all, my Lord, my faith.  So I prayed, and with $500 in my pocket I told my wife I was going to start knocking on doors.  We made up some flyers.  I got one job out of a thousand flyers.  But that one job got me another job. And that other job got me another job.  I got about four jobs out of those flyers.
    Then I met a guy from a cabinet company who told me he could give me a job here and there.  And I started meeting people.  And I knew if I was going to do a job, I was going to do the best job and be upfront so if they ever needed me again, they would just call me.  But not only did they call me, they referred me to other people.

Was the struggle during that time hard on you and your wife?

    The stress was very hard on my wife. She was diagnosed with Lupus when we were in Dallas.  The stress during the years we were struggling was very hard on her.  At that time Lupus was not a very common disease but she was treated in Dallas. 
    When my daughter was born, the pregnancy took most of her health away from her and she got really sick.  We found this doctor that treated her with new medications and she got better.
    When we moved to Austin in 2006 she was doing really well.  When the market crashed in 2009, she got really sick again with all the stress.  She came down with Guillain-Barré and was in the hospital for seven days.  When she got out the doctor told me she might never be 100%.
    Today she is 100%.  My Lord is great.
    She has a teaching degree, but when the business got going, I asked her to come work here.  She keeps the books and works from our home so the stress is not too much.

You were out of town last week, was it business or pleasure?

    It was pleasure.  My wife and I went to Rome.  We try to take a vacation every three to four months to relieve stress.

What is your future plans for DS Surfaces?

     Last year we got this new machinery and that was a big step for us because we used to do it all by hand.  My goal now is by 2018 to buy a new building here in Buda, along the I-35 corridor with new machinery, which will get us where we need to be with production and efficiency.
    After that I don’t think I can grow so much.  I can grow enough that I can handle it.  If I grow too much, it becomes a big company and I’m not about that.  It’s all about what I can handle, what I can service.  If it gets too big it is no longer fun.  I don’t want it to be stressful.  I want to give quality service.

You said you studied music; did you get your degree?

    No, I did not finish, but I really wanted to.  I wanted to be a musician, not one that played in concerts, but one that taught.  I wanted to give music lessons or be a conductor.

When you retire, do you think you will pick music up again?

    I would love to pick that up again. I love music.

What else would you like me to tell our readers about you?
    You only live once.  Take care of your family.  Keep your faith up.  Be strong in your faith.  Do right to everyone.   If I made it this far, it’s about that.  My values.  My values are very strong and I try to pass that on to my guys. -cmw

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Author Info
Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net