|'71 B.S., Management Science|
|President and Chief Operating Officer|
|J. David Scheiner was born in Buffalo, New York. His parents moved the family to Yonkers, where he attended Roosevelt High School, the place where he met his high school sweetheart who would become his wife and longtime love, Joan.
But as devoted as he was to his wife-to-be, he was less dedicated to his studies. “I could never seem to find the motivation,” he said. He attended Bryant College in Rhode Island, then Kirkland Hall Junior College in Maryland, where two important events occurred. He became engaged to Joan, and as they planned their life together, he found his motivation.
He graduated first in his class at Kirkland Hall, and proceeded to the University of New Haven. “I really enjoyed the professors and the interest they took in me. Doing really well at the University of New Haven was pivotal in terms of my gaining self-esteem and confidence,” he said.
Upon graduation, he began looking for a job. Retail ran in the family DNA; Scheiner’s parents met when they were both working at Gimbels department store in Manhattan. His father subsequently became the vice chairman of Lerner Shops. Scheiner’s impression of the business though, was one of long, stressful hours and frequent moves. When he graduated from college, he decided to avoid the retail life.
But a recession had struck, and the few jobs that were available were predominantly in retail. So he interviewed with Gimbels. The company offered him a job and he reluctantly took it.
“I fell in love with the business,” he said. “I like that you instantly find out whether or not you did a good job based on daily sales and the customer’s reactions. I also love working with a diverse group of very talented people.
One year and four months later, after a visit to Florida, he accepted a job at Burdine’s, one of Florida’s major department stores. He and Joan have been living happily in Florida ever since. A stint as president of Maas Brothers/Jordan Marsh took them to Tampa for three years. They then moved back to Miami with Burdines, which subsequently became Macy’s.
“Joan and I continue to create a life that is pretty special,” he said. “We’re incredibly involved in the community. But my true passion is my family. I love spending time with them and most of all sharing my life with my wife. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Joan and David have two sons, Brett, 29, and Michael, 26, and this year they welcomed Michael’s wife, Katie, 25, to the family.
His community activism is widespread. He serves on the board of directors of United Way of Miami Dade and was co-chair of the annual campaign. He served for 10 years on the board of his synagogue. He is on the executive committee and board of directors of the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, where he chairs the finance committee. He is actively involved at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, where his wife serves as chairwoman of the board. He serves as chairman of the board of MetroBank of Florida and is involved in the revitalization of downtown Miami.
He broke a pledge he made to himself that he would never go into retail, and he has never looked back. “I get up every morning and I am excited about going to work,” he said. “I love my job.”