Meet Dave Shaffer
Dave is a social entrepreneur who believes in the true value of each individual. Building on his management and accounting education from Purdue University and his CPA certification, he has spent much of his career leading and growing social enterprises that serve individuals who traditionally and unfortunately are left behind. His core belief that with appropriate focus and alignment, healthy businesses should play an important role in the overall ecosystem. Unfortunately, that ecosystem currently excludes many.
Leveraging his core beliefs with his financial and operational business background, Dave has spent the last 20 years leading the mission and business expansion of two entrepreneurial not-for-profits serving vulnerable populations.
In 2015 Dave and his wife Jean relocated from Portland, Oregon to Atlanta, Georgia to lead First Step Staffing in its efforts to provide meaningful employment for individuals who were experiencing homelessness and those who had recently been incarcerated. Pursuing a very entrepreneurial acquisition model, in four years First Step grew from a $1.5 million organization to a nationally recognized enterprise. As of October 2019, First Step has five offices located in metropolitan Atlanta, Nashville, and Philadelphia, employs over 1,200 homeless individuals each week, and generates nearly $50 million in annual earned revenues.
Previous to his work at First Step, Dave led DePaul Industries, a Portland-based organization focusing on employment for persons with disabilities, serving as its CEO for seven years. During his tenure as CEO DePaul doubled its hours worked by persons with disabilities to over one million hours per year and its annual earned revenue to nearly $40 million. DePaul was awarded the Oregon Ethics in Business Award and named one of the states 100 Best companies to work for.
Earlier in his career Dave and his family moved from Illinois to Portland where Dave co-founded and served as President of Moonstruck Chocolatier, a high-end chocolate maker and retailer. As further evidence of Dave’s vision and activities, he was awarded the 2012 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific Northwest.
It truly seems that Dave’s desire to use his business skills to help move individuals who have been at the back of the line to the front align perfectly with Arc Health’s world vision where the most vulnerable have access to the best health professionals.