About Dave Rothacker

Dave Rothacker started working for a large HVAC mechanical contractor in Northeastern Ohio in the mid 1980’s as a truck driver, following a 10-year career in the grocery industry. After one year he moved inside to service operations and the next year began a two and half decade tour in management that journeyed through six different companies. With an educational background in business and accounting, Dave was analytical by nature. That changed in the mid 90’s as the commercial internet started up. With the help of Dan Holohan, a talented author and industry legend, Dave started writing and quickly discovered his creative side.

Along with two other gentlemen, he launched AREA51HVAC.COM, an online community for HVAC and Plumbing professionals. It became the perfect playground for his pen and business metaphors and was the original launch site of the Starship which today is the Starship Freedom. At the same time Dave belonged to leadership and management communities outside of the skilled trades, where he wrote and continued to learn. Upon inception of the Service Roundtable, CEO Matt Michel graciously invited Dave into the community. Over the years he has written exclusive business book reviews and articles. Today he is the author of HVAC Trade Talk, the Saturday Rabbit Hole and a Service Nation Alliance mentor.

Dave is husband to Rosemary, a romance fiction author and forensic expert in the mortgage industry, father of adult children Victoria and Carla, and grandfather to Cecilia, Rocco and Giovanni. Dave is passionate about leadership, design, design thinking, marketing, branding, psychology, neuroscience, the concept of business WHY, creativity and 21st century educators. A voracious non-fiction reader hardwired with a growth mindset, Dave, who considers himself as an explorer and guide, distills concepts from these disciplines and presents them to business owners and managers for thought, growth and action.

Dave's Purpose: To guide and inspire fellow explorers to connect with knowledge, ideas, others and themselves, so that they'll uncover their purpose, become who they are and be all that they can be.

Dave's Vision: To end the skilled trades labor shortage. (Read my outlook on the vision here)

Your Question: How in the world are you going to do that!?

Dave's Answer: This is a work in progress, but I'll give you a hint. By creating the type of company that people will line up out the door trying to get in.


Dave has always given back to the industry and has an ability to look at an ordinary situation in a different way. He often brings forth unique perspectives that make people stop and think.
– Matt Michel,
President of Service Nation Inc.
As someone who is 22 and has never been in a leadership role, this success group has been fantastic for me. Dave and the whole mastermind group I’m a part of has helped me more than anyone will ever truly know.
– Tanner Palacios
I think there are many women who, like me, have become leaders by default – either because of family or marriage. I really can’t explain how exciting it’s been to realize I need to raise my lid – and to learn how to do it.
– Lori Stickling