Meet David "Swain" Cox of Research Tool & Die (RT&D)

Thursday, 06 Jul 2023

One of the strongest indicators of a thriving corporate culture is the involvement of experienced employees guiding and mentoring new hires during their initial days. At Research Tool & Die, a Fairbanks Morse Defense company, David "Swain" Cox exemplifies this supportive approach, which is one of the reasons he cherishes his work with the company.

"I strive to be someone who actively assists others in their tasks," Cox expressed, reflecting his positive outlook on life. It’s an outlook that is one of the reasons he now serves as a supervisor for the company.

This optimistic attitude forms the core of Cox's personal philosophy. He firmly believes that humility is also a crucial attribute for achieving success. "Acknowledging your mistakes and using them as opportunities to improve yourself is vital. No one can claim to know everything because this profession can quickly bring you back to reality," he wisely advised.

Cox was introduced to RT&D by a sales representative and became captivated by the intriguing dies and presses he witnessed during a facility tour. The fact that a former colleague also worked at the company further fueled his interest, as he looked forward to collaborating with him again. On his first day at RT&D, Cox realized that he was embarking on a new chapter in his professional journey, making it a truly memorable experience.

Above all, Cox was profoundly impressed by the spirit of teamwork that permeated the organization. He emphasized that this collaborative mindset fostered a positive atmosphere and a shared commitment to success.

Most of Cox’s family, colleagues, and friends know him at “Swain.” He was given the nickname during his technician engineering apprenticeship at age 16, when the floor leader referred to him as “coxswain,” referring to the person to dictates the rowing beat on a boat. The meaning of the nickname was appropriate, as Cox has proven time and again his ability to direct projects at the desired pace. Over time the nickname has shortened to “Swain” which is what Cox is most commonly called today.

Prior to joining RT&D, Cox had no experience working in a military-related field. However, this job instilled in him a sense of duty and pride in contributing to his country. Moreover, his newfound connection to the military allowed him to forge stronger bonds with his father-in-law and brother-in-law, both of whom served in the Navy. The three of them, being industry experts, have exchanged many meaningful and inspiring stories over the years.

Cox's most memorable moments thus far with the company have been his contributions to streamlining procedures and introducing technology that greatly benefited his team. He continually looks for ways to improve dies and has established a comprehensive library containing images and CAD files for over 250 of the most common tools used in manufacturing electrical systems hardware. Furthermore, he introduced welding robots, multicycle presses, and uni-tool piercing units to the company, significantly easing the workload for his colleagues.

Outside of work, Cox finds joy in outdoor activities, particularly soccer, fishing, and camping, which allow him to unwind and recharge.


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