David Herr lived his life and did his job with amazing aplomb.
If there was a three-alarm fire going on in regard to an IT-related issue with the Dallas Mavericks, Herr was always there to put out the fire. As the Chief Technology Officer of the Mavs, Herr was in charge of all things IT-related and he took his job very seriously.
Sadly, Herr passed away last Wednesday at the age of 57, leaving legions of his family members, friends and co-workers feeling heartbroken.
“David was the hardest working man I have ever worked with, and he was one of the most intelligent also,” said Steve Letson, the Mavs’ Senior Vice President Operations and Arena Development. “He knew something about everything.
“He would do anything for anyone, anytime. He will be dearly missed not only as a colleague, but as a very good friend.”
Coach Rick Carlisle spoke about how Herr left an indelible impression on the Mavs’ organization and of the impact he had around the Mavs.
“He was a wonderful man who touched every aspect of the organization as the Chief Technology Officer,” Carlisle said. “I’ve had a lot of interactions with him over the last three or four years.
“He passed (Wednesday) suddenly and tragically…It hit all of us very, very hard. Wonderful man, wonderful part of the Mavs’ organization, part of the family and very, very sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Michelle, and to the family.”
Mavs Chief Executive Officer Cynt Marshall produces a weekly MyTwoCynts message that’s emailed to Mavs’ employees, and the latest one included her heartfelt expressions about Herr. Here are just a few of the things Marshall said she’ll miss about Herr.
David and Michelle were married in February. Their love was evident every time anyone noticed the joy on David’s face.
On Herr’s last Facebook post, he discussed Michelle and her battle with Stage 4 cancer. He also shared her GoFundMe page and asked others to donate to help get her urgent treatment.
Also, in conjunction with Herr’s connection with technology, the Mavs Foundation has established the David Herr Memorial Fund. The fund will provide resources to support education and work to strengthen the digital divide in the North Texas area.
The fund epitomizes Herr, who steadfastly stood for equality and equity and was always searching for ways to shine a brighter light into members of underserved communities.
“David was the best tech guy I have ever worked with,” owner Mark Cuban said. “There was no problem too big, no technology too new, no challenge too great. He was always up to the task.
“Not only that, he did it in his uniquely understated way. He never had to say that he figured it out. He just did it.”
Tamara Jolee, the Mavs’ community reporter, said her favorite memory of Herr were of the two hanging out before games in the American Airlines Center tunnel.
“We had to arrive hours before the game and we always talked about what a dream it was to work with the Dallas Mavericks,” Jolee said. “We were like giddy little kids, so proud to call the AAC our office, and David always had this childlike grin across his face. He had this incredible calming presence about him that always put everyone at ease.
“Then I’d look over at the games and you’d see him in the tunnel watching to make sure everything was operating and running smoothly for the games. David had a mighty impact on the overall operation of the Mavericks and he made the experience so much better for the fans, players, coaches, staff, media and team.”
Indeed, Herr was highly respected by his Mavs’ colleagues and was extremely special to the organization. Julian Ochoa, the Mavs’ broadcast manager, spoke of Herr’s sure-fire dedication and of the manner in which he unilaterally embraced his job.
“If it wasn’t the network, he would have been helping people with the Zooms and video conferences,” Ochoa said. “He was the type of person who was just around in person, which meant a lot to me because we worked together on quite a few projects even during the pandemic.
“He also stayed after everybody left.”
Ochoa divulged the numerous conversations he had with Herr about things not IT-related.
“I would talk to him about cameras and he would offer up reproduction solutions all the time,” Ochoa said. “It was just a pleasure getting to know him producing the HUDDLE and seeing him always offering bigger and better solutions just because he wanted things to be even bigger and better.”
Herr’s passion for his job and efficiency in handling the multiple tasks before him were very noticeable to his colleagues.
“He kept the Mavericks way ahead of the IT curve,” Letson said. “In addition, he was very kind, friendly and humorous.
“He loved working for the Mavs, and that really showed in his work ethic.”
Greg Nared, a Senior Vice President with the Mavs, said he recently flipped the script on Herr.
“I remember the day before his death I happen to be in the office for the first time in a few weeks, and you always see David’s car in the parking lot,” Nared said. “It could be 7 o’clock in the morning, it could be sometimes 9 or 10 o’clock at night, his car always seemed to be there. So, I happen to see his car and I said, ‘Let me go check on David. Let me say hello to him,’ because every time you see David most of the time you want something or you need something done or you need a new webcam, you need a new laptop, you need a new adaptor for your computer.
“So I just went over there and said, ‘Hey David, how are you, man? I don’t want anything this time. I just wanted to say hello to you. Anything I can do to help?’ And he just laughed and said, “Man, I sure appreciate it, because most folks that come through here need something.’ So that was my last interaction with him, which was again, the day before his passing.”
Born on Sept. 11, 1963 in Marion, OH, Herr graduated from Barrington High School in Barrington, Ill, in 1981. He later joined the United States Armed Forces and became a police officer before transitioning his career to the technology world. Herr joined the Mavs in October of 2017 and was an immediate hit with his newfound co-workers because of his insatiable desire to think and believe beyond the moment.
Prior to working for the Mavs, Herr was the Chief Operating Officer of Opus-3 Data Center for six years. He helped renovate the 36,000 square foot Opus-3 Data Center in downtown Dallas into a state-of-the-art multi-tenant data center with services ranging from single serve colocation to enterprise suites.
Also, in 2002, Herr founded the Westin Bunker, which is a former corporate nuclear fallout shelter. He took the property from a concept stage to an operating data center with multiple Tier 1 carrier connections and several Fortune 500 clients.
In addition, Herr either co-founded or served in leadership roles with numerous other broadcast and technology companies throughout the years. And from 1992-1997, he served as the IT director of Montgomery county, where he managed data and voice systems for one of the fastest growing counties in Texas. He also, from scratch, helped build a network that eventually linked 18 county buildings.
Nared described Herr as a “selfless person” and “servant leader” with a brilliant mind who lived to serve the needs of others.
“What I loved most about him is he didn’t care if you were a receptionist, a coordinator, a director, a VP or a CEO, he was going to treat everybody the same,” Nared said. He’s such a humble man.
“You talk about an innovator, he always had new ideas regarding IT and he always wanted to take a couple of minutes with you and say, ‘Hey, tell me what your thoughts are about this particular idea?’ He was just an innovative leader within the organization, just a nice person, a great co-worker, and we’re going to miss him.”
Jolee reiterated that notion by saying: “This past year my texts to him always went like this: ‘David, HELP! I can’t get into the system to post my story!’
“Time and time again David would come to our rescue and he never once complained or made us feel insecure for needing help. He was a constant source of inspiration and touched all of our lives in countless ways.”
That was the spirit Herr embodied, all the way until he took his last breath.
“He was such a good guy,” Cuban said. “He just lived to make the lives of everyone around him easier and better.
“He made sure your day was stress-free, even if it meant him working all hours of the night. He was a special human and he will be missed forever.”