Structural engineer David Tatum retires

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 787 views 

David Tatum, founding partner and chief financial officer of Tatum Smith Welcher Engineers Inc. in Rogers, retired from the company effective Dec. 31, 2022. He continues to be the secretary on the firm’s board of directors.

With two employees, Tatum founded Tatum Structural Engineering in 1996. It was one of Northwest Arkansas’ first consulting practices dedicated solely to structural engineering. A Missouri native, Tatum graduated from Kansas State University in 1979 and has been a licensed engineer since 1984. He maintained active licensure in several states throughout his career and spanned positions in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, South Carolina and Northwest Arkansas.

Tatum and business partners Mark Smith (president) — one of the firm’s original employees — and Richard Welcher (vice president and chief operations officer) initiated separate stock buy/sell agreements to ensure the firm’s sustainable growth and leadership continuity.

“I’ve used David’s leadership and integrity as a compass for my engineering path,” said Smith, who has assumed CFO duties. “No one could’ve been a better mentor for my professional and personal development.”

David Tatum

Welcher said Tatum defines servant leadership, adding that he’s well-known and highly respected within the design and construction community for his structural engineering expertise and humble personality — and prowess on the golf course.

“Anyone who has ever met or worked with David will speak glowingly about not just the quality of his work but the kind of person he is and the way he treats everyone,” Welcher said. “He remains a great role model for me in business and life. Mark and I will continue operating this firm by focusing on our employees and their families because David would accept nothing less. I’m so grateful that I had David as a mentor.”

Tatum Smith Welcher Engineers has 19 employees and is one of Arkansas’ largest structural engineering firms.