Dave Steward is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology (WWT), a market-leading systems integrator and supply chain solutions provider. It is the largest Black-owned company in the United States. After previously creating two successful startup companies, Steward began WWT in 1990 with a handful of employees and a 4,000 square foot office. WWT currently operates in 4 million square feet of warehousing, distribution and integration space in more than 20 facilities throughout the world. The company employs more than 7,000 people globally and generates more than $13 billion in annual revenue.
Specializing in cloud capabilities, data center and virtualization, security, mobility and networking technologies along with voice, video and collaboration solutions, World Wide Technology provides advanced technology solutions from 3,000+ manufacturers to the commercial, government and telecom sectors.
As chairman of WWT, Steward emphasizes the role of strong cultural values, as well as the importance of strong collaboration between employees and departments, beginning with the company’s executive team, led by CEO Jim Kavanaugh. For the ninth consecutive year, WWT made Fortune’s 2020 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Additionally, they appear on the 2020 Best Workplaces in Technology list by Great Place to Work and Forbes’ Largest Private Companies. These are honors that demonstrate that the core values, on which Steward founded WWT more than 30 years ago, are still alive and well today.
Mr. Steward was born in Chicago and shortly after moved with his family to the small rural town of Clinton, Missouri. After graduating from Central Missouri State University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in business management, Mr. Steward moved to St. Louis. He was the first person of color ever hired by the Missouri Pacific Railroad to sell rail services. After leaving the Missouri Pacific, he joined Federal Express as a senior account executive. Mr. Steward was recognized as the FedEx salesman of the year in 1981 and was inducted into the company’s Sales Hall of Fame.
Mr. Steward also is the founder and chairman of Kingdom Capital, a values-driven private investment firm with a focus on early-stage companies with technology-based health and medical solutions.
In addition to his business success, Mr. Steward is the author of two books. Doing Business by The Good Book, published in 2004, matches scriptural messages with guidelines for sound business practice and provides a foundation for aligning one’s personal beliefs with professional conduct. Published in 2020, Leadership by the Good Book offers real-life examples matched with Biblical references about leadership, featuring interviews from high-profile, successful Christian business leaders from around the world.
Mr. Steward is a Member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans; is Council Vice President for the Greater St. Louis Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and Executive Board Member of National Boy Scouts of America; is Chairman Emeritus of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis; and serves on the Executive Committee of Greater St. Louis, Inc. and the boards of Concordance Academy of Leadership, National Academy Foundation (NAF), Washington University, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Biblical Business Training and more.
Mr. Steward holds Honorary Doctor of Laws from Washington University, as well as Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from numerous colleges and universities.
Among his many awards, Mr. Steward has been recognized as the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) and the 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Citizen of the Year. Together, Mr. Steward and his wife, Thelma, have received the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award. Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis, also honored them with their Man and Woman of the Year Award.
The Stewards have been married for over 44 years and have two children and two grandchildren. Their son, Dave Steward II, is the CEO of Polarity, LLC, the only Black-owned digital animation studio in the United States [whose credits include the Oscar-winning Animated Short Hair Love]. Their daughter, Kimberly, is the CEO of K Period Media, an American film production/finance company [whose credits include Oscar Award-winning movie Manchester by the Sea and Emmy nominated movie documentary Through a Lens Darkly].
Mr. and Mrs. Steward support many philanthropic and community efforts. In 2014, The Steward family supported the Grand Center revitalization with the opening of the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz, a St. Louis performance venue that attracts world-class musicians as well as a place for education and community engagement. Mr. Steward paid homage to his parents in the naming of this impressive venue. “I don’t have a business philosophy and a personal philosophy. They are one and the same that I live by 24/7. Thelma and I come from humble backgrounds, and we have been blessed with more prosperity than we could have imagined when we were young. It is a blessing for us to give to others. The eternal return on investment (ROI) is far more important to us than the temporal one.”