Daniel David Zabcik, a leader in the metal construction industry, died in a Houston area assisted care facility on Aug. 17 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. A memorial service will be held at George H. Lewis Funeral Directors, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Zabcik’s family thanked the administrators and care givers at Silverado Cypresswood Senior Care for the love and devotion they showed for Zabcik during the five years he was there.
Zabcik was born Nov. 24, 1928 to John Alfred and Elenora Zabcik in Barclay, Texas. He graduated Rosebud High School as valedictorian in 1946 and received a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in August 1950. After college, Zabcik served in the U.S. Army and then as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He received a Korean Service Medal and served for two and a half years on Okinawa Island until August 1953.
Zabcik worked at Lockwood and Andrews, a Houston-based engineering firm, and Metallic Building Co., a Houston-based metal building manufacturer. He married Joyce Wells of Port Arthur, Texas in April 1957 and had three children: Carol, Dan and Bob. After two years starting their family in Hobbs, New Mexico, the family relocated to Houston and eventually settled in the Cypress-Fairbanks area of Houston.
After Joyce Zabcik died in 1986, Zabcik became reacquainted with and married Rosemary Hancock, his high school sweetheart, of Rosebud, in 1987. He became stepfather to Millard, Mary, Larry and Arthur Hancock.
Zabcik retired from Houston-based NCI Building Systems in 1991 and served on its board of directors until 1998. His career at NCI Building Systems spanned more than three decades. Zabcik was inducted in the Metal Construction Hall of Fame in 2014.
After retirement, Zabcik and Rosemary Zabcik traveled and shared their mutual loves including hiking, golf, attending UT football games and spending time with their nine grandchildren: Chris, Nick and John DeWitt; Ryan and Kathryn Zabcik; Monika Zabcik; Jorel Hancock; Haley and Ashley Hancock. Having grown up on a farm near Rosebud, Zabcik was an outdoorsman. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, birding and hiking in mountains, desert and coastal environments.
From Zabcik’s Metal Construction Hall of Fame nomination:
Zabcik entered the industry as an engineer for Metallic Building in 1956 and exited as a member of the board of directors of NCI Building Systems in 1998. During that time, the industry experienced exponential growth and Zabcik’s influence was a big reason that the companies he was with were among the fastest growing. He always looked at metal buildings as the natural evolution of steel construction rather than as a niche industry, and worked to increase the use of metal buildings in the low-rise commercial market by pursuing, capturing and successfully completing high-visibility projects with keen a focus on customer service. He worked in virtually all aspects of the industry: finance/administration, marketing, sales, engineering, and customer service during his 40+ year career.
Zabcik provided key leadership needed to grow Metallic Building, and later NCI Building Systems, from small companies to industry leaders. He was also very active in the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) while in the industry, helping guide the association through difficult economic times as well as those of intense growth by serving on the MBMA executive committee for many years and also as its chair in 1993. But perhaps his greatest contributions were as a teacher and a mentor to as many people as he could touch as he had a gift in that aspect and loved empowering others to succeed. His reputation as an intelligent and savvy businessman is only surpassed by that as a strong and fair leader who treated everyone with equal respect. He employed a unique, up-front, all-cards-on-the-table approach to business that Metallic Building and NCI’s customers appreciated and still talk about.
After leaving the industry from 1958 to 1962, he rejoined Metallic Building as an engineer and later moved to the sales side of the business where he found his true calling: working with customers and mentoring sales people. While Dan was out of the industry, National Steel acquired Metallic Building and made them a subsidiary of Stran Steel. Zabcik was promoted into Stran Steel and stayed with them after they divested from Metallic Building, and it was sold to Marathon Products. Dan rejoined Metallic around 1970 and worked his way up to vice president of sales. In 1978, Zabcik left Metallic Building to be the executive vice president of Mid-West Steel Buildings, a company founded by Johnie Schulte in 1970 with its sights set on becoming a major player in the metal building industry. With Zabcik’s help, they did just that. Mid-West Steel Buildings’ success led to them being acquired by American Buildings Co., who also acquired Metallic Building a year later. American Buildings merged the two companies and named Zabcik president of Midwest-Metallic when Schulte retired a year after the acquisition.
Zabcik retired briefly but came back into the industry when Schulte reacquired Midwest-Metallic in 1989 and folded them into his new company, National Components Inc. which was later renamed NCI. NCI flourished under Zabcik and Schulte’s leadership and went public in 1991, with both of them on the board of directors. Zabcik was also active in MBMA during his career and served as its 1993 chair. He retired from NCI in 1993 but he remained on the NCI Board of Directors until 1998. During his final board appointment, Zabcik was crucial in NCI’s acquisition of Metal Building Components Inc., or MBCI.