Donor profile: Dave Alexander, Distinguished Eagle Scout and Silver Buffalo recipient, believes in the power of Scouting

The world has changed since Dave Alexander earned the rank of Eagle Scout from Troop 113 in Long Beach, California, back in 1959.

One thing that hasn’t changed, Alexander says, is our country’s need for Scouting. That’s why Alexander, now 79, continues to give back to the organization that gave so much to him.

“The biggest thing is to Be Prepared,” Alexander says. “The motto Be Prepared is so good, not only for Scouts, but for every person in the world.”

Alexander says he’s used that motto to achieve almost everything in life in which he’s been successful: becoming a professional magician, competing in hundreds of triathlons, and running his company, Caljet of America, one of the most successful independent motor fuels terminals in the United States.

By giving back to Scouting America, Alexander, who now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, hopes he can help more young people access the same tools that helped him become so successful. He calls it “the Scouting way.”

“I don’t think being an Eagle Scout is as important as getting every person in the world to learn the life lessons that you get from being a First Class Scout,” he says. “If you happen to go on and earn the rank of Eagle, that’s great.

“But my goal would be for everyone in the world to learn all the life skills you get at the First Class level.”

The Caljet Way is the Scouting Way

Caljet of America, located just a few miles from the Phoenix airport, receives refined products and biofuels from refineries and producers and transfers them into storage tanks. Its clients then receive that product through sophisticated pipeline and injection systems so they can be transported to the end user.

Alexander founded the company in 1982 with a capacity of 138,000 barrels. Now, the company has the capacity to store more than 1.3 million barrels of product.

Alexander built the company from the ground up using the skills he learned as a Scout, starting with “a Scout is thrifty.”

“I borrowed $1,000 on my credit card,” he says. “We have no debt, and we’re a significantly sized company.”

Indeed, one of the first things you notice when you pull into the Caljet parking lot is a sign that reads, “The Caljet Way is the Scouting Way.”

“Dave leads Caljet by the values found in the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Scout motto as he models these tenets with his employees,” reads a plaque near Caljet’s front door. “Through his example, Dave wants you to know that when you travel The Caljet Way, he is encouraging you to make a personal, daily commitment to live the Scout Oath, Scout Law and Scout motto – powerful words that guide Scouts throughout America.”

The Caljet Way is more than a way of doing business. It’s also a real 4-mile road at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, a Scouting America national high-adventure base located near Beckley, West Virginia.

Fittingly, the road connects two areas at the Summit that were made possible by contributions from Alexander: Tridave Lake, the epicenter of many of SBR’s aquatics activities, and Dave Alexander Low Gear, SBR’s primary mountain biking area.

Dave Alexander stands with his statue and Scouts at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

A triathlete and a magician

If there’s anything Alexander loves as much as Scouting, it’s competing in triathlons. He’s completed nearly 300 of them, at one point doing 30 triathlons in 30 weeks. That’s why there’s a sculpture of Alexander riding a bicycle at the Summit.

It’s a remarkable piece of art, showing the athlete crouched over his bike, an expression of intense competition visible on his face.

Alexander has always been competitive.

When his Scoutmaster told him and his fellow Scouts that whoever earned the rank of Life Scout first would become the next senior patrol leader, Alexander’s eyes lit up.

“Ooooh, a challenge,” he says. “I’m always up for challenge.”

Needless to say, he won.

He was 14 when he earned the rank of Eagle. The story of the person who gave him a ride to the council’s recognition dinner is pretty remarkable itself.

He’s also passionate about magic. Just don’t suggest to him that he does “tricks.”

“Almost every man knows one card trick,” he says. “I don’t do tricks. I do magic.

“It’s a performance, and you have to be an actor playing the part of a magician.”

As a teen, Alexander made a nice amount of money performing magic in front of Hollywood crowds that grew larger each year.

“I’ve always been aggressive and passionate about everything I begin,” he says.

Alexander’s office is full of Scouting memorabilia.

Supporting women in Scouting

Alexander has long felt that it’s important that the young women in our country have the same opportunities as its young men.

That’s why he has supported the Arizona State University women’s triathlon program, and it’s why he’s been a longtime supporter of allowing young women into Scouting.

As a member of the National Executive Board, Alexander remembers the early days of those discussions.

“I was very passionate about it,” he says. “Why would you want to exclude more than 50% of all the youth of the world to not learn all of the tools and lessons that are available in Scouting? That would be so wrong.”

In 2019, Alexander received the BSA’s Silver Buffalo Award, Scouting’s top honor for adult volunteers. In addition to serving on the National Executive Board, he’s a Distinguished Eagle Scout, a National Eagle Scout Association member and has served on the President’s Leadership Council, the National Development Committee, and as a board member and executive committee member for the Grand Canyon Council.

He and his wife, Marilyn, have been married for more than 50 years. Contributing to Scouting might have started as Dave’s passion, but it appears that Marilyn has bought in as well.

“Marilyn is all in,” Dave says. “She loves Scouting, and she’s very supportive of what I have done — and what we are doing together.”

Alexander shares some words of wisdom with Phoenix-area Scouts.

Photos by Michael Roytek. Photo of Alexander at the Summit from the Scouting America files.

About Aaron Derr 468 Articles
Aaron Derr is the senior editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines, and also a former Cubmaster and Scouts BSA volunteer.