Dave Kovach is a technician for the Redlands Unified School District during the week and works in fossil preparation for the San Bernardino County Museum on weekends.
But it’s his passion for sharks and shark teeth that have garnered this unassuming man a lot of attention, especially his nickname: Shark Tooth Dave.
Kovach, 53, recently introduced himself at the Good Morning Beaumont breakfast presented by the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.
It is hard to go unnoticed when one has a name like that and Kovach stirred up some curiosity about his hobby, talking about sharks and how he developed his interest in the sea fish.
“Sharks were around before dinosaurs, about 400 million years,” Kovach said, during an interview at his Beaumont home. “They survived about five major extinction events.”
Kovach was born in Pomona and raised in Claremont, graduating from San Antonio High School.
His parents died when he was in his early 20s and he had health issues.
Kovach was susceptible to epileptic seizures and was unable to work.
He said he did not want to rely on Social Security and was able to go to trade school to learn computers through the Plan to Achieve Self Support program.
He attended Chaffey College and three IT trade schools.
Kovach also realized how much he loved earth sciences.
He started helping to run a dentistry program for disabled children and attended Special Olympics, where they set up a table and handed out flyers.
Kovach began talking about shark teeth, something he is an expert on and has an extensive collection.
Facts about sharks: They have five to 15 rows of teeth. They are smart.
They have the biggest brain, next to a whale. They have acute senses and can live on land.
The Greenland shark lives for 100 years.
They can live in rivers and oceans, especially the bull sharks.
There are more than 510 species of sharks.
Kovach, who lives in Beaumont with his wife Disa is passionate about sharks.
He has a room in their house which features paintings and artwork about sharks.
Kovach also has a shark shop inside a storage shed, where he cleans the bones from minerals and shark teeth and bones.
He also has shark teeth hanging inside the shop, along with orthoceras (straight horn).
Kovach said he loves to give away shark teeth and sometimes will sit in his front yard and hand them out.
He also recently presented fossil digs at Brew Rebellion in Banning and gave out shark teeth to children.
Kovach is inspired by the beauty all around us.
“We live in a magnificent world,” Kovach said.
Kovach also enjoys going on dinosaur hunts and his wife Disa accompanies him.
He has gone to Mexico and to Florida Peace River.
Quartzsite, Ariz. is a popular location for gems and minerals and so is Utah, Kovach said.
He also has a friend in Italy who provides him with shark teeth. Kovach said he either buys shark teeth or he collects them.
Kovach is considering opening up a museum and would like to look at locations in Beaumont when he is ready for that venture, possibly in five years.
Kovach just loves that he is doing something that makes people smile and brings them happiness.
“God put something in my heart,” Kovach said.
Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (951) 849-4586 x119.