Dave Rich was born and raised in the Olney section of Philadelphia, where he attended Olney High School and graduated in 1964. He then attended Palmer School of Business in downtown Philadelphia. Upon graduation, Mr. Rich was hired by a railroad labor union, the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees. The union represents the employees who lay and maintain the tracks for all railroads in the United States. He worked in the Philadelphia office for twenty years and then became a field auditor for the union for another twenty years.
In his role with the company, he audited the financial records of each local lodge in the union and submitted yearly forms to the International Union as well as the U.S. Department of Labor regarding each lodge. Councilman Rich retired from the B.M.W.E. in 2006 after completing forty years of employment.