A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Schwend moved to Bath County from Houston, Texas in 1995 where he lived for 35 years. He received a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from the University of Houston and formed his own graphics design and exhibit production company in 1974. The Quest Corporation primarily served the homebuilding industry in producing custom sales environments. He served on the board of the Greater Houston Builders Association and as President of the Sales and Marketing Council of that organization during his career there. He sold the firm in 1995 and moved his family to a farm in Millboro, Virginia. He is a past president and former director of the Bath County Historical Society and the Millboro Ruritan Club.