Black and White Program

Talking Shop with George Davison

May 9th, 2008 by John Eastman

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George, how old are you?
DAVISON: Forty-four.

And how old were you when you started your first business enterprise?
DAVISON: I was 11 years old. It was a candy business.

Selling candy.
DAVISON: Yes. Every day I’d leave my house, walk into our town and meet with the guy who owned a candy store. I’d buy candy from him in bulk and then get on the bus and take it to my school locker. The kids in that area didn’t have access to candy because they lived further out in the country. And so every day I’d arrive with my goods and I would stock my locker. My best product was Charms lollipops. I’d buy them for a nickel and sell them for a quarter.

That’s quite a mark up.
DAVISON: Yes, and it was a lot of fun. And that went on for a couple years until candy started showing up in areas of the school where they didn’t like it so they said “no, we can’t have you selling candy in the school.” But it was a great time for me in my life because I learned how to manage money. I learned how to manage an inventory. I wanted to turn my inventory and I learned what customers wanted and made sure that I gave it to them. I also learned to serve others the best to profit the most.

…when you are surrounded by creative and business influences at a young age, as I was, you are naturally formed into a person who feels very comfortable in those areas.

Tell me what influenced you as a child– something that resonated with you when you were growing up.
DAVISON: As far as creativity, the biggest influence would have been my Uncle Bob — that’s what I used to call him — who was a family friend. My mother and uncles all grew up with him. He was a scientific guy who experimented a lot and could build anything with his hands. He could tear engines down. He could build a deck, put a roof on a house, do plumbing — he was also my Boy Scout Den Master — and I learned so much from him. I learned, basically, if you think it, you can create it. He was constantly searching for knowledge, which taught me to try and try and if you fall, just get back up and try again. Over time, you can gain great knowledge because most people tire of getting back up all the time. Eventually, others stop getting back up and that’s called opportunity, as I would hear from the business mentors’ side when I was a child. So, I learned to make getting back up my strength.

George Davison interviewAs you found yourself in this business, did you see those influences as helpful? And do you continue to find it helpful?
DAVISON: Yes, because when you are surrounded by creative and business influences at a young age, as I was, you are naturally formed into a person who feels very comfortable in those areas. I mention this because I have found that those influences are not commonly found. Creative people prefer to spend their time doing creative activities because that’s where they feel good. And business people like the game of business. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to both at a very early age, so I am comfortable working with people who are creative and those people who are involved in the business area.

On a side note, I must mention the influence of my mother. I was about four years old when my dad left and my mom was wise enough to know how to turn that into a great opportunity for her son. She realized that I was going to grow up with no real male influence in the home, so through a family friend, she put me in touch with other businessmen in the area at a very young age. She found out that some of the businessmen used to have breakfast at a restaurant called the Red Raven back then; it’s now the Holiday Inn. And one of the guys there who had bought my grandfather’s business told her to “bring your kid over.” So every Sunday my mother would drop me off and I’d go in and have breakfast with them.

How old were you?
DAVISON: I was twelve or thirteen years old when it started. At the table were people who were vice presidents or presidents of major corporations in Pittsburgh. There were half a dozen and most of them self-made. So, basically, the rule was, “shut up and listen, kid.” So I did — I sat there on Sundays. And years later when I was in college, I would come back and I’d still go and see them and have breakfast with them, because it was better than any college education. Sometimes after breakfast, we’d get in the car and we’d go to their offices. Or, if they were building something — for example, one of the guys was building the largest dredge in the world — I actually went down and saw it after breakfast one day and learned what it meant to dream big. They were always building something. Those were the big influences in my life when I was younger.

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9 responses so far.

  • William Kaper - May 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I definitely agree with many of Mr. Davidson’s points and views on fostering creativity in the workforce. Many large companies boast about investing in creativity and R&D, but wind up hindering creativity with group think, strict business processes, and rigid timelines. As markets and the economy as a whole move towards globalization, fostering creativity and inventiveness will be crutial in identifying and responding to market trends and needs.

  • Dee Angela - May 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

    What a good inspiration this is with G. Davison. It seems that he understands the side of big business and that of the small businessman who is overwhelmed with government regs, taxes cash flow, no credit, and difficult suppliers always trying to out do you on something or another. Funny, you don’t think of the game of paintball as having anything to do business. You learn something new every day by talking to these type of people.
    It is also refreshing to read something positive about people once in awhile.
    Maybe Mr. Davison’s mentoring will reach others to start new businsees in the region and help the ecomomy.

  • rc willy - May 16, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    [...] Factory and Disneyland, this is the place where ideas are born. Wish my company thought like this..

  • Teri - May 22, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Paint Ball! How cool is that! Maybe more executives should take paint ball classes in order to know how to work well with their employees and actually be part of the team as opposed to just heading them. This guy seems to have it. It sounds like a great place to work. I know how hard it is to think up something and then actually follow through with a design and plans. Wondering what it is actually like to go through the process there and get your product to see the light of day?

    teri

  • Vivian Martin - Dec 19, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Mr. Davison is truly inspiring. I believe his struggle and his success. My problem is the people working for him doesn’t seem to share his enthusaism and values.

    I submitted an idea nearyly two years ago along with nearly $15,000. I signed a contract that stated his organization would produce a product sample, summary, and infomercial in an effort to help my idea get licensing. The end of December will be two years and I have not received the product sample, an accurate summary, nor did I receive an infomercial that described my idea and product to my satisfaction. Instead, I have been calling and calling, feeling swindled out of nearly $15,000, and embarassed for falling for what appears to be a scam.

    My representative name is Gary Yarber. We talked in detail about my idea. He was suppose to be working with the design team to ensure my idea is captured in the design phase accurately. I paid the amount of money necessary at each stage of the process. I received a virtual reality of my product. I questioned and stated, in writing, my concerns with the virtual reality and he assured me that my concerns would be addressed. This was repeated when I received my infomercial via email. Again, he was going to address my concerns. Months later, I received a summary that did not describe my idea/product. Again, I addressed my concerns with him. I am still waiting for the corrected summary. It’s been nearly six months, if not longer.

    I’ve tried several times contacting Gary’s supervisor as well as George Davison but to no avail. Instead, I get a call from Gary Yarber offering more promises to address my concerns. I’m assuming that Mr. Davison, himself, do not condone this type of customer service and like most CEO’s is not aware of how some of his customers are being treated by his staff.

    Tonight, via the application to submit your idea, I threatened to report the organization to the BBB and to turn this matter over to my attorneys to pursue a full refund of my money due to Davison Invention’s breach of contract. They did not produce any of the things they agreed to produce in the contract drawn between us.

    I am a woman of faith. I believe that God will take care of me and answers prayers. I stepped out on faith when I submitted my idea. Though I am disappointed with Davison Inventions, I still believe that somehow my idea will come to fruition, if not by Davison Invention, then by someone who holds the values, integrity, insight, and creativity that Mr. Davison speaks about.

    I have much respect for Mr. Davison. I just wonder what would be his thoughts regarding my situation if he was aware of it, assuming he isn’t aware of it.

    Thanks for allowing me to tell my story and experience with Davison Inventions. Feel free to comment and/or respond via the email address I listed above.

    Sincerely,

    Vivian Martin

  • JILL DAVIS - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    a real coincidence how similar my boyfriend john sounds exactly like mr davison, and john can build anything with his hands.

  • JILL DAVIS - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    i wish my boyfriend could invent something great like mr davison,they have very similar backrounds and my boyfriend love`s going to buy candy,and when he was five he went to buy his dad chocolate donut`s at the corner store. sincerely,jill

  • melvin tiemann - Jul 13, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I almost sign a contract with davison but hearing these storyies I will like the fish spit the hook out thak you all for saving me a big 15,000 dollar mistake with davision mel

  • cherry falls - Sep 9, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Thanks to vivian and melvin, i also will not be making the same mistake!!! Vivian, i prayed before i parted with any money, and you were the one i found giving the real experience of Davision. I hope and pray that you will get justice, and your idea go far.

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