Dr. Davis receives Honorary Life Membership Award

Dr. Edward L. Davis, executive director of DECA Inc., was bestowed DECA's highest honor, the Honorary Life Membership Award, in front of 17,000 members, advisors and corporate partners at the opening session of DECA's International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Ga., on May 4, 2014.

No one represents the notion of dedicating one’s life to the service of an organization better than Dr. Edward L. Davis. His DECA journey first began as a high school student-member at Albany High School in Georgia, where he directly credits his involvement with helping him graduate. At that time however, he could have never imagined that his ordinary DECA membership as a student would be the springboard for a career devoted to providing the DECA experience to more than five million students over the next 40 years.

In his first experience with DECA following his high school membership, Davis helped members attain career readiness skills by serving as a training station sponsor while managing a men’s clothing store for four years. For the next three years, he taught marketing education courses at Americus High School in Georgia, where he also started the school’s very first DECA chapter. Davis then attained his masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia, while at the same time chairing Georgia DECA’s campaign to raise money for a room at the newly opened DECA headquarters in Reston, Virginia. Davis then served as state advisor and program supervisor for West Virginia DECA, doubling the membership in just three years. Shortly after, Davis joined the DECA Inc. staff as associate executive director in 1982. After 10 years of service in that role, Davis accepted the executive director position in 1992 and has served as the organization’s chief officer ever since.

Always committed to advancing DECA and providing the very best experience to students and advisors, Davis has used his visionary leadership to develop teams, lead staff and motivate key stakeholders to advance DECA’s mission. As a result, the organization has achieved milestones in membership, partnerships, programs, services and finances. Through relentless chapter and membership development efforts, DECA’s annual membership has grown by more than 70,000 members, reaching the 200,000-membership milestone in the high school division this year. DECA has expanded its international presence, and participation in the now International Career Development Conference has grown from 2,500 to 17,000. During Davis’ tenure, DECA has secured more than $50 million dollars in sponsorship and partnership support that directly enhanced programs for students and advisors. In addition, Davis guided DECA’s strategic positioning for a prosperous future through a rebranding initiative that aligned DECA’s programs with current education models and expanded DECA’s programs to serve more classrooms and students. Davis encouraged the continuous revision and improvement of DECA’s programs and services while also ensuring DECA’s financially strong reputation.

The organization that members, advisors and partners have grown to know and love is a direct result of the legendary leadership of Dr. Davis. While numbers and percentages demonstrate the impact Dr. Davis has had on this organization, the true results of his leadership are in the hearts of the millions of individuals around the world whose lives have been forever changed by DECA. DECA applauds Dr. Davis’s dedication and visionary leadership and recognizes him with Honorary Life Membership.

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