Profile: George Davis
After spending 30 years of his career working for Mississippi State's physical plant, George Davis said he grew up at the Cooley Building. Now Davis is widely considered one of the most dependable and knowledgeable behind-the-scenes experts in keeping campus rolling.
Davis, associate director of facilities management, oversees custodial services, the auto shop, building maintenance, carpentry construction, work management, locksmithing, faculty housing and heavy equipment on campus. Facilities on a 4,100 acre campus with more than 106 buildings maintained through education and general funds require 24/7 attention, but Davis said a large team of dedicated and skilled staff members get the job done.
Custodial staff members begin shifts at 4 a.m. to ensure offices and classrooms are tidy every day. Still other shifts work late, and the whole team pitches in for additional needs, such as during football weekends.
"These are things that just happen and nobody realizes who does it," Davis said. He explained that his department is responsible for everything from clean restrooms to grading gravel parking lots to sidewalk and parking lot construction. They routinely test every generator on campus to make sure the university is well prepared for unexpected situations that can impact campus operations.
Davis said he and his staff also are responsible for building maintenance of all kinds, including management of construction and renovation projects. "We maintain 21 miles of paved streets, 68 parking lots and 15 miles of sidewalks," Davis said. They also change approximately 13,000 light bulbs each year.
Davis said all of these duties are important because the facilities management services help students, faculty and staff have an environment that is conducive to working in support of MSU's mission. Something as simple as changing out lights also helps the university become more energy efficient, thereby saving money as well, he noted.
"It's not a glamorous job, but it's a job I've always enjoyed," Davis said. "Some days it seems like everyone calls for everything," he joked.
"It's never the same. Every day I come to work, it's something different, and I like that. I like fast-paced work, and I like working with a lot of people," he said. Davis added that for someone who dislikes heights, painting the MSU logo on the west side of Davis-Wade Stadium was one of his most memorable jobs.
At the end of the day — which is usually a good bit more than 8 hours for Davis — he enjoys a personal passion for woodworking. He built his first project at age 14 and hasn't stopped since. He recently built a house for himself and his wife of 27 years, Becki Davis. The couple is proud to have seen their first child, Kirby, graduate from MSU last year. Their second daughter, Morgan, is a sophomore at MSU now, and their son James is a junior in high school.Writer: Allison Matthews | Photo: Megan Bean
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