Mitchell R. Davis ’82
Alumnus' family legacy embraces Perkiomen’s future.
Legacy. Tradition. Family. Mitchell Davis ’82, CEO of Davis Enterprises, embodies each of these pillars of principle in both his work and philanthropic philosophy. When asked if there’s a “secret sauce” to the foundation of such a long-lasting family business nearing 60 years in age, he notes that it is quite simple and shares some advice: Treat everyone who works there like family. Focus on one job at a time and don’t overreach. At Davis Enterprises, Mitchell and his family embrace and support the communities where their business excels.
Mitchell, himself, always knew he wanted to be a part of this legacy. From the age of 12, he was digging ditches and shoveling snow. In this way, he quite literally started his career from the ground up. His grandfather, Harold, passed along the power of the secret sauce to his father, Roger, and now Mitchell works with two of his three sons.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that a company whose expertise is in commercial, industrial, and retail development would be interested in efforts like building houses for Habitat for Humanity, contributing to an accessible playground for all abilities with the Ronald McDonald House, or giving back to the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey with their camp’s nature center. It is rewarding giving back to something greater than oneself, but perhaps even more so when there is a visible evolution and tangible outcome one can witness benefiting others. Mitchell’s family tradition of giving back also includes supporting Meals on Wheels, local food pantries, and Perkiomen School!
In his own words, “There’s truly not a whole lot to say: Philanthropic contributions to the school are important!” Looking ahead to the new student center planned in Phase I of the Our Moment to Lead Campaign, “The school is taking a risk in building this new vision plan. The reward is going to be monumental when it’s completed.” To Mitchell, it is important that anyone who can contribute to Perkiomen’s future does so. “Perkiomen has survived for almost 150 years! There is a legacy there,” he reflects. Mitchell’s gifts are in the form of appreciated securities that will benefit the new student center.
A place with a diversity of modern amenities for an ever-changing student body, spaces to sit quietly and be with one’s own thoughts, and a gathering place to create lasting traditions, the student center strikes a positive note with Mitchell. At the heart of Davis Enterprises is his family and the employees who feel like family. At the center of the philanthropic endeavors of his family are people whose lives and day-to-day experiences will be enhanced by the results of his gifts. A student center where the interactions of faculty, staff, students, and families will have a profound influence on the hearts and minds of Perkiomen’s campus community seems fitting.
Over 50 years ago, Mitchell’s great-grandmother began a Thanksgiving tradition with only a handful of people. Over the years, this annual tradition grew to over 50 family members strong. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitchell’s family would gather at one of his hotels where they could fill the rooms, use the hotel’s kitchen, and spread out in the banquet rooms for eating, games, and performances. At these reunions, everyone has a role. From cheeseballs to turkey, skits and gymnastics, Mitchell’s family’s legacy has grown in both its personal and professional traditions and outreach. At Perkiomen School, we are so very lucky Mitch considers us family.
As part of Mitch’s legacy at Perkiomen School, the TV studio, located on the ground floor of the new student center, will be named in his honor. This space will allow students to produce an array of content that can be streamed live throughout the community in addition to being made available on the school’s YouTube channel for later viewing. The TV Studio will have glass walls, inviting those passing by to watch fellow community members “in the process”, inspiring and welcoming them to get involved – whether it is to jumpstart a career in communications or simply to explore a new interest.