Cory Davis of CTEH on Manning an 'ER' for Disaster

In addition to his role as senior vice president of operations, Cory Davis is principal consultant, partner and board member at CTEH.

He joined the company as an industrial hygienist in 2000 and has served as manager and vice president of its Toxicology Emergency Response Program, a 24/7/365 service that provides scientific consulting in the catastrophic release of hazardous materials. Davis has responded to hundreds of chemical releases and crisis events across North America. He is a member of the Clean Gulf planning committee, board member of the Spill Control Association of America and alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Harvard Business School.

CTEH is the largest environmental consulting firm in Arkansas, with more than 170 employees in 10 states.

What kind of disaster should we be prepared for and what should we do to get ready?

Far too often, we take the mentality of “This will never happen to us.” Then a man-made or natural disaster occurs, and we’re forced to deal with the results — damaged infrastructure, the loss of valuable assets or, even worse, serious injuries and casualties.

At CTEH, we provide comprehensive disaster readiness, response and recovery services to ensure our partners are equipped for any incident that may occur. In addition to developing disaster plans that are tailored to their workplaces or communities, we recommend all entities educate and train their employees or citizens on how to protect themselves during a crisis.

What are some of the most challenging responses you consult on?

At CTEH, we help people on their worst days. For more than 20 years, we have responded to some of the nation’s largest man-made and natural disasters, including complex chemical reactions, oil spills, hurricanes, wildfires, train derailments and more. Each response comes with unique challenges, but all require us to keep a level head. We’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be to deploy and manage the appropriate resources during the height of crises. So we’ve focused on building a strong logistics and operations team.

Regardless of the situation, our scientific and management experts are always ready to help. We are adept at using proven management systems to mitigate hazards, developing plans of action and immediately putting those into action to help safeguard workers, communities and the environment.

What’s the least understood aspect of your business?

We specialize in disaster preparedness, response and recovery, but we also provide environmental, risk assessment and health and safety services. Our information technology team has pioneered the use of real-time data collection tools during crisis events. Today, we offer innovative and user-friendly tools to help our partners before, during and after incidents occur — from asset tracking to construction management.

We think of our business as an emergency room with slow days and busy days. As long as we have a strong customer base, there will always be people who need our services — just like there will always be individuals who visit the ER.

What has been the biggest learning opportunity in your career?

For years, I played a role in nearly every job function in my chain of command. It took time, but I’ve learned how to better trust and enable my colleagues. By delegating duties, especially during the midst of a crisis, I was able to empower my managers and their team members to bring additional value to CTEH and its clients. Both in my career and in life, I’ve also had to focus on developing my patience — whether I’m tackling challenges at the office or helping parent my three daughters.