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His plan all along was to start his own business, but first he needed to build experience as an engineer. He worked for Richburg-Rickett Consulting Engineers of Little Rock for several years, and as soon as he was licensed as a professional engineer, he started New Water Systems.
"I always had a real entrepreneurial drive," he said. "I mowed yards and did other things in school, working my way through college."
New Water Systems engineers wastewater treatment plants primarily for private customers, a business Davis describes as "niche."
His niche was in decentralized wastewater systems, which serve individual homes or neighborhoods. Davis said the market for them was emerging when he began.
"I was very interested in that from my time at college, and I basically thought there was an opportunity to turn that into a business here in Arkansas," he said.
Since its genesis in 2003, New Water Systems has grown from working only with decentralized systems to sales and services in any wastewater market from small homes all the way up to large municipal systems.
"We've also grown quite a bit in the area of operation and maintenance for wastewater treatment system owners," Davis said.
In starting a business from scratch, Davis said, "you learn how to ask people for work; then you learn how to ask people for money. That was something I was told early on, and it stuck with me."
Davis said he follows the financial commandments of motivational speaker Dave Ramsey. He also cited the advice of his father-in-law: "You cannot ask another man to do something you're not willing to do yourself."
In the wastewater industry, Davis said, that advice rings true every day.