Mark Davidson spent four years in the United States Marine Corps in the early ’80s, earning the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal for his service in Iraq while stationed on the USS Eisenhower. He also served two years as a vehicle commander with the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
After his years of active duty, Davidson returned to civilian life and nabbed an electronics and computer systems degree, while at the same time feeling called to a career in sales. Everyone starts somewhere, and for Davidson it was the high-pressure, high-rejection world of door-to-door sales. He knew he wanted something more, but every time an opportunity came into sight, the prerequisite of a four-year degree put him back in his place.
“I got a lot of doors slammed in my face,” Davidson says.
But he didn’t back down. Like most Marines, he opted to adapt, improvise and overcome. He took night courses at Concordia University of St. Paul and graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management and communications.
He was on to something. In the late ’90s, information technology was an ever expanding marketplace with high demand. At that time, most companies needed a website, customized applications and e-commerce capabilities to compete effectively. Davidson landed his first role as an account executive with an information technology consulting firm. The firm needed someone who could strike up a great conversation with anyone, make new clients feel like old friends, and help tailor just the right solution to everyone who was called on. Davidson was in his element.
Twenty years later, he’s bringing two decades of experience in sales and account management to Enterprise Minnesota, covering companies in southwest Minnesota. He says Enterprise Minnesota provided the perfect environment for his background.
Joining the company in the midst of the COVID economy provided instant challenges. Davidson says automation and lean manufacturing practices offer actionable solutions for businesses ready to grow but short on workforce.
“If you can’t get the people, can you consider automation? What applications could work for automation? Can you improve your process or apply some lean tools to your operations to help increase or maintain your production level? Those are the big things trending right now,” he says.
And there’s no business too small to receive Davidson’s attention. While many of his clients may employ between 30 to 100 people, he’s just as prepared for a team of 10 looking to make the next big leap. The prime candidates for his services are businesses that are already in the market but need an expert’s perspective to take things up a notch. For smaller companies or those looking to “dip their toes in” first, Davidson recommends “micro services” designed to work through larger processes one step at a time.
“It’s not an all-or-nothing kind of thing; it can go in a series of steps,” he says. “Smaller time requirement, smaller investment, but high impact.”
As an example, Davidson recounts one business owner who contacted Enterprise Minnesota recently, ready to throw in the towel. He says by connecting that client to the right training and an expert support team, a desperate situation became an opportunity. Hope replaced helplessness. As he has done for years, it’s a matter of taking the time to listen and understand, then provide meaningful solutions from a roster of talented professionals.
Every company’s needs are different, and Davidson’s approachable style has helped a growing list of manufacturers in southwest Minnesota work through their challenges. From lean practices or continuous improvement consulting and leadership development to even marketing strategy and revenue growth projects, he believes the Enterprise Minnesota portfolio brings value that can be life changing.
“The services that we provide are transformational, and they’re all interconnected,” Davidson explains.
And ultimately, it’s that capacity to help drive growth and transformation that keeps Davidson excited for every new challenge. His success story comes from his clients’ success stories.
“I like doing what I’m doing because I actually get to make an impact toward our customers’ growth,” he says.
Featured story in the Fall 2021 issue of Enterprise Minnesota magazine.