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DAA: Thomas A. Davis

Thomas Davis

Thomas A. Davis

Des Moines, IA | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2004

Tom Davis will forever remember the day a Floyds Knobs, Indiana, neighbor cornered his father and said, “Don, your boy has to go to college.” And not just any college, the neighbor, a cattle producer, added: Purdue University. “I was the oldest of nine children, and we were not wealthy by any means,” Davis recalls. “But my Dad had a great deal of respect for this friend and, from that moment on, the seed was planted.” Another strong voice was Davis’ Future Farmers of America (FFA) instructor, a Purdue graduate. The FFA experience also steered Davis toward his career path: agricultural communication and marketing. Decades later, Floyds Knobs voices still echo as Davis carries their messages to colleagues and collegians alike. Through involvement with the National Agri- Marketing Association (NAMA)— specifically the Association’s student programs—he enjoys opportunities to mentor and motivate future professionals. “I tell students to put their personal agendas aside and focus on the employer,” he says. Employers want to hear what you can do for them, and how you can be the solution to their challenges. “Sometimes, these same students wind up as my advertising clients,” Davis adds. “It’s fun to call on them, watch them in action, and reverse the tables.” The same words work magic with colleagues: “Put your agenda on the back burner,” he advises. “As long as you can solve a problem for someone else, you’ll be successful.” Along with words of wisdom, Davis also carries some slightly less lofty reminders of growing up in southern Indiana. “My friends and I hunted a lot of squirrels and quail with b-b-guns,” he says, “and sometimes we’d have b-b-gun ‘wars’ with each other. I still have the scrapes and nicks to prove it!”