As a Marine, Col. Don Davis has been all over the world.
“There are few places as beautiful as Colorado,” he said. “The opportunity to continue to serve my country and community in such a beautiful place was too good an opportunity not to pursue.”
In February, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners selected Davis, 49, to become the new county manager to replace Ralph Schell, who retired in March. Davis assumed the role on May 1.
Davis was born and raised in Dover, New Jersey. He possess two master’s degrees — one in public administration from Webster University, and another in strategic studies from Marine Corps University. He has a 27-year military career under his belt, during which he held various leadership roles. He was deployed overseas five times, and has been decorated with a Bronze Star, Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with three stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and others.
Davis moved to Colorado two years ago when he was assigned the role of Chief of Strategy and Campaign Plans for United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command based in Colorado Springs.
“Serving my country as part of “The Few, The Proud” is an honor,” Davis said, “but unfortunately, all Marines must retire at some point.”
Currently, Davis and his wife Becky reside in Golden with their two sons Jack, 16, and Luke, 14. The two also raised two daughters who both live in North Carolina — Kaitlyn, 25, a school teacher; and Mackenzie, 23, a medical student.
In his free time, Davis serves as a youth group leader at his church, and enjoys spending time outdoors to mountain bike, fish and hunt.
Davis describes Jefferson County as majestic, exceptional and promising for its landscape, broad array of talents, opportunities and potential to thrive. But it’s the people who make up the Jeffco community that he is most looking forward to working with and serving, he said.
“The men and women, and the challenges we will face together, will undoubtedly be a daily adventure,” Davis said.
What are you most looking forward to in your role as county manager?
The best assignments I had in the Marine Corps were those that involved leading and serving people. The highlight of my career was to lead and serve with thousands of America’s finest men and women. I’ve always been humbled to know that moms and dads entrusted us with their treasure. I will forever be grateful for that opportunity.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, `Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.’ So, my immediate priority (as county manager) is to get out and meet as many of our Jeffco team members as possible, along with our elected officials, citizens and business leaders throughout the county. The best ideas and answers will come from them. Working with our people and enabling their success, and setting an environment of trust, belief and empowerment of our people will unlock the full potential of our county.
In what ways do you think military experience will help you succeed with Jeffco?
I think military servicemen and women have much in common with our local patriots. Our local government is full of great Americans serving their country on a daily basis.
Marines are required to be “the most ready when the nation is least ready,” in accordance with the 82nd Congress. Local government is called upon, much in the same way, in service to our community.
If there were three words that could go on my tombstone to sum up my contribution to our country and community, I’d want them to be: Humble, Servant and Leader. That is what I strived to bring each day as a Marine, and what I will continue to strive for as the Jeffco county manager.
What are your main priorities as county manager?
One of my recent and most memorable assignments was base commander in Albany, Georgia. It was there that my desire to continue to serve at the local level was solidified.
Jeffco has a bright future and a fantastic team of employees. My desired end state for our team is to be an effective and efficient local government culture that communicates, engages, collaborates and operates in a multichannel environment to accomplish the county commissioners’ mission and goals, while reflecting their stated vision and values.
In the final analysis, I want Jeffco to be the county of choice to live, work, study and play.