Franklin Davis, Principal Consultant
BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE SUMMARY
To more fully know whom you may be considering doing business with, I think you should know a little about my skills and business experience, which are outlined below.
A more detailed view of my long history in business and in technology, which has formed and shaped me into the person I am today, is also included. My hope is that you will find in me, the trusted partner you are seeking to help you hone your vision for your business, and bring it to fruition. Thanks for your time and interest!
Skills & Experience
New Technology Research & Development-in-Progress:
- Proprietary Decision Management Systems
- AI/Machine Learning Systems
- Low-Code Mobile App Development Tools
- Agile/DevOps Project Management Systems
Software & Web Development:
- Interactive Remote Sensing Satellite Data Mapping
- Marine Fixed Asset Management Systems
- B2B & B2C eCommerce Applications
- Custom Software Development
- System & Application Architecture
- Application / UI / UX Design
- Data Architecture
- Software Development & Team Administration
- Franklin Davis & Co.
- Qwik-Order.com (Private-B2B)
- DX-Portals.com (Private-B2B)
Website, App & Microservices – Design & Development Tools:
- Dreamweaver – HTML/CSS/JS
- WordPress – CMS
- DNN – CMS
- VisualStudio / VisualStudio Team Services
- IBM WebSphere / HATS / Eclipse IDE / SOA
Microsoft Office Pro:
Microsoft Office 365:
- Exchange Server – Migration & Administration
- Office Online
- Social Engagement
- Microsoft Project
- Visual Studio
ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
- DMS DX+
- Network Architecture
- Windows (all versions)
- Windows Server
- Active Directory
- Exchange Server
- SQL Server
- On-Premise & Cloud, Administration & Support
- Web Servers – IIS, Apache, IBM
- Hardware & Device Specifications, Acquisition, Implementation, & Support
- Security – Bitdefender, McAfee, Norton, Others
Servers, Cloud & Networking:
- Windows Server / Hyper-V Virtual Machines (VM)
- Database – SQL Server, MySQL, DB2, Azure SQL
- Azure Cloud
- AzureAD (Active-Directory)
- DNS Server / DNSMadeEasy.com
Graphic Design & Marketing:
- Adobe Creative Suite:
- Acrobat DC
- Creative & Design:
- Corporate Branding, IP (Intellectual Property)
- Search Marketing – Google AdSense, Facebook
- Analytics – Microsoft Social Engagement, Google
- Marketing Automation
- Email Marketing – MailChimp
- Social Media Marketing
- Print Marketing – Direct Mail
- Events & Trade Shows
Sales & Business Development:
- ERP/POS Sales / Sales Management
- C-Suite Sales
- Microsoft PowerBI
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- GoldMine CRM
- Sugar CRM
- Salesforce CRM
- Corporate Executive (President, Vice-President)
- Corporate & Nonprofits Board Member
- Business Planning & Strategies
- Capital Acquisition – Angel & VC
- Wholesale Warehouse Management
- Retail Chain Store Management
- Sales Team Management
Industries & Markets:
- Business Technology
- Automotive Aftermarket Parts & Accessories
- Wholesale & Retail Hardgoods Distribution
- Northampton County High School – Conway, NC
- Fishburne Military School – Waynesboro, VA
- St. Christophers School – Richmond, VA
- Chowan University
Continuing Business Education:
- General Motors Institute – Distribution Management
- NC State / Wharton – Business Accounting
Continuing Professional Development & Self-Directed Study:
- Inbound & Content Marketing
- Search & Social Media Marketing
- Cloud Services – Azure, AWS, Google
- Decision-Making / Decision Support Systems / BPM / Models / Applications
- Software Development – DevOps / Agile / Scrum Protocols & Systems
- Graphic Design – Photoshop
- Web Design & Development – Dreamweaver, Creative Suite, WordPress – Divi, DNN, Bootstrap, Foundation
- App Design & Development – Visual Studio, Xamarin, Adobe XD
- IT – Microsoft (all technologies)
Business & Technology History
To more fully know whom you may be considering doing business with, I think you should know a little of my history in business and in technology, which has formed and shaped me into the person I am today. A brief overview of my business and technology journey follows, with each section marking a milestone, and each ending with takeaways, highlighting specific skills or qualities learned along the way.
FOUNDATIONAL LIFE & BUSINESS LESSONS:
I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, and I literally grew up in a small business! My father, and entrepreneurial role-model, Grady P. Davis, Sr., started an automotive parts and hardware business out of the back of my mother’s 1936 Chevy, selling parts and hardware to small, mostly rural stores, in northeastern North Carolina. In 1940, after many years of working very “hard and smart”, and saving every penny, they opened their first Wholesale Automotive Parts and Hardware store, Davis & Co., Inc. Over the course of the next 50 years, they grew it into a very successful chain of warehouses and stores across eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, earning the respect of customers and employees alike, as well as state and national recognition from their peers in the automotive parts industry.
“Frankie”, as I was known when growing up in the small farming community of Conway, North Carolina, made my business debut at age seven, by sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms after school and on Saturdays in dad’s store. Over the ensuing years, I learned about inventory control, purchasing, sales, marketing, delivery, accounting, and the hundred and one other skills every small businessperson has to learn. But more importantly, I learned how to do “good business“, by treating people honestly and fairly, and by keeping an eagle eye on the bottom line! (…my dad didn’t need a computer – he was a computer! I can still see him in my mind’s eye, with a short No. 2 pencil, checking every invoice and correcting prices. I would bet that he knew, in his head, the cost and selling price of 90% of the 10,000+ items he kept in inventory!)
Takeaway: I was very lucky that I had positive role-models in my parents, and in the surrounding community. They taught me that business values should be no different than the values I learned in church each Sunday, or those lived out in our tight-knit farming community every day. Hard work pays, but honesty, trustworthiness, and the good reputation that comes from those values, are paramount. (…and keeping a sharp pencil also helps!)
MY TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION BEGINS: – The Dawn of a New Era in Technology
After graduating high school, my formal business education began when I enrolled in the Business Administration program at Chowan College (now Chowan University). After leaving college, I continued my business education by returning to the family business. I eventually joined my entrepreneur brother, Grady (II), who was just out of the Army where he served as a tank commander in Germany, and who had recently founded a startup Wholesale Warehouse Distribution business, selling automotive and high-performance racing parts to “Jobbers” and other retailers. It was there, in 1970, that I encountered my first “computer”, which was used to track inventory via a “teletype” machine, connected by dial-up phone line to a shared Wang “mainframe” server in Norfolk, Virginia. (…the original “Cloud” app?)
During the 70’s and 80’s, I worked with my brother to expand beyond the wholesale warehousing business, by opening a chain of retail, self-service, auto parts stores across eastern North Carolina, called “Parts World”. These stores were revolutionary in their design, and among the first in the country to break the mold of the “traditional” auto parts business, by allowing customers to find and buy their parts in a “supermarket” type layout. Another major difference in these stores, was that prices were clearly marked on each item, rather than being priced by “countermen”, from long rows of multi-colored and multi-level, price sheets.
It was at this point that my technology education really began, as I learned how to use IBM’s “System 25” (their precursor to the “IBM PC” which was just on the horizon at that time), to manage the store’s point-of-sales and inventory. (…there were no hard disks then, and data was stored on 8″ floppy-disks!)
The PC Age Begins:
In August of 1981, IBM introduced the first commercially successful “PC”, which became the design that spawned the personal computer industry, selling over 10,000 units by Christmas! The first one we installed came with a super-powerful Intel 8088, 4.77 Mhz CPU, dual-floppies, and ran MS-DOS 1.0! 😉 This is when I began my real education and love affair with PCs, technology, and software development began, which I’m happy to say, continues to this day!
Takeaway: Although I didn’t know it at the time, these humble technologies marked the dawn of a new era in business and technology, the fruits of which have defined our “always connected” world of today.
(…take a walk through technology’s history from its earliest beginnings here!)
BECOMING A TECH ENTREPRENEUR: Part 1 – “Crossing the Chasm” (or not?)
In 1986, my tech education stepped up a notch, as I made my first foray into the software business on my own. I became a dealer for an automotive repair shop and service station management software package out of Los Angeles, California. It was also a “turn-key” system, sold with a humongous NEC desktop PC made in Germany that weighed about 90 pounds, and with the then amazing power of 256k of Ram, with double floppy-drives for programs and storage!
Alas, my first technology venture was short-lived, but it provided me with a valuable business lesson about taking a software product to a market that was not yet ready yet to be computerized! Years later I would read a very successful book by Geoffrey Moore, that explained this experience as, “Crossing the Chasm”. Even though I had failed to “Cross the Chasm” to business success, it was a valuable learning experience about listening to customers to learn their true needs, and not what I assumed they were, as well as learning how computers worked, and how software was developed and sold.
Takeaway: This experience taught me many foundational technology and life lessons, as well as the importance of perseverance. These lessons, hard as they were, have guided my technology career ever since, and instilled in me the value of listening and empathy in delivering products and services that customers need, when they need them, and not before!
TECHNOLOGY SALES & MARKETING: My Education Continues
In 1987, after a 15+ years career in retail and wholesale automotive parts distribution management, and a short foray into computer system sales, I joined my brother Grady, who had transitioned from his automotive parts business, by founding Distribution Management Systems, a Warehouse Management Systems software company, a year earlier.
As an IBM Business Partner for “Mid-Range” (System 36/AS400) VAR (Value-Added Reseller) systems, the “turn-key” systems included software and hardware for sales, inventory, purchasing, and accounting software, that he originally developed for his warehousing business. Starting as a salesman, I learned the ropes of this new industry, and I ultimately became a Sales Manager for the
Retail P.O.S. (Point-of-Sale) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems, responsible for sales to the automotive, marine, RV and other hard-goods warehouse distributors, across the U.S. and Internationally. I also expanded my creative and marketing skills by designing graphics, product literature and trade show booths for a new line of retail store management systems.
TAKEAWAY: It was during this period that I was first exposed to software engineers and programming, both for IBM mid-range systems, and PCs. I learned about designing user interfaces, databases, and local area networks (LANs), as well as packaging, delivering, installing, and providing customer support. Applications included POS/Point-of-Sale, Inventory, and Financials. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of these experiences were preparing me for my own entrepreneurial efforts in the technology businesses, which were yet to come.
BECOMING A TECH ENTREPRENEUR: Part 2 – “Hard Lessons”
In 1990, the entrepreneurial “tech-bug” really bit me, and I founded what became, an “Angel” and VC (venture-capital) backed startup in Software Design and Development. I lead the design, development and marketing of several unique and proprietary applications ranging from Satellite Remote Sensing Ocean Temperature Data Mapping, to Physical Asset Management Systems, as well as custom software development for customers including the State of North Carolina. This was pre-Internet, and our interactive satellite data was delivered to customers, multiple times a day, across the country and internationally, using what were then very expensive T-1 lines and banks of 1,200 baud, dial-up modems!
In 1994, after picking up my first book on the Internet at the campus bookstore at Harvard, I led my company’s transformation from Client-Server software development, to the Internet, by developing Windows and web-based apps, websites, and internet data delivery services. Then on Christmas Eve 1999, after a decade of successful and innovative development, long-hours and hard-work, we celebrated the “Christmas present”, of a seven-figure capital investment by a West-Coast Venture Capital Firm! Perseverance pays! This provided us with the means to expand the development of our applications, and the necessary capital to take them to market, however we couldn’t see what was around the corner.
On January 10th in 2000, AOL merged with Time Warner, and a couple of months later on March 10th in 2000, the NASDAQ market reached an all-time high, closing at 5,132.52. The tech industry was on fire! Then on March 23rd, the technology market crashed, in what was known as the “Dot-Com Bubble”. The result was losing the balance of the capital investment we were promised, which disappeared into thin air along with huge numbers of other technology businesses, that also relied on venture capital. Even though we were not a “pure Internet-play” like many of the hot startups at the time, the ensuing capital market “Dot-Bomb” explosion, resulted in the closure of our business, for reasons totally beyond our control, even as our products, which were 98%+ completed and on the way to market, died on the vine. It’s often said that “Timing is Everything“, and it is certainly true!
Takeaway: Now this is a story that many would not advertise in their resumes, but I include it because it is the one, life-changing experience, that taught me the most about business, technology, and most of all, about human nature. You might say that it was the most expensive business and technology education ever! But the hard lessons I learned, and the hardships I endured, have prepared me to help others make better business and technology decisions, by “Asking the Right Questions”. (Knowing the right questions to ask (aka-“wisdom”), is mostly learned through our failures, not our successes!)
BECOMING A TECH ENTREPRENEUR: Part 3 – “Sharing My Experience with Others”
In 2003, I began offering my broad experience and deep tech skills to businesses on a contract basis as a “Technology Consultant”. Since then, I have designed and developed numerous desktop and server software applications, as well as web applications and services ranging from e-commerce applications, B-2-B (Business-to-Business) web portals, web services applications, and corporate websites.
During my 30+ year technology tenure, I acquired various skills in IT Architecture, Management and Administration. This includes the design and administration of LAN and WAN Networks, Desktop, Server, and Web-based Productivity Applications, Databases, Windows Servers, and more recently, Virtual Machines (VMs), Cloud Services such as Office 365, and Mobile App Development. The skills I gained included significant experience in researching, evaluating, acquiring, and installing software and web applications, data management and migration, as well as training and supporting end-users.
I’ve also gained valuable experience in desktop and web-based software application development tools, languages, and IDEs, including the use of Agile software development methodologies and more recently, “DevOps” tools and processes.
Specific business technologies include; “CMS” systems (“Content Management Systems” including SharePoint, WordPress, DNN, etc.); Graphic & Web Design tools (Adobe Creative Cloud Suite); Social Media Marketing applications; Data Security; Business Intelligence; “CRM” (“Customer Relationship Management” systems including Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, and GoldMine); plus numerous other Microsoft products and services ranging from operating systems (Windows, Windows Server) to Office 365, Azure Cloud Services, and Cognitive Computing (A.I., Machine-Learning, etc.).
Takeaway: Over the past two decades, I’ve seen technology from a number of different perspectives; as a designer, developer, trainer, support technician, administrator, manager, and as an end-user. This perspective gives me a 360 degree view and understanding of business and technology issues that I can bring to bear to help small business owners make better day-to-day decisions.
THE BOTTOM-LINE TAKEAWAY:
My extensive business and technology experience summarized above, is augmented by an insatiable curiosity for learning, a highly creative nature, and a love for innovative thinking and rational decision-making. These qualities are guided by the core principles and beliefs that I learned early in life, which include; honesty, trustworthiness, respect for other’s opinions, the importance of having an open-mind, and living by the “Golden-Rule” of treating others like I would want to be treated.
My passion is helping small business owners and non-profits succeed by employing those qualities, plus my unique perspective and experience, to help them identify, acquire, integrate, deploy, and support, innovative new technologies, to help them become more productive, profitable, and competitive.
My hope is that this brief compilation of a lifetime’s work, will give you an idea of what I can bring to the table in the way of helping you reduce risk by avoiding many of the pitfalls inherent in business and technology, while at the same time, inspiring, motivating and collaborating with you and your team, toward realizing your potential and achieving ultimate business success!
A word about hiring “seasoned” technology veterans:
Although I’ve been in the technology business a long time, please don’t assume that my tech skills are old and stale. They’re not! I’m just as enthusiastic today about getting up early each morning in anticipation of what I’ll learn about new technologies, and how to apply them to help small businesses succeed, as I was when the IBM PC was on the bleeding edge of business technology! The primary difference between then and now is, having the maturity and experience to not let the excitement and hyperbole surrounding the next new shiny thing, cloud my judgement and rush me into making decisions I’d probably regret down the road.
A few gray hairs have their advantages! 😉 Let me put my experience to work for you!
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