The ‘his-story’ of DAVIS

Mike Davis celebrates 40 years in the profession of Architecture. What better way to celebrate than with family, friends and collegues that have been with him for so much of the journey.

Below is a chronological His-story of DAVIS.

1963-1977 The Early Years...

c. 1963  5-year-old Mike Davis decides he will be an Architect after seeing a set of blueprints for the first time. Throughout his childhood, his Great Aunt, Lois Torrey nurtures his aspirations with frequent visits to residential construction sites, architectural points of interest in Tucson, AZ and the College of Architecture at the University of Arizona. Mike’s Mother, Ann - an elementary school teacher who had wanted to be an architect – keeps young Mike fully stocked with pencils, rulers, construction paper and various ‘House Plan of the Month’ magazines while he draws house plans as a hobby and makes small towns out of the various building material toys available in the ‘60’s. He plays ‘The Architect’ in these imaginary environments.

1975  Mike’s Father, Reg introduces him to Irwin Pasternack, a 27-year-old Architect designing an apartment complex that Reg has an interest in.

Spring, 1976  Davis is admitted into the College of Architecture at the University of Arizona.

Autumn, 1976  During his first semester at U of A, 18-year-old Davis is hired for his first real world design commission. Boyhood friend, ‘Rabinowitz’ has persuaded his parents that he needs his own ’independent living environment’ on the family’s property. Said living environment must be a fully functioning ‘James Bond’ style ‘babe lair’. ‘Rabinowitz’ convinces his folks that Davis is the one to do the job. Davis spends most of his hard earned $300 fee on a coat for his girlfriend at Christmas.

Spring, 1977U of A Architecture Professor, Jim Larson posts Davis’ final project in the main gallery of the College of Architecture with 5 or 6 other ‘Grade A’ presentations. Upon closer inspection, Davis discovers to his chagrin that Professor Larson gave him a B+. Larson noted that Mike has spent about 3 days delineating his work when given 6 weeks for the assignment. He says he grades each person based on their individual capabilities - not on a bell curve. Great lesson about being one’s best!

1977-1981 The Pasternack Years – learning how to show up on time and work hard…

June 1, 1977  Davis begins a summer internship in Scottsdale, AZ with Irwin G. Pasternack, AIA. Early work includes Tilt-up Industrial buildings and Retail Centers.

August 1977  Due to extenuating financial circumstances, Davis asks Pasternack if he can work for the next year and postpone his return to the U of A. Pasternack reluctantly agrees, stressing that Davis must return to college to gain an appropriate education. Davis becomes Pasternack’s first employee at $2.00 per hour.

1978  ‘Rabinowitz’ purportedly ‘shags’ Davis’ girlfriend at the ‘babe lair’. Crestfallen Davis is eventually consoled by the fact that he must have some real design talent for that to have happened!

1980  Davis and his colleague Rick Butler share an apartment on Camelback Road. During this time, they take note of several exciting new office projects designed by Cornoyer+Hedrick Architects & Planners.

1981-1985 The Cornoyer+Hedrick Years – learning how to design real buildings…

September 1981  Davis joins Cornoyer+Hedrick as their 40th employee.

Summer, 1982  The severe ’82-’83 recession takes its toll on the firm. Davis and colleague Randy Todd toast another week of employment at UB’s Grill on Central Ave in Phoenix wagering which one of them will be laid off. Fortunately, both ‘survive’ and the firm begins several years of strong growth shortly thereafter.

1983  25-year-old Davis designs DMB Associates’ first project, 24th Place. He also designs the 310,000 sf Paradise Village Office Park III Office complex for Westcor. At the time, it is the largest office project Cornoyer+Hedrick has done.

October 3, 1983 (at about 8:37 a.m.)  Lisa Schnaitman, a recent graduate of Arizona State University College of Architecture/Interior Design School, having passed on an offer to work at American Continental joins Cornoyer+Hedrick as an Interior designer. She is seated next to Mike Davis. Davis, in an act of misplaced chivalry installs her Mayline parallel bar on her desk incorrectly. She considers him ‘obnoxious’.

1984  Davis becomes part of the design team with Bob Hedrick, Steve Bassett and Chris Wiseman for The Camelback Esplanade. Davis becomes a Registered Architect in October…having attended college for one year and apprenticing for seven years; and passing all requisite examinations administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for licensure.

Summer, 1985  The design of The Camelback Esplanade, Arizona’s first significant Mixed-Use development, is completed to a schematic design level. On June 8, Lisa and Mike marry.

1985-1991 The DeRevere Partnership Years – Learning how to run an Architecture and Interior Design practice…

October 1985  27-year-old Mike joins Newport Beach, California based DeRevere Partnership as its Director of Arizona Operations. Lisa continues at Cornoyer+Hedrick as a Senior Interior Designer working on a variety of corporate, medical and commercial office projects, as well as Troon Country Club, Gainey Ranch Golf Club and several other hospitality projects.

1985  Buck Yee joins Cornoyer+Hedrick.

October 1986  After one year at DeRevere Partnership and a particularly poor economic performance by Davis’ Arizona Office, he is ‘instructed’ by the Senior Operations Partner on how to amend the ‘wayward ratios’ and ensure better fiscal performance through the application of appropriate ratios and relationships between the market, direct labor, indirect labor and overhead. Consistent profitability ensues thereafter, particularly when Davis realizes he could actually be fired.

1986  Denise Nelke joins Cornoyer+Hedrick.

1987  Tom Zandler joins Davis at DeRevere Partnership and completes the firm’s first of many Multi-Family Residential projects, St. Croix Villas in downtown Phoenix.

Autumn, 1987DeRevere Partnership is commissioned by Westcor and Morton H. Fleischer (founder of Franchise Finance Corporation of America) to Masterplan the 287 Acre Perimeter Center in North Scottsdale, Arizona. Davis and Zandler also design the corporate headquarters for FFCA and The Fleischer Museum.

1988  Davis Masterplans Fiesta Center, a 1,800,000 sf Mixed-Use development at Alma School and Superstition Freeway for Southwest Properties.

1989  Lisa joins Mike at DeRevere Partnership and completes the Interior Design for FFCA and The Fleischer Museum. Upon completion, the project wins numerous national design awards. Lisa also designs facilities for Shearson Lehman, Newport Corporation, Alcon Surgical and The County of Santa Barbara. The projects range in size from 200,000 – 250,000 sf each.

1990  Mike becomes President of DeRevere Partnership. Doug Fredrikson joins Mike and Lisa at DeRevere Partnership from Cornoyer+Hedrick. The Davis’ split their time between Phoenix and Newport Beach. The company does numerous projects in California, Arizona and Nevada for developers such as Koll, Birtcher, Stearns, The Irvine Company, Santa Fe Pacific Reality (now Catellus), Lincor Properties, McDonnell Douglas, Westcor and Calmat Properties.

November, 1990  Dell DeRevere and Mike Davis visit Moscow University in the U.S.S.R. via an exchange program between the Architecture School at Moscow University and the Orange County California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

December 1990  The company is rocked by the Savings and Loan crisis and the extensive liquidation of enormous amounts of commercial real estate across the U.S.A. via the Resolution Trust Corporation. Most of the firm’s work goes on hold immediately, creating a 70% drop in revenues virtually overnight.

April 1991  Work completed on major renovation and addition to Phoenix Country Club designed by the ‘Davis Fredrikson and Davis’ team.

1991-1996 Davis Fredrikson Davis – Playing for keeps…

November 1, 1991  Mike acquires the Arizona interests of DeRevere Partnership from the company. He, Doug Fredrikson and Lisa then form Davis Fredrikson Davis. The company begins operations with a staff of 10 and a payroll of $10,000 every two weeks. Mike masterplans the large urban redevelopment project, Riverside Marketplace in Riverside, California for Birtcher and his client, Jonathon Vento. Doug designs a large ranch and exquisite residence in Sedona, Arizona. Lisa works on various corporate and commercial interiors projects in Arizona and California for clients such as Prudential Insurance, Merrill Lynch Hubbard, P.F. Chang’s and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

April 1, 1992Davis Fredrikson Davis wins a highly competitive four firm design competition commissioned by DMB Associates for their property at the Southwest corner of Camelback & 32nd Street.

Autumn, 1992  Lisa, Mike and colleague Paul MacDonald design a new residence for the Davis Family on a small infill property in Central Phoenix. It wins two AIA Awards, 3 other design awards, is published in various magazines and is on local television twice.

March 1993  Dan Ray-Burnett joins Davis Fredrikson Davis from Cornoyer+Hedrick.

1993 - 1994  The firm does golf clubhouses for Los Lagos in Hermosillo, Mexico, SunRidge Canyon Golf Club, Arizona Traditions, Tonto Verde, Sedona Golf Resort, Coyote Lakes, La Quinta and Grayhawk. It designs retail Power Centers for Opus Southwest at Mesa Fiesta and Arcadia Crossing.

March 1994  Mike Edwards joins Davis Fredrikson Davis as a Senior Designer after 6 years at Cornoyer+Hedrick.

1994Davis Fredrikson Davis designs Paradise Village Gateway for Westcor at the corner of Shea and Tatum. Westcor views it as their premier Community Shopping Center at the time.

1995  Davis and Ray-Burnett design an exquisite private mountain residence in Telluride, Colorado. It wins awards.

1996-2001 Davis Fredrikson Davis becomes DFD Architecture – early growth…

May 1996  Doug Fredrikson leaves Davis Fredrikson Davis to start his own practice. The corporation is renamed DFD Architecture.

1996DFD Architecture designs its first major project with RYAN Companies…a 50,000 sf Corporate Headquarters for American Equity Insurance.

1997DFD Architecture, working in conjunction with Forum Capital (Paul Barker) and SunAmerica (Doug Tymins) win the Finova Corporate Headquarters engagement at The Portales, located at Scottsdale Road and Chaparral. Mike Davis and Mike Edwards design the award-winning project as well as other major commissions for Desert Schools Federal Credit Union and 3131 East Camelback for DMB Associates and built by RYAN Companies.

1998  Ray-Burnett, MacDonald and Davis design another exquisite private mountain residence in Flagstaff, Arizona. It wins awards.

1998-1999  The firm does golf clubhouses for PGA West Greg Norman Course in La Quinta, California, Falcon Dunes at Luke AFB, Trilogy at Power Ranch and SouthShore Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada. It also designs several retail centers for Westcor including The Shops at Gainey Village, Chandler Gateway and Chandler Festival.

1999  Jonathon Vento (formerly with Birtcher) joins DFD Architecture and becomes its President. Mike Edwards leads the design of regional offices for American Family Insurance.

2000  Davis and Ray-Burnett design The Lodge at Wilderness Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska. It wins awards.

2001-2007 DFD Architecture acquires Cornoyer+Hedrick and becomes DFD CornoyerHedrick

October 1, 2001DFD Architecture acquires Cornoyer+Hedrick and renames the company DFD CornoyerHedrick. The company operates at The Camelback Esplanade.

2002DFD CornoyerHedrick adjusts to the large acquisition and the aftershock of 9/11. Mike Davis joins Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Vento leaves the company and returns to commercial real estate development. Amy Dooley joins the firm.

2002-2003  The firm designs The Duke at Rancho El Dorado golf club house and community centers for The Barn at Power Ranch and Province. It begins work on residential condominiums at Main Street Plaza in Old Town, Scottsdale, Arizona and 2211 East Camelback in the Biltmore area of Phoenix.

2003  Tim Sprague, a friend of Mike’s through YPO, becomes a Board Member of DFD CornoyerHedrick. Tim and his real estate development company, along with DFD CornoyerHedrick win the City of Phoenix RFP to develop Portland Place in downtown Phoenix. Rory Carder joins the firm.

2004  Firm revenues and staff size jump 60%. Richard Drinkwater joins the firm and designs Portland Place, Taser and Hayden Ferry II, all multiple design award-winners. Lisa and Mike create a separate entity for the firm’s Interior Design, Space Planning and Facilities Management services and name it DFDia.

2005  Robert Sarver hires DFD CornoyerHedrick to design the W Hotel and Condos at a height of 40 stories, adjacent to America West Arena. Davis and Ray-Burnett design a third exquisite private mountain residence, also in Flagstaff, Arizona.

2006  Mike Davis forms Urban Initiatives to promote meaningful dialogue among stakeholders engaged in urban design and redevelopment.

July 2006  Mike Edwards joins the City of Scottsdale Design Review Board.

2007  While designing numerous Office, Hotel, Retail and Multi-Family Residential Mixed-use projects at One Scottsdale, CityScape, Westgate and several other significant locations, the company reaches 150 staff members and $30,000,000 in annual revenues. DAVIS voted one of Phoenix’s Best Places to Work.

July 2007DFDia and Urban Initiatives move from The Camelback Esplanade into the 1st floor Hayden Ferry Lakeside II, Tempe, Arizona.

2007-2017 DFD CornoyerHedrick is now DAVIS…

November 2007DFD CornoyerHedrick moves from The Camelback Esplanade into the 2nd Floor of Hayden Ferry Lakeside II. DFD CornoyerHedrick is renamed, DAVIS. The company’s self-designed website under the leadership of Mike and Lisa, Kevin Korczyk, Allison Van Dyke and David Newcombe wins an Emmy Award.

2008  And then… the ‘Great Recession’ (Seems more like a DEPRESSION) hits. Comparing it with the RTC days of the early 1990’s is like comparing WWI to WWII… The firms consolidate on the first floor of HFL II. Mike and Lisa acquire a small commercial property at the corner of 2nd Street and Roosevelt in the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Three weeks after closing, on Halloween, the decrepit little building is torched. With only liability insurance, the arson investigation proves to be the shortest in history at about 15 seconds in length.

2009DAVIS, led by Mike Edwards, Buck Yee, Amy Dooley and Kelly Brown; designs the 460,000 sf confidential education project and Western International University campus at Broadway and I-10 for Metro Commercial Properties and USAA. Davis summits Mt. Kilimanjaro September 27 which is an amazing, life changing event! DAVIS designs the Austin Planetarium in Austin, Texas.

December 2009DAVIS is selected by UniSource Energy Systems to design with RYAN Companies, a new 280,000 sf Corporate Headquarters for the company in downtown Tucson, Arizona. Buck Yee, Amy Dooley and Mike Edwards lead the design efforts and the project receives Certificate of Occupancy just 100 weeks after DAVIS interviews for the project. It is the first BIM project that DAVIS does.

March 2011  Rory Carder is named Managing Principal of DAVIS. The company is now 15 people and $3,000,000 of annual revenue. DAVIS begins design work on the FOUND:RE Hotel for Tim Sprague et al. With a limited amount of work, Davis and his colleagues begin what turns out to be about a hundred different studies for what to do with the little lot at 2nd Street and Roosevelt. The studies range from shipping container eateries up to a 600’ tall high-rise condominium. The drawings are all very nice!

2011  Davis is engaged by Insight Labs to host a series of conversations on the unique nature of ‘place’. The Elements of Place™ is born. Using ‘the lot’ at the corner of 2nd Street and Roosevelt in the Roosevelt Row Arts District as a laboratory of sorts, Davis and Dorina Bustamante/Continental Shift collaborate on the community project, ‘WhatShouldGoHere?’ The 13,500 sf lot becomes a transformative part of Roosevelt Row and First Fridays. Daughter, Taylor Davis graduates Summa Cum Laude from the University of Notre Dame College of Architecture and begins work with Cordogan, Clark & Associates in Chicago, Illinois.

2012DAVIS begins working on behalf of its client, Wentworth Property Company and prepares concept studies for a 600,000 sf ‘top secret’ Fortune 40 company at a 50+ acre site in Papago Park Center. In August, Mike Davis and Amy Dooley along with the Wentworth team, travel to Central Illinois to present refined design concepts to what is now known to be a ‘Large Midwestern Insurance Company’. The presentation is well received by the Board.

February 2013  After an ‘11th Hour’ turn of events, Marina Heights is selected over Papago Park Center; and the development team of RYAN Companies and Sunbelt Holdings, in conjunction with ASU is awarded the contract to develop what becomes a 2,000,000 sf Regional Hub for the ‘Large Midwestern Insurance Company’. DAVIS is the Master Planner, Architect and Interior Designer for the entire project valued at over $1,000,000,000. It is the largest commercial project ever developed in Arizona and one of the largest projects constructed in the USA at the time.

2013DAVIS designs Portland on the Park for Sunbelt Holdings and Habitat Metro. It is the first downtown Phoenix condominium project to be developed in 6 years. Richard Drinkwater, Larry Boardman, Kristen Valente and Mike Krentz lead the design effort. DAVIS designs Enclave at Borgata, a luxury condominium project in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mike Edwards, Larry Boardman and Kristen Valente design the project.

2014  After becoming a registered architect at age 25, Taylor Davis joins DAVIS. She plays a significant role in the firm’s Revit/BIM documentation of Marina Heights. DAVIS opens a Chicago office at NBC Tower.

2015  Davis and Vento reconnect after the ‘Great Recession’ and begin formulating ideas for the urban redevelopment of a portion of the Roosevelt Row Arts District, centered around Davis’ lot at 2nd Street and Roosevelt.

2016'Life in Place' ®, a video about the thinking behind the work DAVIS does - and intended to convey the deeper meaning to developing successful projects beyond just a ‘bottom line’ mentality - is released. In addition to winning an ADDY Award, it is so ‘effective’ that some people wonder just what exactly DAVIS does…Yikes! DAVIS wins various design awards for early phases of Marina Heights. Portland on the Park and the FOUND:RE are completed.

November 2016DAVIS turns 25 years old. In its brief history, the company has designed 1/3 of all the Class ‘A’ business environments in Metropolitan Phoenix. Over 200,000 people work in DAVIS designed buildings with over 150,000 additional people visiting them daily. The firm has done $250,000,000 in revenue, gainfully employed hundreds of exceptional design professionals – launching several onward to successful practices of their own. And DAVIS has made 650 consecutive payrolls – Never late. Never short. Never missed...And not always easy…especially some of the smaller ones. Thank you, Lord - for your provision and for a great team of professionals!

2017Marina Heights completed. What began as yield studies by Mike Davis, Mike Edwards and Dan Ray-Burnett is ultimately manifested by the architectural team of Senior Designer Richard Drinkwater, Project Architect Buck Yee, Clay Friese, Jason Adams, Tod Miller, Tom Zandler and Taylor Davis; and the interior design team led by Amy Dooley, Holly Dezinski, Melanie Lucas, Rory Carder and Louis Burgdorf. Many awards follow. DAVIS is working on significant projects with Aerie Development, ASU, Catellus, Cousins, Furst Properties, Habitat Metro, Honor Health, JDM Partners, Lincoln Properties, MacDonald Development, RED Development, RYAN Companies, Sunbelt Holdings, Transwestern, True North Holdings and The Wolff Company.

June 1, 2017  Mike Davis celebrates 40 years of continuous employment in the architectural profession. He is just starting to learn something after 125,000 hours of work! Mike is very proud of the fact the he remains great friends with Irwin Pasternack, Bob Hedrick and Dell DeRevere to this day…and he misses the late Jeff Cornoyer. Above all, he is profoundly grateful to his Creator and his wife Lisa, his children Taylor, Landry and Jack (and now sons-in law, Nate and Chris) and his many clients, colleagues, friends, adversaries, supporters, detractors and loved ones!

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