In Memoriam: D. Christopher Davis
World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) Board of Directors Chairman Jim Walters announced that D. Christopher Davis, the WFCA's President and Chief Executive Officer, passed away on the evening of Feb. 22.
“We are deeply saddened to announce the untimely passing of our friend, colleague and the esteemed leader of the World Floor Covering Association, D. Christopher Davis,” said Walters. “It goes without saying that Chris was an extraordinary businessman in every way – he took the WFCA and the industry to heights that we never imagined; he championed causes and concerns that we cared about; he orchestrated programs that helped us grow and become better leaders and business people; and he paved the way to future success in our industry. His shocking loss is a tragedy that we are all still coming to terms with. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his children and extended family."
A memorial service is planned and will be announced in the coming weeks.
Davis was responsible for the entire scope of operations for the WFCA, including overseeing legislative, educational and membership programs and developing strategic initiatives to represent the industry. Davis became CEO of Western Floor Covering Association in August 1994. He implemented the merger of that organization with the American Floorcovering Association (AFA) in January 1995 that led to the creation of the World Floor Covering Association.
Between 1995 and 2000, Davis oversaw all aspects of Surfaces, the premier tradeshow marketplace for floor covering and other surface materials and supplies, held annually in Las Vegas. During that period, Surfaces grew to be ranked one of the top 50 largest tradeshows in the world, according to Tradeshow Week. Davis negotiated the sale of Surfaces to Hanley-Wood Exhibitions in January 2000 for $40+ million while retaining WFCA sponsorship rights to the trade show for a minimum of 25 years.
Davis had over 30 years of executive level experience in association management, community promotion and destination marketing, including management of convention/trade show sales, promotion agencies, facilities and programs. He served as president and chief executive officer of the convention and visitors bureaus of Long Beach, CA (1988-93), Corpus Christi, TX (1987-88) and Oakland, CA (1981-87). Before working his way up through increasingly responsible positions in the Oakland bureau, he served as communications director for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce (1973-78), was an independent commercial photographer (1970-78) and worked for ABC News (1970).
Davis was involved in directing the strategic planning process and consulted extensively on multimillion-dollar convention center development/expansion projects in Oakland, Long Beach, Austin and Corpus Christi. Davis coordinated logistics and supervised location management for major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Super Bowl XIX (1985), the Major League Baseball All-Star Game (1987), the World Series (1972-73, 1975), the NBA Championship (1974) and American Bowling Congress (1992).
Davis was also president and CEO of WFCA Services, Inc., the for-profit, independent subsidiary of the World Floor Covering Association. WFCA Services, Inc. operates a captive insurance company presently offering worker’s compensation insurance in California. Davis held the role of president and CEO of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation (FCIF), the charitable organization dedicated to assisting members of the floor covering field that experience catastrophic illnesses or severe disabilities with which they cannot financially cope.
He was also chairman of the board of directors, Floor Covering Business-to-Business Association (fcB2B), which is responsible for managing and coordinating electronic commerce in the flooring industry. An honors graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Davis was named the “Outstanding Graduate in Journalism” by Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists.