Davis served three tours of duty in Vietnam, the maximum allowed in the Naval Advisory Group. There he earned a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism for saving two young Vietnamese girls from drowning near Danang. Following his military service, he completed an undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in botany/horticulture. His 25 years of experience in association management began when he joined the staff at the American Horticultural Society as a botanical editor. Over the next 11 years he progressed to the number two position as director of horticulture. He then moved to the American Horticultural Therapy Association where he spent the last eight of his 11-year stay as executive director.