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Trailblazing Alumni Chris McCauley April 24, 2024

Photo of Jami Davis, CFO of MW/Davis Dumas and Associates, Inc.Jami Davis serves as the chief financial officer for a mechanical engineering consultancy called MW/Davis Dumas and Associates, Inc., which might lead you to believe he studied either finance or engineering in college. But, when you dive deeper into his higher education story, you will quickly discover that he carved a different, more unique path.

“I’ve always enjoyed politics and writing,” said Davis, an alumnus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Communication Studies. “I was looking for something to use my creative side... I was drawn to public relations (PR).”

Although Davis was originally interested in studying engineering at UAB—he comes from a family of engineers and UAB alumni—he did not feel connected to the discipline. Thankfully, during his early days at UAB, he took an introductory communication studies course and got the chance to connect with John Wittig, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Department of Communications Studies who sadly passed away in 2022. That class presented a new opportunity for Davis, prompting him to pivot from engineering to PR.

“[Wittig] was teaching the intro to communications course, and I jumped in there and enjoyed the course and enjoyed meeting him,” said Davis. “Next thing you knew, Wittig had his hooks in me. We hit it off.”

As Davis moved through the program, he discovered that PR could be used in many different fields, setting the stage for him to explore multiple career opportunities after he graduated in 2000. From advertising to medical sales to engineering, he carried a valuable skillset with him across industries.

“My writing skills have helped me the most in my career,” said Davis. “Most of my writing skills come from more of a technical side but there is a little bit of a PR side [too].”

And he continues to use those skills at MW/Davis Dumas and Associates, Inc., right alongside his brother, Joe, and father, J. Sam (both of whom also work for the company and graduated from UAB).

“We are a UAB-centric family,” said Davis.

According to Davis, he’s not able to share a lot of information about his company’s projects with the public due to the “closed” nature of the work—instead, most of his writing skills are put to work helping develop proposals and packages that are sent to prospective clients. Davis says these deliverables emphasize putting the company’s best foot forward and differentiating them from their competitors. And, of course, he also oversees the finances of the company.

Even though he loves public relations, he often finds himself doing a lot of important work outside of the spotlight.

“I stay really behind the scenes,” said Davis. His father, on the other hand, has received public recognition for his professional accomplishments with the company. “My father was named one of the 35 Engineers Making a Difference in Birmingham in 2016—we were pretty proud of that.”

As he and his family members continue to grow their business and plan for the future, they also keep a close eye on their alma mater, which is just a few miles from their offices. For Davis, UAB’s growth is impossible to ignore.

“To see the growth of UAB has been really amazing,” said Davis. “When I was in school there, it was a lot smaller than it is now. We all knew the potential that was there when we were enrolled.”

Davis sees boundless opportunities for UAB, as well as for MW/Davis Dumas and Associates, Inc. Whether they’re spending time together at the office or eating a holiday meal, he and his brother are constantly strategizing about smart ways to grow their business—it’s a closeness that Davis has come to deeply appreciate and a bond that he embraces (even though he and his brother struggled to live together during college, says Davis with a smile). Alongside their career connection, they—along with their father—continue to celebrate their shared collegiate identity too.

“UAB has been a blessing to our family,” said Davis.

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