Doug Davis grew up in Nashville and spent a year in Germany as an exchange student. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1965 with a degree in civil engineering.
In 1966 he moved to Vallejo, Calif., to work on deep submersibles for the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. His team of project engineers designed Trieste III, the third generation of the bathyscape Trieste, which reached a record breaking depth of some seven miles in the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. His team also designed the Deep Submersible Rescue Vehicle, a submarine able to conduct rescue missions for sunken submarines. Davis was then selected to do structural engineering on a top secret Navy project.
In 1969 he moved to Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. where he opened a gourmet seafood restaurant which he sold in 1971. He then moved to Atlanta to work for Bankhead Enterprises, which at the time was the largest manufacturer of car haulers in the United States. While at Bankhead, he learned the railroad industry and in 1978 he founded Diversified Metal Fabricators (DMF).
Today DMF is the leading U.S. manufacturer and supplier of high-rail equipment used to build and maintain railroads. Davis continues to serve as DMF president but is semi-retired and divides his time between Atlanta and Florida. In Atlanta, Davis has supported the Susan G. Komen Foundation, several youth baseball teams, the Sheppard Center catastrophic care hospital and Junior Achievement of Atlanta.
Davis and his wife, Penny, have remained supportive of Vanderbilt. They endowed the Doug and Penny Davis Scholarship for engineering students, and they supported the engineering building fund. He is a longtime member of the Lewis Society.
The Davis’ have a daughter, two stepsons from her previous marriage, and five grandchildren.