Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Guest Blogger Kent Davis: "For What Are We Preparing?"

When asking for guest bloggers, I decided to reach beyond the academia world and into the business world. Since I happen to live with a business owner I asked him if he would share with the educational society what he sees as an important message from his standpoint. The following is the blog of Kent Davis entitled "For What Are We Preparing?"

I have been a business owner/manager for over 25 years, and I daily help organizations
implement technology successfully. One of the challenges is being able to find and hire
employees who understand, not only the technology, but it’s practical application in everyday

I remember when fax machines came into vogue. I talked to people about being able to send
documents across the country in a matter of minutes. I talked about how that would affect their
ability to get and use information more quickly than their competitors, cost saving of overnight
services, etc. They have now pretty much been replaced by email, but the argument holds true.
Those who figured out useful ways to implement that new technology took a step ahead. Those
who didn’t fell behind.

Technologies will change constantly. I have witnessed that. From a world where an electric
typewriter was cutting edge to a world where you can wear a computer on your wrist, it is how
we make use of the tech that differentiates us. The technologies we find so fascinating or
challenging or controversial today, will go the way of the typewriter and the fax machine.
What I, and many others, are looking for in an employee, are critical thinking skills. The ability
to evaluate a situation and use the tools available to influence it. Someone who mastered the
fax machine, does not have a marketable skill today. Someone who understands how to use all
available resources to convey information accurately, quickly, and effectively does.
I don’t have a punch list of how to prepare students. I am not sure that it should have changed
a lot. Just like my business. We do exactly the same thing we did over 50 years ago. We
help businesses implement current technology in ways that increase their effectiveness and
profitability. We have to not get sidetracked by the technology, but stay focused on how to utilize it to our advantage.

--Kent Davis is the wife of Julie Davis, the mother of Jessica and Kendall- his greatest assets. He is also the owner of ACT Business Machines, Inc., ACT Print Division, and Chattanooga's Julie Darling Donuts. He was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee with a brief stint living in Athens, Georgia while attending The University of Georgia to receive his degree in Business Management. He believes in the idea of local businesses and has been a part of one his whole life, as his father was the former president and owner of ACT Business Machines, Inc. as well. He enjoys mentoring small business owners to give back to his community and he also serves on the board of directors for Chattanooga Community Kitchen.