From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
We had a lovely chat with Erika Davis, CEO of Davis Management Group, a firm that has managed over 1,000 events, across 20 countries and in every US state. We had to find out what makes this international powerhouse tick!
AEDP: Tell us a little bit about your business to get us started.
Erika: We are a global event management and communications firm with a focus on the federal government. We work with entities such as USAID, the Department of Defense and the Department of State.
AEDP: That’s great! So, what countries do you currently have projects in?
Erika: Actually, right now we have an event taking place in Bulgaria. This is actually new for us in terms of it being in-person and a virtual hybrid event. The purpose of the event is to train law enforcement personnel in Bulgaria using U.S. based trainers. So, we have trainers that are located all around the world and we have the Bulgarian law enforcement personnel that are together at a hotel. We’ve partnered with an AV company and we have translators also working on the project with us. We will be using a government approved Zoom platform for this and we be going through the different training manuals that we put together for this. This will be out Beta for our next serval events, we will be using this model for the foreseeable future.
AEDP: How did you get into international work and all of these interesting projects?
Erika: I started my business back in 2009, only working with associations in this area. When the economy went south, I pivoted and started doing more federal work. I was at a networking event, looking for more business, and I met a woman who was looking for a certified event planner. I started doing some work with her, I got my 8A certification and then from there I got my first State Department contract. That was my first foray into international work, we were working with the Global Women’s Issues Office and it struck me that I had found my calling and the perfect fit. I knew that this was the new direction of my company.
AEDP: What is the biggest challenge with having all of these different events all around the world?
Erika: I would say the biggest challenge is finding local businesses within the country we are working in. We look for businesses that we have synergy with and that work similarly to us. When you are in another country, you cannot expect things to be the way they are in the U.S. but it is important for us to find local companies that have the same work ethic that we do.
AEDP: To finish up, can you share your favorite thing about Alexandria, and why you decided to locate here?
Erika: I love the small town feel and the close proximity to D.C., because my business is globally based, how close it is to the National Airport. I also love the walkability of it and being able to walk right over to Old Town. Alexandria is a very open-minded and unique place with a variety of housing. It once had a more mixed and diverse population, although that is changing a little, but overall Alexandria is a close knit and safe community.
To learn more about Davis Management Group, visit their website.