For Justin Davis, college was a path that others took, not him. Not when he dropped out of high school his junior year and held a series of odd jobs. Not when he got his GED so that truancy officers wouldn’t come knocking at his North Little Rock home where he lived with his mother.
But then a girlfriend convinced him college was a good idea and persuaded him to attend UALR with her. At that point Davis, who had spent four years gaining real-world work experience, decided to go to college.
“I had every job you could imagine between age 16 and 21 and ultimately decided I needed to go to college. I decided that either way I looked at it I was going to turn 25, I’d like to be 25 with a college degree.”
With the help of a raft of supporters ranging from alumni and local businesses to professors, Davis graduated from college with honors in 2010, nearly a decade after dropping out of high school.
He holds bachelor of science degree in construction management, a field he fell in love with almost immediately.
“I spent my first semester undeclared and by my second semester I knew I wanted to major in construction management. It’s a great career where you get the opportunity to travel, work with a lot of different types of people, and build things you can really be proud of.”
Davis was recruited by McCarthy Building Companies for an internship. McCarthy is large-scale national contractor specializing in civil, commercial, health-care and one-of-a-kind projects.
“It was during my time at UALR that McCarthy initially showed interest in me and invited me to my first of three summer internships before graduation. Flash forward to today and I am now responsible for that same recruiting.”
Davis credits his professors for giving him the tools to go out into the world and be successful.
“I spent three summers working with McCarthy, and two weeks into my final semester at UALR I had a full-time offer of employment and a job waiting for me when I graduated.
“My career has challenged me and built upon the foundation I received at UALR. I love my job, I believe in my company, and I could not imagine doing anything else with my life.”
Davis now works in the health-care business unit at McCarthy. The same girlfriend who talked Davis into UALR stayed his college sweetheart. The two are married and live in Texas.
Q&A with Justin
What was your favorite class? It’s probably a tie between Field Ops and Concrete Construction with John Woodard. You can’t do much in Construction without understanding bulldozers, dump trucks, and concrete placement.
How do you show your Trojan spirit? Most recently I have been spearheading a personal campaign to get a Trojan football program started at UALR. If UALR needs someone to build the stadium, I know a guy…
What is your favorite UALR memory? Graduation day, and having my family there to see it.
If you could spend one day anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? A nice beach in Jamaica would do just fine.
If you could talk to anyone, alive or dead, who would it be? Why? My mother’s father- he passed away before I was born so I never got to meet him. He was a builder too and a really amazing guy from what I’ve heard.
What is your hands-down favorite meal? My wife’s chicken spaghetti… that she lost the recipe for.
Complete this sentence: When I was a child, I was always … Riding my bike.
What one word would you use to describe yourself? Motivated