For almost 20 years, Dannette K. Davis worked as a Project Manager and Director in Construction. But after years of working for someone, she knew there was a better way to do the work that had consumed her for almost two decades. So, she stepped out and started her own company.
Kay Davis Associates (KDA) was formed in 2000 to provide project and move management, while offering a quality furniture, fixture and equipment space planning service/sales group. With over 40 years combined experience, KDA’s staff offers services where the primary focus has become project development and management for FFE and Logistics’ Projects. This includes FFE specification, value engineering, purchase/sale oversight, and transition management if required.
“I wanted the technical expertise in the office, my associates have degrees in pure design, but some of the ladies are more artists. Even though they all have training they all have their strengths. It is important that the synergy is there,” said Davis.
That synergy is what helps Davis provide total client satisfaction.
“Space planning is more than a layout and furniture is more than chairs and tables, etc. It is interaction with your space,” she said. “It is colors and fabrics which provoke feeling and mood. It is calming and/or refreshing on purpose. Space planning affects your very ability to be effective in your everyday work and pleasure. The concept was to understand the need behind the request for furniture and to really listen to the client. Having worked as an owner in a Facilities Group, I know what it is like to have things misrepresented to me as a client.”
Achieving that satisfaction means Kay Davis Associates has to go above and beyond to get to know the client.
“Owners many not know what they really need, but they will know how they want to feel, (i.e. warm, relaxed, excited, etc.),” she said. “A client’s space, like clothes and other possessions, should represent and reflect personality or individuality. It should have a certain distinctiveness.”
Much of KDA’s work is with schools. The firm has extensive K-12 and Higher Education, Health and Public Experience, such as handling FFE space planning/design and furniture for the HISD, Garland ISD, and Aldine ISD Bond Program and the Power-Up Tech Lab Projects for over 40 high schools over the last three years with HISD. KDA has participated in previous Bond programs with HISD and Houston Community Colleges. At HCCS, Kay Davis was responsible for all Furniture specifications and design/installation as well as move management/inventory of fourteen (14) new/renovated facilities.
Through these projects, Kay Davis has always kept a relationship with K-12 Projects and the Evolving 21st Century Design Model in Education. Kay Davis holds HISD, Conroe ISD, Aldine ISD, Garland ISD, and Fort Bend ISD Contracts. Recent and current work has included the HISD Bond 2012 Campuses of Wisdom High School, Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy, Waltrip High School, Scarborough High School, Milby High School, and Furr High School. The projects included working closely with Architects and Providing Furniture Layouts, Space Planning, Furniture Specification and Purchase, Delivery and Install Coordination, and On Site Install , Oversite of Complete Classroom, Administrative, Learning Commons, and Cafeteria Furniture. Library Spaces, or the 21st Century Learning Commons, have become a Kay Davis Specialty and we are proud to have completed Library overhauls for Carnegie High School, Wheatley High School, Westside High School, and MC Williams High School, all in HISD. This Summer, KDA completed all primary classroom installations for the New Garland ISD CTE Center, including specialty areas such as Culinary, Fashion Design, Computer Programming and Maintenance, Veterinary, Business and Accounting, and Dental and EMT Classrooms. Kay Davis is currently working to provide all FFE, Planning, and Installation Management of the entire HISD Energy Institute High School, set to install Spring of 2018 and the Aldine ISD CTE High School, set to install summer 2018.
“I focus on schools a lot because I feel that education is important and how students appreciate their space will sometimes determine how successful they will be in the classroom. It certainly determines how long a student will remain in a library type environment. Schools want students in learning commons for as long as they can get them. You simply learn things by osmosis…just being there more is a goal of most Educational Programs,” she said.
Their expertise has also led to other major projects around Houston, including the Dynamo Stadium, the new Marriott Marquis Hotel and the Hobby Airport Expansion.
KDA has five interior design professionals on staff with heavy AutoCAD experience.
“We do niche work. I hired associates who can not only draw, but they can draw furniture, designing pieces beyond what someone can buy. That allows us to do unique projects,” she added. “I believe in just doing a good job, a better job than most. We just so happen to be a minority-owned firm but that has nothing to do with the quality of my work.”
Kay Davis holds a National Choice Partners Contract with Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) and has a line sheet approved with over 75 factories. Though her accomplishments are extensive, Davis said they are looking forward to continual growth.
“I want to become a Firm without boundaries as our Clients require our services, with Regional offices as necessary. We already offer Niche Product and Services designing and fabricating some of our own furniture. We call it KDA Kustom,” she said. “We’re expanding to Dallas and San Antonio. That expansion is very important to me. 2017 was a banner year and we’re on tap to double that in 2018.”