Brad Davis ’20, Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Brian B. Quick Plumbing in the Baltimore, Maryland area, has never been to the William Woods University campus.
“I was planning to come to my graduation at William Woods, but the pandemic got in the way,” said Davis, who received his Master of Business Administration from WWU. “There were restrictions on how many family members could come due to COVID, and having to choose from my large family was very difficult, so I was unable to come at all.”
Still, the Annapolis, Maryland native’s story perfectly encapsulates the quality and reach of the online degree programs at William Woods. Despite having no connection to the University before choosing The Woods for his graduate education, living nearly a thousand miles away from mid-Missouri and never even having set foot in the state of Missouri in his life, Davis opted for an WWU online education – which has been pivotal in his professional career.
“The online MBA program at William Woods introduced me to several of the business concepts that are used on a daily basis, and the fundamentals, to succeed,” said Davis. “For example, the program introduced me to the ideas of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of scientific management, which provided me with the baseline of what must be done every day to lead, and the ‘why’ behind it. This made me more powerful in my ability to motivate people, set up bonus plans and really impact my employees.”
By all accounts, Davis is succeeding wildly. When he purchased the Brian B. Quick Plumbing company in 2021, the company had two employees and $700,000 in sales. Today, the company has 23 employees and $4 million in sales.
A few years ago, Davis was in an executive-level leadership position for a company called Len The Plumber, managing more than 400 employees in seven locations on the East Coast. In conversations with the company’s CEO, it became clear that obtaining his MBA was going to be important in his desire to move up in his professional career. So despite working 80-hour weeks, he was able to find what he needed in the William Woods online MBA program.
“A couple of things were really important as I considered several schools,” Davis said. “I was looking for a school that had an accredited program, was reasonably priced, was online and convenient for me because of my hectic work schedule. William Woods fit the bill, so I applied and the rest is history.”
The convenience and flexibility afforded by William Woods while he put in long hours as a working professional certainly paid off. Applying the concepts he learned in his MBA program, Davis presided over his area of the company while it showed remarkable growth, going from $15 million in topline sales to $75 million.
“It also inspired a great deal of confidence in me, having that extra credential of having an MBA,” he continued. “Knowing that I had accomplished that gave me an extra boost, and really helped me to hold my own regardless of what audience I was speaking to, and made me confident in my knowledge.”
Having grown up in a family of fourth-generation master plumbers, Davis began his professional career as a financial advisor after receiving his undergraduate degree before “coming home” to the plumbing business. Working for Len The Plumber, one of the largest trade companies in the U.S., he started as a service manager overseeing 10 employees. Five years later, he was running the entire branch of the company, responsible for seven locations on the East Coast and 400 employees.
“You’re reliant on having the right people in place, so you spend a lot of time identifying the traits of people that you are looking for in order to espouse the right mentality and culture that you want in the company,” Davis said of leading other people. “You go from being the person who is hands-on and directing the show at a location, to learning and becoming effective through others. Without that ability, you can’t run seven locations stretched across several states while sitting in an office somewhere.”
Two years ago, Davis took his earnings from Len The Plumber through a private equity transaction to purchase a small company called Brian B. Quick Plumbing, a firm that provides plumbing and home improvement services in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area. Owned by his brother, the company had run its course and was on the brink of closing its doors.
“I told him that I had done well to that point financially, and wanted to get back to my roots of having some more of the frontline impact and use some of the things I had learned to build up another company,” said Davis. “I wanted the challenge of doing that at Brian B. Quick, and have been at it ever since.”
Under Davis, Brian B. Quick grew from a company of two employees and $700,000 in sales to 23 employees and $4 million in sales, an increase of a whopping 550 percent, in just the first year. A pretty amazing track record for a guy who was shaped by a university that he has never seen, except perhaps in photos. Which is fitting, because leading from afar has been a big part of Brad Davis’ professional life.
“Another way my William Woods MBA was so helpful to me was in those exercises around working and winning through others,” he said. “It was important to learn to provide leadership to those key folks and establish that you are the right person to follow while sitting sometimes eight states away, having their buy-in and asking them to follow in the direction that you want them to go.”
Clearly, Brad Davis has learned a thing or two about leading and succeeding along the way. With a little help from his far-way alma mater in Fulton, Missouri.