“We Want You To Succeed In Business And In Life.” — Nelson Davis, Small Business Expert

Davis Nelson and Ronald Reagan
Davis Nelson and Ronald Reagan
Nelson Davis is President of The Making It Institute and Nelson Davis Productions both based in Los Angeles. He was born in Andalusia, Alabama and grew up in Niagara Falls, New York.  Nelson’s fascination with business began with stories of his Grandfather who owned a small general store in the racially segregated south before he was born. From a young age, Nelson felt that controlling your own destiny was based on having your own way to make a living. Before satisfying his entrepreneurial urge and becoming the sole owner of his own business, Mr. Davis was a partner in several small businesses. The first was a Submarine Sandwich shop, “Fat Albert’s”, which grew from one location to a chain of 14 stores. Another was Pioneer Aviation in Van Nuys California, which was a pilot training and aircraft maintenance facility. On his way to business ownership Nelson loved working in the media. Prior to becoming a programming executive for the NBC Network in 1980, Nelson honed his television skills with a variety of projects.  Freelancing as a host and producer in Los Angeles he worked on such diverse projects as a series for PBS, commercials for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, and a film in Africa. At NBC for 4 years, he moved from Broadcast Standards on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to Director of Daytime Programming for the network.
Emmy 2003 – Nelson Davis Productions
Nelson began Nelson Davis Television Productions in 1988 with the idea of bringing together special television programming with sponsors who wanted to reach a niche audience.  His first weekly series was, Making It! Minority Success Stories, a program focusing on the small business community.  His work has received over thirty awards and commendations from all levels of government and business organizations, including four Emmys as Best Public Affairs series. The company has also co-produced a quiz series, “Campus All Star Challenge” sponsored by American Honda.
Emmy Awards - Nelson Davis Productions
Emmy Awards – Nelson Davis Productions
In June of 2009, Nelson received IRS approval to launch The Making It! Institute for the Advancement of Business, a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation. Under the umbrella of The Institute, Nelson is developing programs that educate, inspire, and place a brighter public spotlight on small and minority business communities via special events and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The first of these is “Superstars of Small Business” which provides an opportunity for ambitious business owners to learn from the very best entrepreneurs.
Nelson Davis at a speaking engagement
Nelson Davis at a speaking engagement
Nelson frequently speaks on the subject of small business and entrepreneurial pursuits. His inspiring speeches have been delivered to audiences from Washington DC to San Francisco. They include The Edison Institute, Anheuser-Busch, University of Southern California, the Port of Long Beach and others. His favorite subject is “The Wisdom of 1000 Entrepreneurs.” Nelson is committed to combining his passion and knowledge of television and radio production using these media to communicate positive messages and promote economic empowerment. In addition to The Making IT! Institute, Nelson also presently serves on the following community organizations: The Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. He has served on the Board of Advisers for the National Association of Women Business Owners, The Board of Trustees for National University, and is a Member of Santa Monica College Associates.  Mr. Davis has also been active with Big Brothers.


  1. Gil Wright

    Nelson, Sorry we missed connecting at the celebrity fundraiser in Ottawa a few years back. So many of the old crew have gone to that big ghost studio since then. Stayed in touch with Bill and Maureen Kincaid over the years (both deceased now) along with Gary Page, Bill Baker, Jim Bristow and Dick Maloney but not many others from CKPM, CFRA, CKOY/CKBY. Lost track of you but heard so many good things about your career. As I near my 82nd birthday, I reflect back on our days with Orpheus, Jaycees and other memories of Ottawa in the 60s and 70s. Looked you up today and found this site. Hope you are well and receive this message. Take care, Gil
    PS – have been sober since 1987 … I was probably the last person to realize I had a problem. Life has been good since!)

  2. Francis Lobo

    It was so nice reading about you, Nelson. It’s been a long, long time, from the OLT telethon in 1972, best man at my wedding in 1974. We moved to Sarasota, Florida in 1998. The Ottawa cold was getting to me. Andrea who is 44 has being practicing medicine for the past 20 years in Toronto. She has a girl, Ava who will be six in December and Graydon, who turned three in July. Her hubby, Ken is a chiropractor. Christopher who turned 41 in March, not married yet, going out with a lovely girl for over two years. What he is waiting for? He also lived in Toronto and has been with the provincial government for the past 15 years. What a job, with so many perks and 5 weeks paid vacation.

    I am still “active” in RF (in the cellular) field. I will be 81 in October. Melanie has being working part time (2 days/week) at Costco, just to get out of the house. We will be heading to Toronto October 10th for 10 days (remember Canadian Thanksgiving second Monday in October)

    We would love to hear from you

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