Born in 1963, Davison is a fourth-generation Pittsburgh business leader. In 1854, his family formed Davison Sand and Gravel, which grew over 125 years into Western Pennsylvania’s largest company of its type. With dredge, truck, and plant operations, Davison built roads and foundations under many steel mills.
On his mother’s side, McCreery Brothers designed, engineered and fabricated heating and cooling systems for some of the region’s most challenging structures, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.
In his early years, Davison attended Shadyside Academy and The Kiski School in Southwestern Pennsylvania. During that time, he discovered his love for creating new products and developed his entrepreneurial skills. While most children his age were buying treats, he was the one selling them to his classmates.
Despite two letters of nomination to the U.S. Naval Academy, from Congressman Lyle Williams and Congressman Don Bailey, Davison opted to stay local and attend the esteemed Allegheny College. He graduated in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in computer science. He also took a course in new product development at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
Carrying on his family’s entrepreneurial spirit, Davison spent two years after his college graduation developing a product to sanitize toothbrushes. Like most inventors, he was discouraged when a large corporation beat him to the market. That’s when he figured there must be a better way to design, develop and bring new products to market.
Davison realized that inventors, like corporations, needed a system; he determined that “reinventing inventing” offered a perfect blend of economics and creation. His solution was to come up with a new method to get ideas designed, developed and prepared for licensing in one place, and at a price point that made it affordable for all consumers. Now, Davison’s “Idea to Product Method” is the cornerstone of Davison.
To pursue this goal, in 1989, he started Davison in his grandfather’s home, one of the oldest houses in the Allegheny River community of Oakmont. Making prototype molds, working with customers and developing a process that helped the company grow resulted in multiple area operations. In 2001, Davison united under one roof at 595 Alpha Drive in RIDC Park, O’Hara Township. The 36,000-square-foot facility remains the headquarters of Davison’s national sales and licensing divisions.
In 2006, the design division moved next door into Inventionland, a fantastical design facility created by Davison to get his designers out of cubicles and into a stimulating, inspirational environment. Occupying more than 60,000 square feet, Inventionland is unlike any other workspace. New products come to life in 16 themed sets – toy designers’ ideas set sail on the deck of the pirate ship Discovery, electronics designers build electric gadgetry inside a giant robot and automotive-product designers let their minds race in the Motor Speedway.
Davison also has traded in his ordinary office in the neighboring building for an Inventionland office in the Treehouse, from which he can look out at the waterfalls of the Creation Cavern and the turrets of Inventalot Castle. He and his team often brainstorm on the deck, thinking up the products of the future. The secret entrance to Inventionland is hidden in Edison’s Lab, a room that highlights the evolution of the company and its product successes. The room also is a testament to Davison’s inspirational heroes, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney and Henry Ford.
In the fall of 2007, Davison received extraordinary recognition when Inventionland was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, The Remarkable… Revealed.
In 2008, Davison was labeled, “Creative Genius” by Entrepreneur Magazine. Inventionland was featured among “40 Amazing-Looking Design Offices” in the January/February 2008 issue of I.D. Magazine, which stated, “It may look like a theme park, but Davison International’s workspace is teeming with productivity.”
In 2009, Davison celebrated his 20th year in business. The anniversary marked an important milestone in the growing company’s history and saw the most new product and package designs hit retail shelves in one year. He also began plans to expand his vision to the entertainment industry.
Also in 2009, author Judy Wearing devoted an entire chapter to Davison in her book, Edison’s Concrete Piano. The revealing book details the successes and struggles of Davison and 15 other inventors, including Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell and Jerome Lemelson.
In April of 2010, Davison accepted a position to the board of I 2 E (Idea to Execution), which oversees the annual Innovation Competition sponsored by Suffolk University in Boston. Also in 2010, Davison’s Inventionland was featured in The Sun, the biggest-selling newspaper in the UK! The daily tabloid, which averages a circulation of nearly 3 million copies a day, described the incredible design facility as a “Fairytale-style HQ” and a “wonderful workplace.”
Starting off 2011, Davison-designed products were featured on ABC’s Good Morning America and in the upscale In the Company of Dogs catalog. Inventionland was featured in Luxury and Top Design magazine as one of the most creative workplaces in the world, and in May, won the inaugural CRIB (Creative Rooms In Business) Award at the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s third-annual Design, Art & Technology Awards, held to recognize the region’s best and brightest in creativity, innovation and technology. To close out the year, Davison’s Inventionland was featured on a one-hour HISTORY special.
In 2012, Davison made several appearances on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act, where he showcased client inventors and their products. He also welcomed the Fox Business Network to Inventionland and launched a YouTube webisode series called “Dare to Invent.”
The Small Business Community Association gave Davison the 2013 Best of Business Award for Pittsburgh. The same year, Davison opened a satellite office in Florida, various Davison-designed pet products appeared on the DIY Network and Davison was featured in Popular Mechanics’ “The World of Tomorrow” article.
In 2014, Davison celebrated 25 years in the invention industry with products in over 1,200 stores and online retailers. Davison was named a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow, he appeared as an expert guest judge on the Emmy-award winning Steve Harvey show and Inventionland became an international sensation when it appeared on hit Arabic TV show “Khawatir.”
2015 was a huge year for Davison products. There were multiple TV appearances that included NBC’s TODAY Show, Fox & Friends and QVC. The world’s leading video and ecommerce retailer continues to showcase Davison’s designs to this day.
In addition to all of his creative accomplishments, Davison also was a top professional paintball player. He helped to pioneer the sport, joined professional leagues that took him across the globe and ranked as a top player world-wide. His team even won the World Cup, European Cup and every other major cup event held in the world.
Davison also combined his passion for playing paintball with his passion for inventing. Recognizing a need for improved equipment, he designed and brought new paintball products to market that would continue to move the sport forward. Though he has since retired from his paintball career, Davison’s contributions continue to impact the sport.
Even Davison’s family emanates the inventive spirit. His wife and three children encourage his inventiveness, as does he with them. He is involved in his church’s youth ministry, his local high school’s activities and political fundraising events.
Today, Davison’s community outreach has expanded to the educational sphere, where he is encouraging the innovators of the future. In fact, he’s taken his proven inventing method and developed it into interactive coursework that prepares young innovators with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills necessary to develop their own new product ideas.
Needless to say, George Davison’s story continues to unfold.