Mark Davis Named A Horatio Alger Award Winner

The award recognizes successful leaders who have faced adversity.

Mark Davis, chairman of Davis Family Holdings, was selected as a 2016 Horatio Alger Award winner.
The award, given by the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, recognizes “leaders who have succeeded, despite facing adversity, and who are committed to both philanthropy and higher education.” Thirteen people were chosen for the award.
The association said that Davis grew up with a family of modest means that toiled at creameries in southern Minnesota. He eventually purchased his own businesses, merged them with his father’s creamery, and built up the business slowly over decades. It was the 1996 merger of his business with Jerome Cheese Company that launched Davisco Foods International, now a $1.2 billion business. In addition to Davisco, the Davis family owns countertop manufacturer Cambria, Cambria Mortgage, Davis Family Dairies and Sun Country Airlines.
Davis’s charitable work was also part of the reason he was recognized. He serves as a board member of the Minnesota State University Mankato Foundation (his alma mater is MSUM), provides time and resources to the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Minnesota FFA Foundation, and is a benefactor to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Minnesota Historical Society and Camp Cambria (for children with juvenile arthritis). Davis has also provided $5 million in scholarships to at-risk youth.
“The entrepreneurial spirit and determination that Mr. Davis displays are traits that all members of Horatio Alger Association possess,” association CEO Byron Trott said in a statement. “We recognize that those who demonstrate an unwavering will to succeed—despite facing seemingly insurmountable challenges—so often accomplish what seems to others to be impossible. Mr. Davis is living proof of this philosophy.”
TCB inducted Mark Davis into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 2006.