From a troubled kid to entrepreneur and motivational speaker extraordinaire, Tiki Davis thrives despite all odds

Abu Mubarik February 16, 2023
Tiki Davis. Photo credit: cbs7

With the ambition to become an entrepreneur and a celebrated motivational speaker, Tiki Davis had to navigate through several challenges. As a kid, he experienced severe economic challenges and even spent several months in jail. Not only that, he also experienced his own mother’s prison death and survived a murder attempt on his life.

However, despite numerous setbacks, Davis did not allow his troubled upbringing and other challenges to define him. Once he got out of jail, he attended Odessa College and later enrolled at Sul Ross State University, where he studied mass communication and theatre.

He went to Sul Ross State University with the goal of going to the NFL and playing football. However, his past will come back to haunt him – his own football coach played judge and jury on him, he told CBS7.

“Football was what drew me to Sul Ross and basically kept me in school,” Davis told Sul Ross University. “I never went to college with the idea of completing a four-year education. My whole goal was to score touchdowns and maybe make it to the NFL.”

However, when he realized his chances of playing in the NFL were becoming not only slim but frustrating, he decided to focus on his education because that was his “future.” He graduated with a bachelor’s in 2003 and continued with his master’s degree in 2005.

After his masters, he returned to his native Odessa; where he worked for seven years as the only black quality control engineer for the oil and gas company, Clayton Williams Energy.  

“Armando Madrid, who was a petroleum engineer and Texas Tech graduate, got my foot in the door working for Mr. Williams,” said Davis. “Armando informed me that Clayton Williams Energy Incorporated (CWI) was in need of a quality control engineer.”

He later decided to become his own boss by venturing into entrepreneurship. His first move was to acquire Sam’s Bar-B-Que in Odessa, a traditionally black-owned establishment, which he upgraded into one of the most successful oilfield catering companies in the area. He also made a successful entry into the real estate market.

In addition to entrepreneurship, Davis is also a motivational speaker. These days, he identifies more as a motivational speaker than an entrepreneur. He travels across America and the world on speaking engagements and will soon publish his memoir.

“Giving up is easy, and it was expected, but it’s much harder to continue and to defy those expectations,” Davis said. “Had I given into the hopelessness and despair, I would have ended up like a lot of the people in my neighborhood.”

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: February 16, 2023


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