JB Davis, retired president and CEO of Klaussner Furniture, former RCC employee and long-time supporter of the College, was the recipient of the Randolph Community College Board of Trustees 2011 Distinguished Service Award, presented at the Board's annual meeting on July 14, 2011 on the Asheboro Campus.
Davis was in attendance to accept the award, along with his wife, Claire, and several family members including their sons, Jeff and Rad and his wife, Anita; and his sister and her husband, Dremia and David Meier. Trustee Emeritus N.C. Senator Jerry Tillman, a former recipient, and his wife, Marian, were also present for the ceremony.
JB Davis was an employee of Randolph Technical Institute from July 1, 1968, through January 31, 1970. As stated in a letter Randolph Technical Institute President Merton H. Branson wrote on JB’s behalf in 1969, he wrote that JB was originally employed at RTI to supervise Adult Basic Education but his interest, ability and performance caused the administration to elevate him to a more responsible position in July of 1969 which was counselor in the Student Personnel Division and later to director of student relations.
While at RTI, Davis suggested that the Institute start an athletic program to help keep students in school. In an Aug. 29, 1969, article entitled, “Sports Program Planned at Tech,” Davis said that initial funds for a sports program would have to come from student activity fees which were $5 per student per year and there were 220 full-time students at that time.
RTI’s first venture into athletics was with a baseball team in the spring of 1968 before Davis was hired, but after Davis left RTI to pursue employment with the furniture industry, RTI did establish a basketball team and the court was located where the Photography Studio is now.
By the way, RCC has pursued intramural sports the past couple of years to get the athletic idea going again (supported heavily this time by a member of the Board of Trustees, Fred Meredith).
Davis has a passion for whatever he is involved in. He has never forgotten from whence he came and he has been a loyal supporter of Randolph Technical Institute, Randolph Technical College, and Randolph Community College and the Randolph Community College Foundation. He was a Foundation Corporate Board member in the 1990s.
As head of all of Hans Klaussner’s North American operations, Davis was honored, in early 2000, by Hans Klaussner, officers & senior officials of Klaussner, and all the affiliated companies, by funding the construction of a lasting tribute to him.
The JB Davis Bell Clock Tower, erected in front of the Foundation Conference Center, was dedicated on Oct. 12, 2003, on the Randolph Community College Campus as the center of the entire complex, just like Davis has been the center of the furniture industry and our community for many years. Funds collected by Klaussner and its affiliates also provided landscaping around the Clock Tower as well as established the JB Davis Scholarship Fund through the RCC Foundation that provides a scholarship annually to an RCC Technical or Vocational Program student.
Davis was very instrumental in RCC being able to pursue, through the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, the purchase of the Klaussner Furniture Warehouse on Industrial Park Avenue that became RCC’s Continuing Education and Industrial Center.
When President Shackleford was asked for a quote for this presentation, he stated “JB’s commitment to Randolph Community College is indisputable and has left a lasting legacy. His friendship and support are a blessing we treasure.
"I'm a little bit overwhelmed," said Davis as he accepted the honor. "I love this school." He told how he and his sister, Dremia, used to spend time on the school property, before it was a school, exploring around the old gold mines and airport. He spoke of his "very gratifying" work with the basic skills students and the pleasure he took in going out and recruiting students for the College's early programs. "I have a great affinity for this place," he said.