Hello, NFIB! I’m Chris. Chris Davis. I’m your new Illinois State Director. I’m thrilled to be here, and excited to get to know many of you in the coming weeks, months, and years.
I come to NFIB with two decades of experience in Illinois government and politics. I began my career as a legislative analyst in the House of Representatives, including three years staffing the House Labor Committee, where I was responsible for working with Representatives, and groups like NFIB, on employment issues.
I began my lobbying career with Home Builders Association of Illinois (HBAI). Housing was rockin’. But, as we all know, hard times hit in 2008. I ultimately left HBAI in 2012. In that time, we successfully passed what is now the national model “Home Remodeling and Repair Act,” minimizing burdens on contractors, while protecting homeowners.
I then used my labor and employment experience with Central Illinois Builders (CIB), a chapter of Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). While at AGC, we successfully negotiated 17 collective bargaining agreements and managed relationships with trade unions. I also served as a trustee on seven different pension and health insurance trust funds, as well as the Legislative Board of the Illinois Construction Industry Committee (ICIC).
It was at CIB that I cemented my passion for associations and pursued my Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation, which I ultimately accomplished in January 2017.
I enjoyed labor relations, and my time with AGC, but I missed lobbying and government affairs. I guess I’m a little sick and demented that way. So, I joined Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois (IIA) as Vice President of Government Relations. After a brief two years with IIA, I was asked to be the Legislative Director at the Illinois Department of Labor, where I could again use my labor and employment experience in a legislative capacity.
Feeling a personal need for a change in my life, I left Springfield to move to St. Louis, where I served as Government Affairs Director of SITE Improvement Association, a small, local construction trade association focused on labor relations. SITE represented land development contractors primarily involved in concrete, asphalt pavement, heavy highway, sewer/utility, and landscape contracting. SITE played a significant leadership role in passing the first motor fuel user fee in Missouri in over 25 years, providing an essential $500 million investment in Missouri’s aging infrastructure that would benefit our members.
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to represent NFIB and echo the Voice of Small Business, and I was called home. I was born and raised in Springfield. My family is here. Outside of work, I’m an avid athlete. I grew up playing competitive soccer and have transitioned to running. I also play a little bit of golf (despite my high handicap).
I and am honored and humbled to succeed Mark Grant as Illinois State Director. Mark has served you honorably, and he has earned a relaxing and fulfilling retirement. I look forward to growing NFIB’s exemplary reputation and echoing YOUR voice, loud and long, in the halls of the Capitol, and throughout Illinois. I look forward to getting to know all of you, your businesses, and what you want and need from YOUR Association.
In the meantime, be well and do good!