davis knox athens ga fire & flavorDavis Knox is CEO of Fire & Flavor, a husband-and-wife-run company that develops all-natural flavor enhancement products, available through their website and at 15,000 retail stores across the country, including Whole Foods and Target. Fire & Flavor offers everything from spice rubs and condiments to charcoal and cedar grilling planks.

Peach State Tradition

Davis feels a strong connection to the culture and community of Georgia. His family has been in the state for generations; in fact, his great grandfather was governor of Georgia.

Davis met his wife, Gena, while studying business and marketing at UGA. After graduating, Gena became a landscape architect, and Davis worked as a marketer in the aviation industry. Somewhere along the way, the entrepreneur bug bit them both, and the couple jumped head-first into launching Fire & Flavor.

Gena is the cook and culinary inspiration for Fire & Flavor, and Davis is in charge of business operations. He’s responsible for growing the brand, and he and his team focus most closely on product development and sales. The couple and their company were originally based in Atlanta, but moved to Athens in pursuit of creative community. Since making Athens their permanent home, Davis and Gena have had a 5 year-old, a 3 year-old, and a 1 year-old, in to add to their two dogs.

Gotta Serve Somebody

Davis considers himself a lifelong learner, and is always looking for new and better ways to sell the unique value proposition of Fire & Flavor. To him, selling is very closely related to networking, and his training in the discipline started early. Both he and his wife were brought up to listen carefully, but also to speak their minds and challenge others in a respectful manner.

Davis credits that upbringing with his talent for building strong rapport with people. He strives to listen to what potential customers and partners are telling him, respond accordingly, and maintain as much transparency as possible. Authenticity is key to his brand, so his honesty and willingness to delicately challenge conventions is critical to his success.

It’s important to stake your claim around a value proposition that you can get out there and communicate to the world. Bob Dylan wrote ‘Gotta Serve Somebody,’ and with everything we do, we’re serving our customers.

Social Animals

Getting to know people is key. Much of Davis’s networking revolves around industry trade shows, where there’s a focus on mingling and entertainment. To Davis, there’s no substitute to putting faces to names. Locally, Davis spends a lot of time involved in the community, both through local nonprofits, with tech incubator Four Athens, and through his work on the board at the Chamber of Commerce.

In particular, Davis is excited about the work he’s part of at Athens Tech. He’s on the Business Advisory board, which is developing a curriculum to match the work needs in Athens. At the Chamber, he’s working to help the organization deliver more value to small businesses, and to support programs designed to spark entrepreneurship.

We’re all social animals, and we need to get to know each other. When you network with a clear need, it’s hard to get to know someone. If you’re just enjoying yourself, you get more value.