Ocean business advantage

Brady Davis '17 promotes marine-based businesses

MBS alumnus Brady Davis ’17 is using his business education to help advance the ocean economy.

He is activity coordinator at New England Ocean Cluster (NEOC), a Portland, Maine-based business incubator and hub for companies that draw on the ocean as a resource for their products, services and ideas.

NEOC aims to foster collaborative relationships among marine-related businesses and entrepreneurs throughout New England as a way to grow environmentally and economically sustainable ideas and technologies, generate new spinoffs and explore new opportunities.

“I am working at a company where environmental, social and economic considerations are in harmony,” Davis says.

At NEOC a team of 10 employees — all business professionals — provides consulting services, business support and networking opportunities to ocean farmers, fishers and seafood processors as well as science and research organizations and academic institutions.

Davis, who is responsible for account management, event coordination and strategic growth support, among other things, says his days fly by.

“Because NEOC itself is very much a start-up venture, my duties revolve around a host of tasks associated with growing a small business,” he says. “I am experiencing what it is like to join a venture at the initial stages and be a part of its development from the ground up. Because we are small, I get to experience and gain perspective into nearly every business function.”

A Freeport, Maine native, Davis earned a degree in management from MBS and was a member of the Honors College. In his junior year he received an award from the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions for his work on the Honors College’s Sustainable Food Systems Research Collaborative Project, which was funded by the Mitchell Center. He met NEOC co-founder and president Patrick Arnold at a Mitchell Institute event and was offered an internship in June 2017. He was hired full time in September 2017.

Now he is enjoying the fast paced, spontaneous and creative environment inherent in the startup culture.

“Every day is different as we move forward with a number of diverse projects simultaneously, and the way forward is not always clear,” he says. “There is no syllabus or rubric to work from, so the immediate challenge for me was to adopt a mindset different from the one necessary in a highly structured and clear-cut academic environment.”

Davis says the topics he researched as an undergraduate mesh perfectly with his job at NEOC. MBS management Professor Stephanie Welcomer, his Honors College thesis advisor, introduced him to “cluster theory,” in which companies from the same industry locate together, enjoy economies of scale and commit to each other’s success. In MBS Associate Professor of Management Terry Porter’s business and sustainability classes he learned how companies are increasingly interested in paying attention to their social and environmental obligations and opportunities as well as their bottom line.

“Now I am learning how these very same ideas are approached and applied on the ground and in a dynamic business environment,” Davis says. n