When Mark Davis relocated from his native North Carolina to pursue a masterís degree in molecular biology at UW-Madison, he figured a science career was in his future.
After finishing his degree, Davis did some graduate and temporary work at UW before landing a position in 1990 at the U.S. Forest Products Lab here working on a bioremediation project.
The science job was interesting on its own but Davis slowly found himself drawn to issues around the workplace. He joined the Forest Service Council of the National Federation of Federal Employees and by 1998 was serving as chief steward of Local 276.
Davis got more heavily involved in union issues after the George W. Bush administration began rolling out an initiative to outsource the work of half of the nationís federal employees. Davis lobbied in Washington to slow the plan down and eventually helped secure legislation to kill a move to privatize U.S. Forest Service workers. It was the first in a long list of labor victories that Davis helped orchestrate at the federal level.