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2012 Women in Business Awards

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By Jennifer Thomas, staff writer for the Charlotte Business Journal06/25/12 -  

Pamela Davies was a presidential hopeful when she started work at Queens University of Charlotte.

Tapped to lead the McColl School of Business in 2000, she left a similar post at the much larger Drexel University in Philadelphia. She admits the decision left her with some professional anxiety. It turned out to be the best career choice she could have made. In July 2002, she replaced Billy Wireman as the school's president.

"It's been a wonderful life and a wonderful career choice," she says. "And I think we've made a difference in the lives of a lot of young people. What could be more rewarding than that?"

But her career path wasn't always focused on education. Davies studied business at the University of Florida. She earned an MBA at Missouri State University while working for a property-management company. It was there she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in business at the University of Tennessee and become a professor - the career path of her uncle.

She specializes in strategic planning, with an emphasis on competitive and marketing strategy. Davies credits her business acumen for her success at Queens.

"Frankly, being president of a university is very much about business," she says.

During a decade as president, she has transformed the university. Enrollment rose 42% to 2,491 in August from fall 2002. Queens has built much-needed facilities and added programs to expand the educational opportunities available to students.

It raised $110 million during its most recent capital campaign - despite the ravages of the recession.

The campus has about $75 million in construction projects under way, including the Rogers Science and Health Building, a 146,000-square-foot recreation center, five-story parking deck and a two-story residence hall.

But she's most proud of her family.

"As much as I love my work - and I do love my work and live my work - I would tell you unequivocally, however, my family is the most important thing in my life," she says.

Davies has been married to Bob Davies for seven years. She's the mother of a blended family of four - Ashley, Patrick, Rob and Wyeth - plus son-in-law Nick, whom she considers one of her own. Davies has three grandchildren.

She also finds time to remain involved with business and the community. Davies serves on the boards of two public companies: Matthews-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. and Sonoco Products Inc., and is also an executive-committee member for YMCA USA and the World Alliance of YMCAs.

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