The Next Generation of You: Wendell Davis
And later, after coaching wide receivers for the San Francisco 49ers and at Columbia University in New York City, Chicago became home again.
“I fell in love with Chicago during my playing days, playing in Soldier Field, and really enjoying the fans here, how much of a sports town Chicago is,” Davis said. “On top of that, you have the inspiring architecture that’s here, the great food, and all the great events that go on in Chicago. And then after saying all of that, I met the love of my life, my wife, Trish, in the Chicago area. That’s kept me here.”
In 2017, being an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the NFLPA Former Players, led Davis to a non-football related career with National Material, a steel processing company.
“I was brought in by Jim Osborne, who played with the Bears for 13 years. I met him through the PA years ago and he became a mentor of mine,” Davis said. “He had been with National Material for over 20 years and was getting ready to retire. They asked him to find a replacement, and he reached out to me. The next thing you know, I was hired.
“We are one of the oldest minority-owned steel companies in North America. We used to be in the steel manufacturing business, but now we buy steel from steel manufacturers and we add value to it for our customers.
“(The pandemic affected the business) momentarily, but the ownership prepared well for it. We were able to not totally bounce back yet, but hit the ground running.”
Davis is National Material’s Manager of Minority Development.
“I wear a couple of hats,” Davis said. “One of my hats is, I am charged with increasing higher diversity within our supply chain. So I basically help develop minority-owned companies to come in and compete for business with our suppliers. And then the other hat that I wear is, I go out and do business development. I help our sales team.
“(I enjoy) making a difference, having an impact. Especially in minority communities. It’s just not something that you’re doing to help minorities spin, but it’s making that spin count in the community, have an impact, and creating jobs.”
Davis, who is President of Chicago’s NFLPA Former Players Chapter, is also trying to create jobs for perspective pro football players as the wide receivers coach for HUB Football, which provides a link between players and teams.
“I just got involved with that this year. There’s a professional combine that’s put on in San Diego that I’ve been a part of,” Davis said. “It’s for kids that have just come out of college, kids that don’t get invited to the (NFL) combine (in Indianapolis). This came up especially during COVID. When the (NFL) combine was cancelled, this kind of took the place of it. We try to get guys a little recognition, give them an opportunity. (Showcase them for) not just the NFL, but the CFL and the Arena Leagues.”
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