Coffee Chats - Chad Davis

Get to know Chad Davis, Deputy Director (Cloud Forest, Conservatory Operations)!

Chad Davis, Deputy Director (Cloud Forest, Conservatory Operations)

Day to day, Chad ensures that the plants and displays at Cloud Forest are always looking their best. Come Christmas time, he is also usually responsible for putting up the floral display in Flower Dome. At present, Chad is also one of the drivers of our new Smart Gardens initiative.

You were originally from Illinois in the US. How did you come to work at Gardens by the Bay?

I was working at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona for almost 10 years. It was there that I learned about Gardens by the Bay from an interview candidate. The Gardens sounded pretty exciting from his description, so I looked it up and was blown away by the scale and scope of the project. My wife Ada and I had been looking for an international experience for a while, so I decided to send in my resume and the rest, as they say, is history.

What is one memorable project you’ve been involved in at the Gardens?

That has to be the time I worked with our colleagues to plant up the Sun Pavilion. It was a fast-paced project where I was given the freedom to decide on almost everything, from soil type and drainage specifications, to sourcing and selecting plant material, to the final layout and placement of the plants and boulders. Even the big fans that help to circulate the air! That was a really memorable experience.

What’s the best part(s) of the job?

Watching the plants grow and learning about them are the most rewarding parts for me. There are so many interesting stories about how people have used plants in the course of history, and the roles that plants play in nature and in our everyday lives are simply amazing. There’s always so much more to learn! I’ve always preferred to work with my hands and to have something to show for that work, so it’s been rewarding to see the Gardens grow and evolve over time. It also gives me immense satisfaction to add a personal touch to the various parts of the Gardens that I’ve worked in.

If you spot Chad on his rounds at the Gardens, approach him for a chat – he’d be delighted to share a part of it with you!


Information for this article was adapted from Faces by the Bay by Ching Yi Aw, published in the Baywatch Magazine (January-February 2017).

Written by: Debbie Chen, Assistant Director (Education, Programming)

Debbie is an ardent reader who often finds herself nose-deep in a dystopian novel. She has been involved in education since graduating from university, and enjoys bringing information to people in an engaging way that helps them see things in a new light.

This article is part of our Coffee Chat series.