Iris Davis-Quick speaks about her experience working in a family-owned business and contributing to the legacy.
By Georgia Valles, Photo by Annie Ray
Iris Davis-Quick grew up in the design-build firm world. She is the third generation to work at Austin-based CG&S Design-Build company. As a majority family-owned business started by Davis-Quick’s grandparents in 1957, then sold to their children in the 1990s, CG&S has not once strayed from the familiarity of family. The business has kept its family ties for generations.
Continuing the family legacy and calling back on her younger self, who used to fill in during the summer, Davis-Quick is now the market manager for CG&S Design-Build and works under her mother, Dolores Guerrero-Davis. Davis-Quick now holds the beacon in the female-owned company.
“CG&S has always been a part of my life, since both my parents work here,” Davis-Quick says. “We as kids used to spend a lot of time at the office.”
She has vivid memories of spending time with her parents at the company, whether sitting with her mom in the office or working summers answering the office phones and doing administrative work. However, she didn’t grow up thinking this is where she would work.
Before working at CG&S, Davis-Quick worked in call centers for several major corporations, which provided her a stable income and scheduling freedom, but was not something she loved. She revealed that she “left that job in pursuit of something more fulfilling,” and CG&S happened to be looking for help. Their business manager at the time wanted to offload the marketing component of her job and enlisted Davis-Quick for help. After some training, the initially temporary job became full-time.
Joining CG&S in 2011 allowed Davis-Quick and her mother to team up creatively and professionally. “My mom and I have always been a duo,” she says. “Even in childhood I was her right-hand little lady.” So when it came to working together professionally, it came naturally to the pair.
Despite changes in leadership and ownership, the company has not lost its most important factors: family and quality service. “The care for your employees, the people you work for and the people you work with is just as important as the profit you make,” Davis-Quick says. The family has created a legacy in the design and construction business. As Guerrero-Davis revealed in her August 2022 profile, she is proud to keep the business in the hands of her family, as it is a challenging achievement.
“CG&S is my family’s legacy.” Davis-Quick expresses. “There aren’t many original Austin businesses left who have lasted throughout all the change. I’m so proud and honored to work here.”
Under her mother’s leadership, Davis-Quick has found new learning opportunities. The pair have worked countless hours together on the execution of different tasks within the company such as events and, as Davis-Quick describes, “anything [my mother]needs assistance with.” As their time together progresses into newly reinvented ideas and executions, Davis-Quick gains great inspiration from her in various ways.
“She sets a fantastic example of being a level-headed person,” Davis-Quick says. “Not only is she a great listener, but she also has the remarkable ability to take in the entire situation and articulate it clearly. Dolores serves as an excellent role model for leadership. The way she collaborates and works with others has always been in the form of a partnership. She creates a safe space where everyone feels comfortable approaching her for opinions, seeking advice or simply asking for help.”
Davis-Quick has been at the company for 12 years, but she still has so much she wants to accomplish. In her experience, CG&S is a great place for her to learn how to be a great leader, and with the help of previous generations, she is on the right path.
“The people here at CG&S have taught me valuable lessons about work ethic, leadership and responsibility. I’m thankful CG&S has a strong leadership team and so proud it’s led by my mother, a woman I look up to and aspire to be like.”