HomeAbout Paul DavisAbout Paul Davis


Why Personal Information?

Dr. Carl Frost, the great Scanlon teacher and mentor, taught that everyone should be "descript."  He made up the word to be the opposite of nondescript.  He believed that everyone should be known, personally, professionally and organizationally and that it wasn't important who you know but who knows you.  That's why on this web site you can find out who I am, what I believe, and what I value.

Who I am and why I created EPIC-Organizations.com

I am an author, entrepreneur and Organizational Development Consultant. (I'm on the left in this picture). My consultancy specializes in creating Scanlon Plans, gainsharing, labor relations, lean systems, teambuilding and Servant Leadership.  I believe the Frost/Scanlon EPIC Principles and Processes are fundamental to creating truly great organizations.  I believe we need great organizations to help us solve the problems we face.  I created this website and I continue consulting to do what I can to help servant leaders discover and master the Scanlon body of knowledge so they can create EPIC-Organizations.  I have managed to reach the point in life that I no longer need to have my "meter" running to make a living.  I work with serious clients-those willing to devote the time and energy to create great organizations.  I do pro-bono work for the right nonprofit leaders who want to create change but who lack the resources to pay typical consulting fees.

You can download articles I have written and see the Scanlon related books I have edited at the end of this bio.

Family and Businesses

My family is very important to me. My wife Bonnie and I have been married for over thirty years. Bonnie taught English as a Second Language and is a poet. We have two sons, Douglas and Matthew. Doug is doing Teach for America as a Science Teacher.  Prior to that he was Executive Director of Biketown USA in Steamboat Colorado. He is a videographer and photographer. To learn more about Doug visit www.dougdavisphoto.com. You can see his latest video here...

Matthew is pursuing his PhD in Paleontology at Yale.

Bonnie and I retired from our full time jobs in 2008 to be able to spend more time travelling, writing, managing our rental businesses www.sunfunbeachcondo.com www.vactiontheboat.com and taking care of our elderly parents.

Scanlon SScanlon Connection

I have been extremely fortunate to have many fortuitous encounters and mentors in my life.Dr. Carl Frost helped me to understand the EPIC Principles of the Scanlon Plan and his student and business partner, Dr. William Greenwood III helped me to understand the Scanlon Roadmap Process for creating individual and organizational development. I served as President of the Scanlon Leadership Network from 1993-2008. I became a believer in the dream of the steelworker Joe Scanlon "that together we can achieve the impossible."  I have seen the impossible done many times.

I worked with Scanlon Network members throughout North America—consulting, training, and developing Scanlon programs and services. I created the Scanlon 101 and Scanlon Leadership Programs, the E.P.I.C. Culture Inventory™ and the Scanlon Roadmap learning map. I assisted in the development of the Network’s Listening Program, the Lean Sim Machine™, and Hoshin Quick Start™. I have served as the chief consultant in the development of Scanlon Plans at ELGA and Watermark Credit Unions United Building Centers and Meier Inc.

Also in my role as President of the Scanlon Network I wrote many articles, books, white-papers and chapters on Leadership, Gainsharing, Scanlon and Innovation. My friend Larry Spears and I coedited the definitive anthology of Scanlon thought and practice Scanlon EPIC Leadership (2008). We also co-edited The Human Treatment of Human Beings: the writings of Scanlon Steward John Donnelly. Our most recent work is Fortuitous Encounters: Wisdom Stories for Learning and Growth which was published in 2013 by Paulist Press. 

My article “Leadership from Theory to Action” appeared in Leading-Edge Magazine. “The ABC’s of Gainsharing” appeared in Physician Compensation and The Employee Ownership Law Review. My article “Sustaining your Strategy/Hoshin Planning” appeared in the Association News. "Cooperaton or Conflict" in the Lansing Business Journal.  I coauthored with Dow Scott and Chuck Cockburn “Scanlon Principles and Processes: Building Excellence at Watermark Credit Union” which appeared in the World of Work Journal and Incentive Compensation.  Dow and I coauthored "Scanlon Gainsharing" a chapter in the fifth edition of the Compensation Handbook. I wrote a white-paper on Innovation which resulted in me being asked to speak at several conferences including the first innovation conference hosted by Queens College.

As President of the Network I was honored to work with many Scanlon Business Leaders and change agents. They all taught me how leaders should lead. People like Max DePree of Herman Miller, Dwaine Baumgartner of the Donnelly Corporation. Dr. Mitch Rabkin of Beth Israel Hospital-Boston, Rob Sligh of Sligh Furniture, Buzz Kersman of Lorin Industries, Keith Benson of National Manufacturing, Dick Levan of Westcast, John Chipman, Becky Fulgoni and Bill Main of Landscape Forms, Chuck Cockburn of Watermark, Myron Marsh of Thomson-Shore, Walter Cox of Xaloy, Ken Huck of Sears, Tim Tindall of Spring, John Bungert of S & L Plastics, Carl Brown of Nicholas Plastics, Bob Martel of Cerdec, Dr Charles Koenig of Limerick Veterinary Hospital, Richard Meier of Meier Tool and Engineering, Tom and Jack Haag of SGS Tool, PJ and Pat Thomson and Karen Spaulding of Trans-Matic. They all shared their time and expertise with me and showed me the wide variety of ways to practice the Frost/Scanlon EPIC Principles.

I was honored when the Scanlon Network gave me the Scanlon Stewardship Award. It is with deep respect for the Network and the Scanlon movement that I continue to use as my title Scanlon Steward and Advocate.

I became a frequent speaker on Leadership and Scanlon. I have been an invitational speaker for the European Foundation, the Academy of Management, the Conference Board, The Japanese External Trade Organization, the American Society for Training and Development, The Ecology of Work Conferences, The Greenleaf Center Conference and Dyad Development of South Africa.

GMIBefore the Scanlon Network-Lean and teamwork

Prior to joining the Scanlon Network I spent eight years working for GMI Engineering and Management Institute. GMI was the oldest corporate college in America and as part of General Motors restructuring that was going on in the 1980’s it became an independent college. (Today it is Kettering). I arrived at GMI in the midst of the divorce from GM and I served as Human Resource Director as we worked to build all the HR systems that were lost when GM no longer was performing the function. During those years we had to create a new compensation system, and negotiate labor agreements while transitioning from GM pay scales to those of a small college. We did it without strikes or stoppages even though we had to make huge changes in the way things were done. After the Human Resource function was stabilized I moved to a newly forming Continuing Education Department where I created the Management Development Program. GMI was a coop school where students went to school and were also sponsored by over 500 different corporations or divisions of GM. Our Continuing Education Department served these organizations.

Manufacturing was in a tailspin and automobile manufacturing was hit the worst. Japanese car companies were taking more and more of the big three’s market share. We discovered the teachings of W. Edwards Deming. We studied Teamwork. Our clients were demanding help in changing their cultures. I discovered three tools that made a major difference for my clients and in my life. The first was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It provided a framework for understanding differences. I would later be invited to take the MBTI to South Africa where we used it to help pave the way for the end of apartheid. I worked with Dr. Mary McCaulley and Bill Neale to design a game to teach the MBTI and the game is still sold by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type.   The second tool was the Level 1 Life Styles Inventory created by Dr. Clay Lafferty and sold through Human Synergistics.  It helped my clients see how their inappropriate thinking was getting in the way of effectiveness and it showed them what they needed to do to improve. The third tool was experiential teambuilding. Working with several of the pioneers in this field I learned how to speed up group dynamics to help develop teams.

I used all three tools to work with Buick City. This was a large manufacturing plant in Flint that had been intended to be a team-based plant. The UAW began to lose faith in the concept when they saw the management team constantly fighting each other. They threatened to pull out of the team process and I found myself as a young consultant being asked to turn the culture of the plant around in one day. Of course I could not do that but with the three tools in one day I was able to get the management team pointing in the same direction and willing to work together. Over the next year the team continued to bond and they were able to improve the quality of Buick to the point that Buick’s market share rose by 15%

As a result of my work with Buick I was asked to do the same type of work for AM General the maker of the famous Humvee.

This was also the time that Toyota began to manufacture in the United States in a plant in California that was called New United Motor Manufacturing. Inc. (NUMMI). I found the researcher who was hired by Toyota to study the plant and we began offering seminars in Flint. Today what we had discovered is called “lean” but when we were doing our work we only beginning to discover how Toyota made things. I also helped to lead a mission to Japan to study their methods. This was the beginning of my lifelong study of lean.  Lean as practiced by Toyota is a human development system.  Lean as practiced by many lean consultants today is simply a way to remove costs.  I subscribe to real lean and have found that the Scanlon EPIC Principles and real lean practices work well together.

KingCenterMartin Luther King Jr-Nonviolence and Social Change

I interned at Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change where I studied the civil rights movement and the history of nonviolence. I had the chance to share dinner with Mrs. Coretta Scott King in her home. I am still committed to change and the dream of Dr. King after all these years. My interest and work continues to search for better ways for us all to live on this precious little blue planet.


Books/Articles/White-Papers/Podcasts by Paul Davis


Radio interview of Paul Davis by Dan Mulhern, leadership author (husband of Michigan Governor).  Click on Listen now, it will take a few minutes for the interview to download.

Listen Now! Interview with Dan Mulhern

Listen Now! EPIC Interview, track 1

Listen Now! EPIC Interview, track 2

Listen Now! EPIC Interview, track 3

Articles to download

Leadership from Theory to Action


The ABC's of Gainsharing

Why Scanlon Matters

Cooperation or Conflict

Sustaining Strategy/Hoshin

Innovation White-Paper




Publication Date, January 2013

“Fortuitous Encounters is a simply terrific book. It is straightforward, imminently accessible, and filled with true stories of life lessons learned and shared. Paul Davis and Larry Spears have done a masterful job of assembling a compendium that, in its own say, stands with the best of wisdom literature. I advise a reading a night, almost like a daily devotional, an exercise made easy by a short paragraph at the end of each story entitled ‘For Reflection’.”

James A. Autry, author


The Servant Leader and Choosing Gratitude


We have all experienced fortuitous encounters those moments in our lives where a person, place or thing caused our lives to change in a more positive direction. In Fortuitous Encounters: Wisdom Stories for Learning and Growth (Paulist Press; January 2013; paperback, $10.95; ISBN 978-0809148059), editors Paul Davis and Larry C. Spears and other contributing authors focus on the meaning of fortuitous encounters in our lives through inspiring examples. This wise book serves as a great companion to help you stay awake to the fortuitous people, places and things that ultimately shape your days and your life direction.


 Our lives are full of what some have called serendipity. A favorite teacher inspires our choice of career, or a chance encounter develops into love, marriage, and a new family. At the time we are most in need of a friend, one appears. We discover a place and find meaning and peace. We read a book and an idea is planted in our brains that provides the wisdom we seek. For most of us, the fortuitous encounters of our lives are the parts that contain the most meaning.


The ability to experience and recognize fortuitous encounters is key to our learning and growth. The more fortuitous encounters that someone has, the better the odds that the person is successful and happy. While fortuitous encounters are by their very nature a product of chance beyond our ability to control, we strongly believe, as did Pasteur, that “chance favors only the prepared mind.” In this book, you will read first hand reports of fortuitous encounters of many kinds. These true stories can help you learn how to prepare yourself to experience your own fortuitous encounters for learning and growth.



Scanlon EPIC Leadership is the definitive anthology of Scanlon thought and practice.  It is the only Scanlon book that contains the historical materials and current articles by Scanlon authors, consultants and thought leaders.

The Scanlon Principles of Equity, Participation, Identity and Competence encompass an innovative process of total organizational development. Evolved from the work of Joe Scanlon during the Depression - when he pioneered the concepts of teamwork and profit sharing - the Principles transform an organization's culture from an "us vs. them" philosophy to one of partnerships committed to delivering results for all stakeholders. Scanlon EPIC Leadership is an anthology of Scanlon thought and practice. It contains classic articles by Joe Scanlon, Douglas McGregor, Fred Lesieur and Dr. Carl Frost, as well as contemporary articles written by current Scanlon thought leaders. The contributions of Scanlon thought to lean initiatives, six-sigma, corporate culture, open book management, gainsharing, integrity, servant leadership and employee involvement and engagement are detailed here.












Human treatment of human beingsJohn Donnelly was one of the pioneers in creating EPIC-Organizations.  For over 20 years the Donnelly Corporation was among the top 100 Best Place to work and was considered the most democratic organization in America.  John was studying for the priesthood when his father suffered a heart attack and he was asked to return to help run the family business.  Over the next decades John used the Donnelly Corporation as his laboratory for experimenting with various ways to make work more humane and organizations more effective.  Eventually the Donnelly Corporation was sold to the Magna Corporation and John's writings were headed to a landfill when a former secretary tipped us off and we were able to rescue them. 

In this book you will find some of the best writings and essays on the Scanlon Plan and Organizational Development from one of the sharpest business minds.


I also want to make the point that John Donnelly was doing servant leadership when servant leadership wasn’t cool. Predatory practices were the norm during most of John’s career. He chose to break with the norm and move tohigher ground. His courage and commitment are also part of his legacy. We will not solve the problems of global poverty, and environmental degradation unless and until we learn the art of servant leadership. Robert Doyl















Scanlon-the man and the Plan

scanlonplateLearn about Joseph N. Scanlon, the father of employee involvement, gainsharing, and labor-management cooperation.


EPIC Resources

Native RTL SupportLet us help you put the pieces together to create your own EPIC-Organization.  Here you will find research, articles, and books on Leadership, Scanlon Plans, and Gainsharing

Link to the Resources Pages

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