Excitement at Sea - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Having begun his career in Detroit as a civil engineer who focused on plans for city infrastructure, Michael Davie now lives and works in Papenburg, Germany, where he oversees projects that stretch the imagination and wow the guests of Disney cruises.

Current position: Disney Imagineer (Principal Development Manager)

Organization: Walt Disney Imagineering

Education: Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering, Florida A&M University

Responsibilities: As an Imagineer (a cross between imagination and engineering), Davie is a project manager for developments associated with the Disney Cruise Line ships. He helps his team take their entertainment concepts from paper to reality in hopes of giving Disney vacationers an exciting cruise experience.

Special projects: Davie was a part of the team that thought up many of the design concepts, such as interactive games, animated wall art, and virtual portholes (to give inside staterooms a live view of the sky and sea), that were introduced throughout The Dream, Disney’s newest cruise ship that launched in January. He also oversaw the development, design, and implementation of Vibe, a trendy indoor/outdoor lounge exclusively for teens; the District, a collection of five sophisticated, adult-only clubs and bars on the ship; and two classic art deco inspired theaters, a 400-seat, state of the art 3-D movie theater and a 1,350-seat theater for live Disney shows at sea.

Skill set: Davie started his career as a civil engineer working for the Detroit Department of Transportation, but is far removed from planning bridges and roads at Disney. As an Imagineer, Davie wears an assortment of hats: designer, budgeter, scheduler, architect, and manager. “Be open-minded,” says Davie, who has enjoyed changing industries.

Professional strengths: Davie highly rates his communication skills. He regularly interfaces with a variety of vendors and suppliers from interior designers to architects, as they collaborate to build ships. “Listen and pay attention to others around you,” says Davie. “There is no substitute for experience and different perspectives.”

Most innovative project: Davie was part of the planning team that helped conceive the Disney Dream AquaDuck, the first water slide at sea. The water roller coaster runs in a 270-degree loop around the perimeter of the ship, sending riders 20 feet over the edge of the ship and giving them a panoramic view of the ocean.

Putting his advice into action: Accepting the position of Imagineer for the Disney Cruise Line meant moving his wife and two daughters to Germany, an opportunity he thought would enrich him personally and professionally. “I would recommend an international assignment to anyone,” says Davie. “From a business standpoint don’t look at it financially, but look at what it can do for your career. Understand what the financial package is so you understand what you are entitled to, what the expectations are of you, and how it fits into what you want.”

 

Join the Conversation

Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.


MORE ON BlackEnterprise.com