Criswell Davis – The Legacy of Our Founding Director, Mentor, and Friend

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TFF stands as a testament to Criswell’s decades of leadership, guidance, and mentorship within the hardwoods, architectural, and design industries.

Criswell Davis, our founding director and longstanding President of Mighty Oaks Consulting in Louisville, Kentucky, and internationally recognized American hardwood expert, speaker, and hardwood specification consultant, passed away on October 3rd, 2022. The Timber & Forestry Foundation that serves the hardwoods industry today exists as the realization of Criswell’s passion of inspiring the use of sustainable American hardwoods in design.

Criswell’s deep professional knowledge and joy of bringing people together has left a profound impact on colleagues, clients, and friends around the country and the world, both inside and outside the fields of hardwoods and architecture/design.

Criswell was born in Bryn Mawr, PA in 1950. As a boy he spent several years at the Kimberton Farm School before attending Episcopal Academy, where he developed an early and lifelong affinity for wearing a suit and tie. Criswell earned a B.A. of Philosophy of Religion from the Colorado College. After a storied career in restaurant management and sales, Criswell worked for Paxton Lumber Company as a territory sales representative, and then for Frank Miller Lumber, as an architectural marketing consultant. Criswell left Frank Miller Lumber after 21 years with the company in order to better serve the entire industry.

In his late career, Criswell became one of the foremost experts in the world on the topic of sustainable hardwoods. He spent the last decade of his life championing the use of these and other natural materials in built environments to architects and designers across the globe, promoting the physical, psychological, and environmental benefits of biophilic design. One of his proudest professional accomplishments was the delivery of a TedX talk in Dayton, Ohio in October of 2019. Throughout the course of this career, he traveled the world to a degree many only dream of and had devoted friends on every continent.

Criswell helped create the Timber & Forestry Foundation because he believed the story of hardwoods in design was an important one to tell; that the industry needed a voice – an education platform that could effectively promote the sustainability of hardwoods. Criswell’s main focus was on architectural outreach: he believed – and so does TFF – that when you influence the design choices of architects to specify hardwoods in large-scale, high-traffic projects, that influences trickles down to the public. TFF carries on Criswell’s mission of inspiring the use of sustainable American hardwoods in design. Today, it is our privilege to continue the legacy of education and passion exemplified by Criswell.

Parts of this biography were excerpted from Criswell’s memorial website page biography, which was prepared by his family and can be found here: https://www.mykeeper.com/profile/CriswellDavis/