You might say that Charlie Davis is riding quite a wave with Findlay Automotive Group considering that he celebrated his 54th year with the company this month.
After more than a half of century soaking up the history of one of Nevada’s oldest independently owned businesses, the 77-year-old Davis probably knows as much company history as anyone.
Davis, the company’s courier, was 23 when he joined the company.
When Davis learned founder Pete Findlay needed someone to detail cars for Continental Import Motors at 1600 E. Fremont St., Davis walked all the way from downtown Las Vegas to get the job that paid about $95 a week.
Continental Motors would become known as Pete’s Used Cars before the group was awarded the Oldsmobile franchise on May 21, 1961. Since then, the company now run by Findlay’s son, Cliff, has become entrenched in both the car business and the community.
Davis, who has lived in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, came to Southern Nevada after being stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in September 1959. He said the Air Force taught him the discipline he has used during his Findlay Automotive career.
“I really like it here,” said Davis. “I just like the activity of Las Vegas. All my sisters and brothers live in Tennessee or Ohio, but the sidewalks and the stores all close up at about 8 at night and, in fact, some close earlier than that. On the weekends, they’re not even open.”
Davis joked four years ago that he wasn’t interested in trying for another 50 years, but he has no plans to retire soon. Besides, he said, Findlay Automotive Group has too many memories to leave behind.
“I could write a book about working for the Findlays,” he said. “Pete Findlay was like a father to me. He taught me to enjoy life and be happy. I took his advice and away I went. I treat everyone just like Pete did. Pete always helped other people and I wanted to be like him.
“Pete taught me to always carry a smile. I’m the same all the time.”
Cliff Findlay once said that Davis is both a big part of the company and part of the family. When Pete Findlay moved his family from Panaca to Las Vegas in early 1961, he called on Davis to spearhead the 180-mile journey down two-lane Highway 93.
“Cliff is a lot like his dad in that he is always helping people,” Davis said. “He has a big heart and he’s always checking on people. He goes out of his way to help as much as possible.”
Findlay Automotive Chief Financial Officer Tyler Corder said Davis represents longevity in the company, adding: “Half of the battle is just showing up and Charlie has now done that for more than 54 years.
“We use Charlie as an example of how people can make a career working with our company.”
Davis said he missed only about 10 days in the first 50 years before needing a little more time off when contracting gout in April.
“I had it for two weeks and that was the sickest I have been since going to work for Pete,” he said. “I don’t want to quit working because people who retire too early get sick and die.”
Davis and his wife of 35 years, Mercedes, have three adult children, Jennifer Cali, Lilliana Jessica Davis and Charles Patrick Davis, and one grandson, Isaac Matthew Davis.
Visit www.findlayauto.com for more information on Findlay Automotive.