After receiving his BSc in Earth Sciences (Geophysics) from Montana State University, Dr. Davis did his graduate work at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology where he earned his MS and PhD in Hydrology. His graduate research focused on the relationships between the frameworks geologists use to study sedimentary materials with geostatistical models of aquifer structures, relying on detailed studies of sedimentary materials observed in outcrops. In 1993, Dr. Davis joined the faculty at UNH and continued his research on aquifer heterogeneity and insights from geologic observations, funded with three grants from the National Science Foundation between 1994 and 1998.
After being awarded tenure in 1999, Dr. Davis began to focus his research on hydrogeologic problems in the New England region. From 2000 to 2010, Dr. Davis also served as Department Chair and led the Department through a major transition that included the hiring of five tenure-track faculty and a major rennovation of James Hall. During his tenure as Chair, he was instrumental in the development of two interdisciplinary programs -- the PhD in Natural Resources and Earth System Science, and the BSc in Environmental Sciences. The James Hall renovation was completed in 2010 and was recognized with a LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency and innovations in sustainability.
Inspired by his participation in the James Hall renovation, Dr. Davis began to consider the challenges facing the adoption of new and more sustainable energy technologies. With his formal training in quantitative hydrogeology, the use of geothermal heat pumps for heating buildings in cold climates was of particular interest. Recognizing the need for operating data from actual systems and the challenges in collecting this information through traditional grant programs, Dr. Davis co-founded a private equity-financed business, Ground Energy Support, to develop and market a web-based monitoring system. Through these efforts, Dr. Davis has developed strong ties in the private sector and worked regionally and internationally to develop methods for quantifying geothermal heat pump (GHP) performance.
As a member of the UNH Energy Task, Dr. Davis has also taken the lead on several initiatives to advance UNH towards its goal of carbon neutrality, working with external partners such as Eversource and Oak Ridge National Lab.