Nelson is President of Nelson Davis Productions and The Making It Institute, both based in Los Angeles. He was born in Andalusia, Alabama and grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. His fascination with entrepreneurs began with stories of his grandfather who owned a small general store in the racially segregated south before he was born.
From a young age, Nelson felt that controlling your destiny was based on developing your own way to make a living. Before satisfying his entrepreneurial urge and becoming the sole owner of his own business, he was a partner in several small businesses. The first was a Submarine Sandwich shop, “Fat Albert’s,” which grew to a chain of 14 stores. Another was Pioneer Aviation which was a pilot training and aircraft rental facility in Van Nuys California.
On his way to sole business ownership, Nelson loved working in radio and TV. Prior to becoming a programming executive for the NBC TV Network in 1980, he honed his skills with a variety of projects. Freelancing as a host and producer in Los Angeles he worked on such diverse projects as a series for PBS and directing commercials for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. At NBC for 4 years, he moved from Broadcast Standards on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to Director of Daytime Programming for the network.
Putting his entrepreneur’s hat back on, he began his TV production company in 1988 with the idea of bringing together special television programming with advertisers who wanted to reach a niche audience. His first weekly series was, “Making It! Minority Success Stories,” a program totally focused on the small business community.
Nelson is thrilled to have told the stories of over a thousand entrepreneurs on the TV show and seen some of them grow from very small to much larger enterprises. His work has received over thirty awards and commendations from all levels of business organizations and government including four Emmy Awards as Best Public Affairs series. The company has also co-produced a quiz series, “Campus All-Star Challenge” sponsored by American Honda. In June of 2009, He received IRS approval to launch The Making It! Institute for the Advancement of Business, a 501-c3 not-for-profit corporation. The Institute's first special project was “Superstars of Small Business” a live event that provides an opportunity for ambitious business owners to learn from the very best entrepreneurs.
Nelson frequently speaks about small business and entrepreneurial pursuits. His inspiring talks have been delivered to audiences from Washington DC to San Francisco. They include The Edison Institute, Anheuser-Busch, University of Southern California, and others. His favorite subject is “The Wisdom of 1000 Entrepreneurs.”
This ambitious entrepreneur is committed to combining his passion and knowledge of television and radio production using these media to communicate positive messages and promote economic empowerment for all. He has served on the boards of various community organizations: including the Board of Directors of the Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation, and The Board of Trustees at National University.