In the early 1900’s, Carl Shaefer (C.S.) Davidson formed the base of what is today’s modern company. After proudly serving in the US Army during the first World War, Carl returned home and worked as an engineer for a large construction firm in the Pittsburgh/Ohio region. He returned to South Central Pennsylvania in 1921 and joined his father’s business in Hanover, Pennsylvania. After becoming a registered land surveyor and professional engineer, Carl struck out on his own in 1923 and opened his office in Hanover, PA. This marks the official beginning of C.S. Davidson, the private firm.
Move to York City
After the large development of the Wyndham Hills subdivision and the construction of the York Country Club, Carl relocated his growing business to York City in 1931. The first office was located on the 2nd floor of a small building next to the Yorktowne Hotel, shared with the York Water Company on Market Street.
Father & Son, Incorporated
Carl’s son, Dave Davidson Sr. graduated from Dartmouth College and joined the engineering business in 1946, after his service in several Construction Battalions during the Pacific Theater of World War II. For a brief time, the firm was known as “C.S. Davidson & Son”, until official incorporation in 1948 and Dave Sr. was named Vice-President of the firm. With Carl and Dave Sr. working together, the company’s role as municipal engineer continued to grow in York County, and the post-World War II boom in housing kept the company busy.
Carl passed away in 1965 at the age of 72. An influential businessman and entrepreneur, his legacy continues to live on through his family and companies that still bear his name. After Carl’s passing, Dave Sr. became the second president of C.S. Davidson, Inc. Dave Sr. took immense pride in his work: its accuracy, its timeliness, and its integrity. He took the long view of civil engineering and expanded services in planning, sewer, and water construction. In 1970, the company moved to its current location at 38 North Duke Street. The firm had approximately 13 employees at this time.
A Time of Transition
After Dave Sr’s unexpected death in 1973, George Miller became the third president of C.S. Davidson, Inc. George had been an engineer with the firm since 1959, serving as Chief Sanitary Engineer. At the same time, Dave Davidson, Jr. rejoined the company after receiving his B.S. in Civil Engineering at Lehigh University and a M.S. in Environmental Water Resource Engineering at Vanderbilt. Dave’s mother, Jody Davidson (later married to Louis J. Appell, Jr.) also led the firm and community during these formative years, serving on a multitude of advisory boards and organizations, including the York Chamber of Commerce, Junior League of York, York Foundation, YWCA, Penn State York Advisory Board, Cultural Alliance, Martin Library, Girls Scouts, and many more.
In 1983, Dave Jr. became the fourth president, succeeding George Miller upon his retirement. As the third generation of the Davidson family, Dave Jr. continued the family tradition of creative leadership, honesty, reliability and dedication to the best interests of the client and community. Dave’s wife, Linda Davidson, joined the firm in 1980 as business manager and would go on to serve on many boards and committees, and her leadership greatly influenced the firm and surrounding York community.
Adams County Expansion
For the first time since the original relocation from Hanover in 1931, a new office was opened. Located in the heart of historic Gettysburg Borough on 50 West Middle Street, this office continues to serve our clients and community with excellence.
Lancaster County Expansion
Fourteen years after the successful launch of our 2nd location in Gettysburg, the firm moved eastward to better serve our clients and community in Lancaster County and Eastern PA. Working with the (then) James Street Improvement District, our office was renovated at 315 West James Street in the historic Raub Supply Building.
In 2008, John Klinedinst was elected as the fifth President and CEO, while Dave Davidson Jr. took on the role of Chief Financial Officer. John joined the firm in 1974 after graduating from Penn State University with a degree in water resource and engineering technology. A member of the firm’s Board of Director’s since 1986, he previously served as Vice President of Engineering since 1987 and Chief Operating Officer since 2002. John demonstrated his exceptional servant leadership within the firm, with his various municipal clients, and a multitude of nonprofits in the community, including: Rotary Club of York, Sertoma International, York YWCA, Cultural Alliance of York, York County Chamber of Commerce, York County Economic Alliance, Penn State York and many more.
Bold Leadership for Next Chapter
In 2016, Kerryn Fulton was elected the sixth President and CEO, while John Klinedinst took on the role of Chief Administrative Officer. Kerryn received a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 and later joined C.S. Davidson in 2001. Throughout her career as a structural engineer, she worked on notable projects such as Majestic Theater Renovation in Gettysburg, Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor’s Center, and Dallastown Area Intermediate School. In 2012 she was appointed Chief Operating Officer and was responsible for providing strategic and tactical leadership and oversaw the day-to-day operations of the firm. Still following the family credo of honesty, reliability and dedication to the pursuit of excellence for clients and community, Kerryn and the Senior Leadership team are boldly leading the firm into new possibilities and a prosperous future.
Transition to 100% Employee Ownership
On December 31, 2019, C.S. Davidson became a 100% employee owned firm through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), originally launched in 2003 under Dave Jr. and Linda Davidson’s leadership. With the arrival of 2020, the employee-owners began an exciting new chapter of engineering excellence, serving clients and communities – in the very same tradition that Carl S. Davidson started nearly 100 years prior.