At 6-foot-something, Jaret Davis often towers over the crowd, giving him a vantage point that he can turn to his benefit.
The co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s 170-attorney Miami office has demonstrated he takes advantage of his literal overview for team building. He’s also generous in spreading credit for efforts he led.
The teams built last year landed South Florida on the shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, devised a $3 billion deal to acquire 57 data centers worldwide and a portfolio of cybersecurity and data analytics companies, and headed a legal team in pursuit of a $737 million medical device company merger.
“We lucked out. It was a very active year,” Davis said. The key projects “all tend to run into the same theme,” which he said was “filling up a tech ecosystem.”
The Amazon package came together in the year Davis was serving as chairman of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s economic development agency. South Florida, which billed itself as the Tech Center of the Americas on its pitch, is in the mix with 19 other locations.
During his leadership year, he also recruited Mike Finney as the Beacon Council’s CEO, and Davis said Finney, who was recruited from Detroit, was already on Amazon’s radar as “a rock star in the economic development world.”
On behalf of longtime client Manny Medina, Davis organized a 57-attorney team that created Coral Gables-based Cyxtera Technologies by assembling 57 CenturyLink data centers and four cybersecurity and data analytics companies under one umbrella.
Private equity companies Medina Capital and BC Partners were the $2.8 billion acquirers of Cyxtera, which is led by Medina as chairman.
On the slightly smaller side, Davis led a multioffice legal team for Gainesville-based Exactech Inc., which makes orthopedic implants and surgical instruments, on its $737 million sale to private equity fund TPG Capital.
Davis also shepherded a Beacon Council effort called the Connect & Grow Initiative connecting major Miami-Dade employers with startup companies to bolster the tech community. One element is startup financing, which Davis sees as “the ultimate messaging to the marketplace.”
The Miami area has long aspired to get on the list of U.S. tech centers but generally misses the mark. A 2017 Cushman & Wakefield report doesn’t list South Florida in the top 25 metropolitan areas based on the share of the workforce in knowledge occupations.
Davis insists “Miami now has a brand” that justifies interest from acquirers looking to build business in both North America and Latin America.
He also sees many tech seedlings ready to sprout. He points to an angel education series backed by his firm and Babson College to educate high net worth families about the ins and outs of angel investing.
Real estate has been a traditional investment focus for wealthy families in South Florida, and the series is intended to explore and demystify subjects from deal structuring to funding cycles in ways that encourage funding for innovation, which circles back to Davis’ tech focus.
“Unlike a lot of cities, we have a tremendous amount of wealth here,” Davis said. He’s not focused on individual investing options, but he said, “It’s almost impossible to do angel investing in Miami these days without investing in tech.”
On other fronts, he co-founded and serves as the general counsel of the annual eMerge Americas tech conference and chairs the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, which cultivates digital health solutions.
For all the management and advisory functions, Davis said he always find time for a private life.
“My friends and family are a source of energy to me,” he said. “It’s a necessity for me. Without them, I couldn’t do what I do.”