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Still a few months from graduation at Eastern Kentucky University, a northern Kentucky man has already earned a top honor from one of the nation’s top insurance and investment firms.

Taylor Davis, a senior marketing major from Hebron, was recently named one of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company’s top 75 college interns in the south and the only one from a Kentucky institution. The distinction qualified Davis for the firm’s summer camp, a special training session involving all the top college interns. His next goal: winter camp.

Through Northwestern Mutual's internship program in its Lexington office, Davis earned his licensing in life, health, disabilities, annuities and more. Meeting with clients of all ages every day, he helps clients achieve their investment and life goals through full-picture financial planning. This fall, Davis will become Series 7 and 66 licensed, enabling him to directly manage investments for his clients.

“There are no signs of him slowing down in any way,” said his Lexington supervisor, Madalyn Collins. “His activity is spectacular for an intern, he's got great presence with clients."

Davis credits his work ethic to his parents, Jim and Jamie Davis, “I was raised by two entrepreneurial EKU alums who revert a lot of their success back to the little southern college town where big things happen.”

Last semester, Davis worked for Dr. Tom Martin, executive director of the Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology (CEDET) at EKU.

“Taylor was a motivated self-starter who needed little instruction or supervision,” Martin said. “He always wanted to know what else he could be doing. And in those downtimes when he could be studying or taking selfies for Snapchat, Taylor was studying. Part of Taylor’s success hinges on the fact that he knows in order to succeed at whatever you want to accomplish in life, it takes effort. And he is in no short supply of that."

Davis learned of the Northwestern Mutual opportunity from a business developer with the Louisville office of the firm. Chris Brice came to the Richmond campus to address a marketing class taught by Dr. Karen Hood Hopkins.

Brice discussed leadership and working styles with the students, Hopkins explained. “His presentation helped students really see themselves in successful sales roles. From that discussion, Taylor decided to give it a try as an intern, and everything clicked for him. It’s valuable to have professionals visit the classroom so that students gain that perspective."

Davis had only positive comments on his internship experience.

"The training through Northwestern Mutual's college program is world class and client focused,” Davis said. “That's where I get my sales language from. My drive, ambition and assertiveness, that comes from my father, Jim. My ability to talk to people, my personality and my wit, that comes from my grandfather, James Davis. He passed away my sophomore year and as much as it still hurts, I enjoy seeing how his tactics of dealing with, relating to and developing rapport with people carry on in my business today."

Also critical to his preparation, Davis said, were the many EKU faculty members “who had successful careers in elite business positions and who were then able to teach me the processes, skills and strategies needed. People like Mr. (Kirby) Easterling, with two decades in global supply chain management; Dr. Hood Hopkins, with 15 years in executive roles; Dr. (Philip) Boutin, with 15 years in corporate marketing, and the list goes on. Most people would think those are good people to learn from throughout four years of college, but that was just last semester for me."

Now carving out his own path, Davis said he is “really proud to be a second-generation EKU alum."

Northwestern Mutual was founded in 1857, has more than $200 billion in assets, $27 billion in revenue and ranks No. 100 on the 2016 Fortune 500 list with 4.4 million clients.