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Davenport & Co. LLC's culture tries to keep that 'small-firm feeling'

Davenport & Co. LLC's culture tries to keep that 'small-firm feeling'

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Businesses don’t typically last 155 years without the type of culture that attracts and keeps good employees.

That’s definitely true at Richmond-based Davenport & Co. LLC, which was established in 1863, making it one of the oldest employee-owned, independent financial services firms in the U.S.

Davenport, which has more than 430 employees at 23 locations, including about 257 at its Richmond main office, has had employees who worked for the firm for more than 65 years. It recently celebrated milestone anniversaries that included employees with more than 40 and 50 years of service.

Davenport has 23 associates who have been with the firm for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of the firm’s employees have worked there more than six years, and the average length of service right now is 12 years.

“I think we have been very successful retaining our folks,” said I. Lee Chapman IV, Davenport’s president and chief executive officer.

“Culture is a convenient way to describe the essence of a firm,” Chapman said. “Just as we care on an individual basis for all of our clients, we have a caring and connected community amongst our associates, and we want to make sure everybody feels that connection.”

Davenport has been growing, adding new offices in the Southeast, particularly in its public finance division, and more than 20 associates over the last year. One of the firm’s big challenges is similar to that faced by many businesses as they grow.

“We have a culture here that is very connected and has that small-firm feeling, which we are intentionally trying to preserve,” Chapman said. “As we are growing, it is a fine line to maintain that sense of connectedness. It is a great problem to have as we grow, but also one that we have to be intentional to protect.”

One new service the firm is offering associates at its downtown Richmond office is an on-site health center. Located on the 16th floor, it is staffed by a nurse practitioner four days a week. Davenport is partnering with a third-party provider for the service.

“We think that is going to be a big draw,” said Brenda Madden, Davenport’s senior vice president and human resources director. “It is very convenient for our employees to have same-day access to a health care provider. We think that is going to be a big attraction for recruiting employees and also keeping our current staff.”

“It is an opportunity to offer something that I think most people would assume you would only get at a very large firm,” Chapman said. “It is an attempt to promote wellness within the firm, and also a way to combat ever-rising health care costs.”


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