Since then, Kathy has been intrigued by creating systems that work for people in a wide range of industries and disciplines. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Kathy moved to Indiana in 1982 when she was hired by Cummins Engine Company. She spent seven years at Cummins, leading changes in manufacturing operations and product design to improve quality and delivery and reduce cost.
Kathy answered the call to public service in 1989 when she was tapped by former Gov. Evan Bayh to serve as the Deputy Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation, where she led statewide transportation planning and highway project development. In 1995, Gov. Bayh appointed Kathy to State Budget Director, placing her in charge of Indiana's $10 billion state budget.
Two years later, Kathy accepted a new challenge when former Gov. Frank O'Bannon appointed her secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration. She managed 11,000 employees and a $4 billion budget, with the goal of supporting and building self-reliance in vulnerable people who relied on the state's system of human services.
Kathy returned to the private sector in 1998, but soon returned to public service, managing the start-up of Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund. $21 million in contracts to Hoosier technology ventures were developed and awarded, using a process of national peer review, in a record-setting five month period.
In 2000, Kathy turned to local government finance, when Mayor Bart Peterson appointed her Controller of the City of Indianapolis. She managed the finances of the nation's 12th largest city for nearly four years.
In October 2003, Gov. Joe Kernan appointed Kathy to fill his term as Lieutenant Governor following the death of Gov. Frank O'Bannon. Her appointment as the first female Lieutenant Governor was unanimously approved by both the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate. Her responsibilities included economic development, agriculture, and counter terrorism. She also led a sweeping government efficiency and design project, Peak Performance. On the legislative front, she served as president of the Indiana Senate.
Following the completion of the Kernan-Davis term in early 2005, Kathy became the Chief Executive Officer of Global Access Point, headquartered in South Bend, Indiana. She led the start-up of the company, developing markets in data transport, data processing, and data storage for business, health care, and universities.
Today, Kathy serves as the owner of Davis Design Group, where she assists her clients in developing tools for designing public systems and change strategies. Despite her personal and professional obligations, she is actively involved as a board member with the following not-for-profit organizations: Noble of Indiana; the Indiana Museum of African American History; the University of Evansville Institute of Global Enterprise; and the Purdue University College of Science Dean's Leadership Council.