Dave graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Industrial Design. In the early 1970’s, Dave and a friend started their own business, Designers Consortium, Ltd. He developed a long consulting relationship with the Smithsonian Institution which resulted in the design of the Milestones of Flight Hall, the premier Hall of the Air and Space Museum for it’s opening in 1976. He was also asked by the American History Museum to design the Hall of Electricity.
After a number of years Dave started, G. David Ellis and Associates, Inc. and continued to work in the exhibition and product design fields. Some of his new clients included the Library of Congress, The African American Museum of History and Culture in Philadelphia, PA, the Government of Haiti, and as principal design consultant on two major exhibitions for the Royal Commission, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Next, he became a founding partner in Hands On! Inc, whose mission was to create highly educational interactive exhibitions and museums for all ages. They came to St. Petersburg in 1986 and created Great Explorations, the Hands On! Museum, opening in November of 1987. They decided to apply what they had learned as the managers of a successful museum and left Great Explorations in 1991 to return to consulting.