David Wilhelm is the president of Woodland Ventures, a company dedicated to the proposition that entrepreneurial vision and managerial talent may be found anywhere, including the hills of central Appalachia and the prairies of the Midwest. To this end, Wilhelm launched Adena Ventures and Hopewell Ventures, with a combined $140 million under management, bringing investment capital to high growth companies situated in these underserved regions of the country. Today, these venture capital funds have invested millions of dollars in companies located in communities such as Marquette, Michigan; Nelsonville, Ohio; Charleston, West Virginia; and Lansing, Illinois, creating hundreds of jobs for the people who live there and the prospect of strong returns for the investors that backed the basic Woodland premise: the flip side of a capital gap is a market opportunity!
Earlier in his career, Wilhelm led a number of enterprises that could easily be categorized as the ultimate start-ups: political campaigns. He was the national manager of the 1992 presidential campaign of William Jefferson Clinton and has served in similar capacities for Mayor Richard M. Daley, Senator Joseph R. Biden, and the late Senator Paul Simon. Following the election of President Clinton in 1992, Wilhelm was named chair of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the youngest person ever to serve in that role in American history.
Wilhelm is the recipient of a master of public policy degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by Ohio University and the University of Charleston, he has taught classes at the University of Chicago and DePaul University, and he has been a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics and Ohio University’s Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs.