TEDxEmory – David Wilhelm – Political Psychology


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David Wilhelm used to work in politics, but now he’s a private sector guy, devoting his efforts to business initiatives that produce both social and shareholder value.

Today, Wilhelm is a full-time entrepreneur and a part-time academic. He is the developer of a solar project projected to be the largest ever built east of the Rockies—on reclaimed mine lands in southeastern Ohio. He is the founder of the nation’s first New Markets Venture Capital Company, which invests in businesses located in economically challenged parts of central Appalachia. He founded a second venture capital fund that has helped build companies in small Midwestern towns—companies that provide safe, pasteurized eggs to anxious consumers, that help returning veterans—our wounded warriors—manage their medications as prescribed, and that assist companies with energy-hungry data centers reduce their electricity usage.

Wilhelm is the CEO of New Harvest Ventures, a development company working in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, clean water, and community based venture capital. He is currently serving as the Visiting Chair of Applied Politics at the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute and a Visiting Professor at Ohio University’s Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs.

In the world of politics, Wilhelm is best known for his work as a manager of high-level campaigns, including the 1992 presidential campaign of William J. Clinton, and campaigns for Vice President Joseph Biden, the Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, and the late U.S. Senator from Illinois, Paul Simon. Upon his election, President Clinton nominated Wilhelm to serve as Chair of the Democratic National Committee.

More recently, Wilhelm co-chaired the successful campaign to renew Ohio’s innovative “Third Frontier” job creation program and, in 2008, was one of the first super delegates to support the candidacy of then-Senator Barack Obama for the presidency.

Wilhelm is a graduate of Ohio University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Ohio University and the University of Charleston. Wilhelm and his wife, Degee, live in Bexley, Ohio, and are the proud parents of two teenage sons, Luke and Logan.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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