Mr. Wilhelm founded Woodland Venture Management in 1999 with a vision of bringing investment capital to traditionally underserved areas of the country. While hoping to spur economic development, Mr. Wilhelm simultaneously believed that the Midwest and Central Appalachian capital gaps presented outstanding investment opportunities for private equity professionals willing to explore what some refer to as ‘fly-over America.’
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) licensed Woodland’s first fund, Adena Ventures, as the nation’s first and largest New Markets Venture Capital Company in 2002. Hopewell Ventures was founded shortly thereafter to focus on the Midwest and was licensed by the SBA to operate as a Small Business Investment Corporation in 2004.
Mr. Wilhelm has received numerous accolades for his commitment to Appalachia including the Appalachian New Economy Partnership (ANEP) Entrepreneurship Award from the Voinovich Center at Ohio University and honorary doctorates from Ohio University and the University of Charleston (West Virginia).
Mr. Wilhelm is well known for his political career, which included managing campaigns for President Bill Clinton, Senator Paul Simon, Senator Joe Biden, and Mayor Richard Daley. In 1993, he became the youngest ever chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Wilhelm earned his Bachelor’s from Ohio University and his Master’s of Public Policy from Harvard. He currently serves on numerous nonprofit boards.