A voice from the past — and the north

  • By Christina Harper <i>HBJ Writer</i>
  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:21am

David Weatherholt left Everett in the late 1980s and eventually made his way to Alaska.

But the 1967 Everett High School has returned, in a way, to the area. And although family, friends and those who know Weatherholt may not see him, they can hear his voice in their homes and cars.

Listeners to business radio can tune into Weatherholt’s program “Getting Down to Business” on KKOL (1300 AM) or KLFE (1590 AM), two of Salem Communication’s Seattle radio stations.

Weatherholt, a business consultant and entrepreneur, worked for a Seattle company during the 1980s and took advantage of a move to Alaska that gave him the opportunity to finish his education.

He crossed the Canadian-Alaska border on Aug. 8, 1988 — or 8/8/88 — obtained a bachelor of arts then went on to get his MBA.

“I decided I really liked Alaska,” Weatherholt said.

He worked as a consultant for three years writing business plans with native corporations in rural Alaska villages with populations of 600 to 700.

People could only travel to the villages by air and some by boat.

“There were no roads,” Weatherholt said.

It was an exciting time for Weatherholt who helped to bring businesses into economically depressed areas.

He later took a contract with the Veterans Administration and worked part-time for three years writing a dozen plans.

A Korean man with a degree in software engineering approached Weatherholt.

“He had an unusual set of skills,” he said.

It was 1992 and the man told Weatherholt he wanted to become an ISP.

“I asked what ISP was,” Weatherholt said. “He said, ‘The Internet.’”

“What’s the Internet?” Weatherholt asked.

The business plan was written, the man received funding and eventually he had a publicly traded company that made him a lot of money.

That was, “the most successful,” Weatherholt said.

After finishing his MBA, Weatherholt went to work as a contractor for Microsoft then went on his first trip to Siberia working for the Russian American Center.

Yakutsk, sometimes referred to as the coldest city on earth, is one of the largest diamond producers in the world.

“It was 1996 after the break up of the Soviet Union,” Weatherholt said.

His work there teaching classes to teachers and to students meant being treated like a celebrity. People would ask for autographs after hearing the American speak.

A stint as owner of The Alaska Wild, a professional indoor football team started well but was short-lived.

“I started at ground zero and raised and spent $2 million,” Weatherholt said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The team had 2.5 million hits on the website in the first month and sold out their first game.

“It all went downhill from there,” Weatherholt said.

Weatherholt went on to develop his radio show, “Getting Down to Business” and began broadcasting in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2009 on stations owned and operated by Alaska Integrated Media, Inc.

This year will be the fifth in radio for Weatherholt whose show is on four Alaska stations, two in Spokane and for the past two months two in Seattle.

Chris Pobieglo, president at Business Insurance Associates in Anchorage, met Weatherholt at a trade association fare when the two men set up tables next to each other.

“We got to talking and both kind of figured out that we do similar types of things,” Pobieglo said.

Both men were involved in business-to-business work and interested in strategic partnerships.

Pobieglo was a guest on the radio show first then his company offered sponsorship.

He now hosts a 10 to 15 minute segment on risk management for business owners.

“Dave’s slogan is, ‘Providing information you can use,’” Pobieglo said.

The radio show gets good feedback and listeners enjoy the diverse guests featured on “Getting Down to Business.”

“One will be in the political realm,” Pobieglo said. “The next week someone who runs a mom-and-pop shop. They are real examples. Real stories. There’s not a lot of format for that.”

Weatherholt will be visiting Seattle in April for his radio show to talk to Seattle Mariners vice president of corporate business and community relations, Joe Chard, and vice president of marketing, Kevin Martinez, about the business side of running a sports team.

He still does consulting as well as his radio show and in 2011 he wrote an educational children’s book called, “My Name is Cosmos.”

“Cosmos is a real dog. It’s my dog,” Weatherholt said. “It’s about how he got to Alaska.”

Cosmos has his own Facebook page where Weatherholt keeps readers up-to-date with the dog’s life.

Two other Cosmos books are in the works as well as “The Wild Ride,” a book about Weatherholt’s life and work as an entrepreneur.

But his radio work is keeping him busy, too.

“The radio (work) is taking over,” Weatherholt said. “It takes a lot more of my time.”

Guests include local entrepreneurs talking about their businesses whether they are successful or not to Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in-chief of Forbes Media.

Weatherholt likes to interview authors and those who can speak to small business owners.

“You can learn a lot from those in the trenches,” Weatherholt said. “What better way to learn about starting and running a business then hearing the founder’s story?”

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