About David Harkins

Short Bio.

Hi. I’m David Harkins. I help entrepreneurs and organizations transform their ideas into reality.

I currently serve as the VP, Marketing for a licensed and private label apparel company, where I oversee marketing, sales, licensing and merchandising. I have significant experience in advertising, brand development and trademark licensing.

I study culture and demographic change, research industries and businesses, and connect seemingly unconnected dots to identify likely challenges to overcome and probable opportunities to exploit. I speak on these and other topics.

I believe businesses must craft relevant stories to connect with new generations of customers, identify new market opportunities, develop new products and services, and identify and define engaging retail environments that make the cash register ring.

I have extensive training and education in advertising communications and media production. I also hold a BBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial/Small Business Management and I am pursuing a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship.

In my spare time, I consult, speak, write, hike, explore, and create art. Not necessarily in that order.

My personal motto is perspective defines happiness, a positive attitude enables success, and possibilities exist for most everything.

 

My story.

I was born in the capital city of West Virginia the year John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I cheered Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, watched solar eclipses through a color film negative, and listened to music on 8-Track tapes. I watched President Nixon resign his office, owned a first edition Sony® Walkman, and remember my latitude and longitude when both Harry Chapin and John Lennon died.

Growing up I spent more than my fair share of time grounded to my bedroom, where I chose to use my time to engineer and flight-test perfect paper airplanes elaborately decorated, perhaps unwisely upon reflection, with the phrase, “Help!!! I’m being held captive by a wicked witch!” from my window into the backyard where my mother often found them. When I wasn’t being held in captivity, I survived walks through protesting parents during the Kanawha County Textbook Controversy, was interested enough to learn New Math, rose many mornings at 5:00 AM to deliver newspapers, and I learned how to march and play the trombone at the same time.

I set off for college to become a dentist, but organic chemistry got the better of me, and a wise Chemistry professor encouraged the pursuit of a different career. A wiser English professor suggested I consider becoming a writer. Unfortunately, my parents had no room in the basement for me to make a home, so I chose life in marketing and advertising—the closest fields I could find to writing that paid enough to allow me to get my own place.

Once on my own, I fell into a successful career leading marketing and organizational change for companies both small and large. I have worked in many industries and been fortunate enough to have held senior positions with, or advised, many well-known organizations including: Alzheimer’s Association (National), American Bar Association (National), Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Boy Scouts of America (National Council), Cargill Ag Horizons, Disabled American Veterans (National), Girl Scouts of the USA (National Council), Geneer, Microsoft, and Nykamp Consulting Group to name just a few. I am a serial entrepreneur, and I have helped grow many first-stage start-up companies.

My life and career have been marked by both successes and failures. Along the way, I learned my greatest strengths are a drive to create, a desire to build things and nourish people, and a passion for identifying workable solutions to seemingly impossible problems in business, and in life. These traits and my core beliefs that perspective defines happiness, a positive attitude enables success, and possibilities exist for everything forms the root of all my successes.

I am an avid student of emerging—yet useful—technology, cultural change, human behavior, and personal motivation. I’m a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars on these and related marketing topics.

In my spare time, I write, paint, hike, and explore. I have been known to take a picture or two.