David Wilhelm

D. WilhelmDAVID Wilhelm

Executive Chair

David Wilhelm’s career has spanned the worlds of energy, finance, politics, academia, and public policy; in each, he has made a meaningful impact and has always been guided by the idea of doing what he can to help others fulfill their human potential.

Today, as Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of Hecate Energy, Wilhelm is facilitating the company’s efforts to develop solar, wind, and gas projects in international markets such as Africa, Pakistan, and Jordan. Hecate Energy, founded in 2012, was recently awarded an assignment from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to develop 190MW of solar generation. Additionally, Hecate was named as one of the top nine companies to watch among America’s utility scale solar developers by Greentech Media. In Tanzania, Hecate and Wilhelm are developing the largest solar array ever to be installed on the grounds of a campus, at the University of Dodoma, linked to the creation of the continent’s first School of Renewable Energy.

Wilhelm is the founding Partner of Empower, a Columbus-based energy services company designed to help communities capture the economic benefit of their spending on electricity through local generation projects and the deployment of energy efficiency strategies.

Wilhelm is also a founder of two regionally focused venture capital funds designed to bring investment dollars to underserved regions of the Midwest and Appalachia. He served as the co-chair of a statewide campaign to renew the Ohio Third Frontier, one of the nation’s model programs in support of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Prior to transitioning to the business world, Wilhelm’s career was focused on electoral politics. He managed the campaigns of persons such as William J. Clinton, Joseph R. Biden, Richard M. Daley, and the late Paul Simon. He was a leading national surrogate for the campaign of Barack Obama in 2008 and is a lifetime “superdelegate” to Democratic Party national conventions. In 1992, President Clinton named Wilhelm to serve as Chair of the Democratic National Committee, making Wilhelm the youngest person in American history to serve in that post.

In the world of non-profit organizations, Wilhelm is the Chair of the Midwest’s leading environmental and clean energy advocacy group, the Environmental Law and Policy Center. He is Co-Chair of the Strategic Partners Group of the Voinovich School Of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University and a co-founder of its new Center for Public and Social Innovation. Early in his career, Wilhelm was the executive director of one of the nation’s leading tax reform organizations, Citizens for Tax Justice, and was a co-author of studies that provided impetus for federal tax reform during President Reagan’s presidency.

Wilhelm is a graduate of Ohio University and Harvard University; he has received honorary doctorate degrees from Ohio University, the University of Charleston, and Wheeling Jesuit University, and has taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and the University of Akron. Wilhelm and his wife, Degee, reside in Bexley, Ohio, where they are now empty nesters, with both sons enrolled at Ohio State University.