Hi! I’m David Harkins.
I am a strategy consultant, speaker, and teacher.
I’m the founder and executive consultant at David Harkins Company, a management consulting firm specializing in strategy and providing services for startup entrepreneurs, growth companies, and nonprofit organizations.
I am a student of entrepreneurship and business at the intersection of culture and demographic change. I research industries, companies, and culture, and connect seemingly unconnected dots to identify likely challenges to overcome and probable opportunities to exploit. I write, speak and teach 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 hold a BBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial/Small Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Entrepreneurship.
In my spare time, I consult, speak, write, hike, explore, and create art. Not necessarily in that order.
My motto is perspective defines happiness, a positive attitude enables success, and possibilities exist for most everything.
This is my personal website, which also serves as a central hub for my online presence.
If you’re looking for my writing on business and entrepreneurial topics, visit www.davidharkins.blog.
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.
I grew up in the “other Charleston,” where I spent more than my fair share of time grounded in my bedroom, where I used that time to engineer, and flight-test the most incredible paper airplanes from my bedroom window. Each one, elaborately decorated and bearing the phrase, “Help!!! I’m being held captive by a wicked witch!” which, upon reflection, was unwise since they all landed in the backyard to be discovered by my captor, who sometimes went by the name of “mom.”
When I wasn’t 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 more thoughtful 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, National FFA, 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.
Both successes and failures have marked my life and career. 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 accomplishments.
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.