Wade graduated from NDSU as a Distinguished Military Graduate in ROTC and accepted a regular army commission as an Engineer officer. He attended the Engineer Officer’s Basic Course in Fort Belvoir, VA where he graduated at the top of his class. While at the training he was talked into applying for Ranger training by two of his friends. During the grueling program Wade lost 49 pounds on the meager rations and no scheduled sleep (meant to simulate the rigors of combat). He probably wouldn’t have made it through the training without the encouragement of his friends and the wild berries he gobbled up during the Mountain phase.
Wade left the military to climb the corporate ladder at the Plastics Packaging division of Mobil Chemical, a subsidiary of what was then the Mobil Corporation (now ExxonMobil). He held several positions starting as a territory Sales Representative for the state of Wisconsin, and was promoted to higher levels of responsibility including the roles of Regional Product Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Regional Product/Sales Manager, and culminating as a National Market Development Manager with executive marketing and product management responsibilities for a $150 million national product line.
His time at Mobil was interrupted for six months when he was recalled to active duty to serve in the Gulf War in 1991. While the pace of corporate life was intense and time consuming, Wade learned much from the comprehensive training and development programs and the five positions he held during his seven years at the company. While he was usually embarrassed to admit that he sold plastic trash bags, plastic grocery bags, and disposable foam plates, bowls, and meat trays for a living, the experience of sales, marketing, negotiation, and leadership equipped him well to be an entrepreneur later in his career.
Wade has been a featured speaker at investment banking, venture capital, private equity, technology, and entrepreneurship conferences. He has also taught seminars at top business schools.
Wade’s topics typically include:
- FINANCING STRATEGY
- GROWTH STRATEGY
- M&A STRATEGY
- FAMILY BUSINESS
- FAITH-BASED BUSINESS
- EXIT STRATEGY
Wade invests in startups and small businesses through Eagle Venture Fund, a global venture capital fund he co-founded.
He has been the chairman of a seed capital firm, venture partner for two venture capital firms, and board member of an $850m investment firm.
Wade’s advisory skills were honed while at the Boston Consulting Group, one of the world’s leading strategy consulting firms where he consulted with clients on strategy, growth, and transformation. One of his most notable achievements was helping set the stage for the transformation of travel distribution by delivering the foundational strategy for the largest Internet-based travel agency and the strategy for the first ticketless airline process for the largest U.S. airline.
Wade is an active advisor to select entrepreneurs, management teams, and corporate executives at all stages of business from startup to middle market to global 2000. His primary focus with clients is growth strategy, growth financing, exit planning, and M&A strategy and execution.
Wade is a serial entrepreneur, venture capital investor, and an advisor with deep experience with strategy, financing, and has completed over 100 financing and M&A transactions as part of his business building strategy. He started selling door-to-door as a boy and worked full time most of his high school and college years at many jobs and at-risk ventures to put himself through school.
His startup and business building focus has been on software and IT-enabled services companies that have high gross margins, recurring revenue, and repeatable and scalable offerings. His startups have included a digital investment banking firm, a global SaaS-based big data firm that was capitalized with $75m in venture capital prior to selling to a public company and an Inc. 5000 nationwide SaaS-based real estate services company that has grown into the fourth largest firm among several thousand competitors in its industry.