David Wesson ’82 is a man of ambition. His steadfast work ethic and can-do attitude means that he can solve just about any problem that comes his way. As a serial entrepreneur, Wesson has more than 15 startup companies and 50 patents to his name.
Wesson credits his deeply rooted work ethic to growing up on his family’s farm, while studying agricultural engineering at Texas A&M University helped strengthen and reinforce his quick-thinking problem-solving skills. But his determination? That was there from the beginning. As a 14-year-old, Wesson remembers how he generated his own income by delivering firewood to people in the city. At age 17, he successfully negotiated with his then-boss to pay him a flat rate instead of the hourly norm.
“When I was younger, I probably didn’t even know what it meant to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “But I was always creating new ideas. Early on after college, I started a software company with my wife, which I worked on every night after coming home from my full-time job.”
The key to his success? “You really just need the passion to do things on your own,” he added.
Reading the Stars
Wesson’s ingenuity for innovating and inventing knows no limits. Although he is most passionate about his ventures in the oil and gas industry, other successful startups of his include nutrition and skin care companies, a patent licensing company and a winery. PreMark, a nutrition and cosmetics company that Wesson founded with David Palmer, won a 2015 Aggie 100 Award. Another startup, Peak Pressure Control (a pressure control services company), has since merged with other businesses to become Nine Energy Service.
But his favorite company to date is GEODynamics, which earned the top spot at the 2006 Aggie 100 Awards and the No. 10 spot in 2007. Founded in 2001, GEODynamics is one of the leading providers of perforating technology in the oil and gas industry. Since its creation, the company has grown to encompass nearly 400 employees and nine distribution centers, one of which is in Scotland.
Although he will eventually sell GEODynamics, Wesson explained that he doesn’t like to plan his exit strategy. “I don’t believe in having an exit strategy before starting a company,” said Wesson. “I like to focus on growing and managing a company for success. The exit will come once the stars align.”
Wesson will continue to strive for bigger and better goals with GEODynamics. “To grow and succeed, you must invest in new ideas, new technology and new product development,” he said. “That’s what we do at GEODynamics. We’re always looking for ways to advance.”
Giving Back to Aspiring Entrepreneurs
In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, Wesson is also involved with helping other Aggies achieve their startup dreams. As a founding chairman of the Aggie Angel Network in 2010, he has been intricately connected with the program’s growth and has invested in numerous startups. The Aggie Angel Network is a nonprofit dedicated to connecting investors with aspiring Aggie and non-Aggie entrepreneurs and to bringing market knowledge, mentorship and operational excellence to startups. Along with the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship and the off-campus Research Valley Partnership, the three units provide a necessary long-term support network for entrepreneurs.
Recalling his time as an undergraduate, Wesson describes the lack of resources made available for entrepreneurs like himself. “The investment ecosystem surrounding the university today is much stronger and incredibly important,” said Wesson. “None of this was available when I was a student, and I enjoy being part of the entrepreneurial community because it’s something that I wish I had when I was at Texas A&M.”
In addition to his support of the Aggie Angel Network, Wesson has given back financially and through longstanding service on the Advisory Council to support the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship in Mays Business School in hopes of promoting entrepreneurial ventures and small businesses among Aggie students. “The connections, relationships and support that I had as an Aggie have been vital to my career. Giving back is simply the right thing to do,” Wesson remarked.
Supporters like Wesson are the reason that hundreds of Aggies can work toward their startup dreams. “My best advice to a beginning entrepreneur would be to find a mentor who is passionate about your idea and engage with the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship and other startup resources available at Texas A&M,” said Wesson. “A lot of people want to search for money. Look for help, not money.”
Wesson’s interdisciplinary success is a testament to dreamers and aspiring entrepreneurs alike. “Every company created today—Google, Apple, Microsoft—began as a startup in a garage. The next big business could start in Aggieland.”