Rick Wilmot

Venture Leader - Venture Development
Rick Wilmot

Rick is a systematic, analytical problem solver who draws energy from exploring a broad range of problems and synthesizing diverse inputs into actionable insights and plans. As a Venture Leader, he works with the rest of the team to refine concepts through activities such as market testing and value chain construction in order to push them towards commercialization and scaling. Rick graduated from Bowling Green State University with undergrad and grad degrees in Computer Science and has an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He lives in Brunswick, Ohio with his wife and 5 children.

Why did you join 1848 Ventures?

I had the opportunity to serve Westfield Insurance as a consultant in the past and get to know its people, culture and values, all of which I really connected with. So, when I heard that Westfield was establishing a Venture organization committed to developing new ways of serving customers, I saw it as the opportunity of a lifetime to both scratch an entrepreneurial itch and join a people-centered, mission-driven organization that I’d be proud to be a part of.

What wouldn’t people know about your background based on your LinkedIn page?

For a few years when I was younger, I made a living by playing poker full time. Though I don’t enjoy any other games you might find in a casino, poker is different in that you can win in the long run if you’ve got the right approach and discipline. I’d always been a good casual player and there was a national craze for it going on at the time that was flooding the scene with unsophisticated players, so I thought there could be some opportunity there. It turned out that I was right, and that led to my spending a few years alternately playing long sessions online or flying around to big poker tournaments across the country. Initially, it was a lot of fun, but eventually it became more like a regular job and my drive to get back to working with interesting problems and people became stronger and stronger. So, I gave it up and now its just a fun story to tell.

What do you think was the best radio show of the early 2000s era?

Wow… so funny that you would ask that! My friends and I actually had a late night college radio show around that time during which we made many bad jokes, played the same “get checked for glaucoma” public service announcement (voiced by MLB hall of famer Kirby Puckett) once per hour and took a lot of phone-in requests that resulted in unheard-of amounts of airtime devoted to songs like “The Percolator” by Cajmere and “Real American” by Rick Derringer. That said, objectively, it wasn’t a very high quality show, so the answer is probably either Fresh Air or Car Talk… so many great long-running shows on NPR!