Social media sensation Tim Wells to present Monmouth College’s Whiteman Lecture

MONMOUTH — With a tagline of “more than half a billion served annually,” one would assume that the presenter of this year’s Monmouth College business-themed Wendell Whiteman Memorial Lecture comes from a restaurant chain.

But Tim Wells, a 1987 Monmouth graduate, isn’t about flipping burgers; rather, the Outdoorsman caters to viewers who love hunting, and those viewers love Wells-produced content. Author of two books and YouTube sensation, Wells has won the prestigious Golden Moose Award for Best Outside Host six years in a row. Its documentaries and shows are viewed more than half a billion times a year.

Wells will return to his alma mater to present the Whiteman Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 28 in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. His conference is free and open to the public.

Wells, who prides himself on being a “primitive hunter,” grew up hunting birds and squirrels on a farm near Canton, Illinois. After completing a commerce degree at Monmouth, he became an asbestos contractor, employing 27 consultants. Also buying and selling agricultural real estate, Wells branched out into building commercial properties. Having made his fortune early on, he began to travel the world, pursuing his passion for hunting and capturing his adventures on video.

From his ranch near Canton, Wells runs his businesses and continues to host Relentless Pursuit TV.

“We’ve got a big thing there,” he said of the annual viewership, which could hit three-quarters of a billion by 2022. “It’s crazy how, if you have something tangible and attractive to people, the world is at your fingertips. … Internet algorithms are good at finding what people are interested in. … It has built a huge following of people sharing the same ideas, as well as people who have no interest in hunting and fishing (themselves), but love to watch it. That’s my niche.”

Along with advice to “follow your passion” and “be true to yourself,” Wells can talk about another important business strategy: diversification.

“I started a manufacturing business,” he said. “We build blowguns, spears and probably a dozen other products that we sell and distribute across the country and around the world. So it’s an entrepreneurial business that fits my lifestyle. And I still travel, I hunt and enjoy what I love.”

But the best product for Wells customers is the businessman himself.

“My product, from the beginning, has always been myself and my love for God, my love for family and my love for conservation,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve changed much since then. I’ve used the tools that have developed for filming, shooting and editing to better present what I do, but for the most part my message has always been the same. :- it’s country, I’m a country boy, and I’m no better than the guy next door, I just got lucky enough to find myself in a situation where I can film what I’m doing and show you what’s going on.

The Wendell Whiteman Memorial Lecture brings prominent leaders of American commerce and industry to Monmouth each year. It is named after Wendell Whiteman, a former student of the College and long-time executive of the Security Savings Bank in Monmouth.

“This is my chance to give back to Monmouth College, which was part of the rudder that guided me through life and helped me get off to a good start,” Wells said of the opportunity to give the prestigious lecture. “Every part of this school – football, athletics, intramural sports, my fraternity, even the people who worked in the cafeteria, the faculty that helped guide me – put me on the right track. path for life, so I owe a lot to Monmouth College.”

The most recent lecture in the series was given in 2019, before the pandemic. Wells will be the ninth Monmouth graduate to speak on the series and the third in four conferences, joining Kunal Kapoor ’97 and Dennis Plummer ’73, who spoke in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Other former Monmouth speakers include the late Harold “Red” Poling ’49, Walter Huff ’56, the late James Pate ’63, John Courson ’64, Kevin Goodwin ’80 and Hiroyuki Fujita ’92.

Angela C. Hale