Growing up in the small town of Towner, South Dakota, Wade’s family lived on the land homesteaded in 1885 by Wade’s Norwegian great, great grandmother. At the age of 12 years old, Wade attended tractor school to ensure that he could work on neighboring farms. As a member of a family of modest means – Wade’s mother worked as a registrar of deeds for the county and his father was a rural mail carrier – his earnings helped his family and allowed him to save for a college education.
At the University of North Dakota, Wade was actively involved in student life. He was the photography editor of the student newspaper and he served as student body president of the University — an interest in politics and a love of photography that continue to this day.
After graduating from college, Wade joined Paine Webber as an account executive. It was here that he developed an affinity for and expertise in the annuities market. From Paine Webber, Wade took a position as a wholesaler with Integrated Resources, and later moved on to become the National Sales Manager at Planco. From Planco, Wade became the National Sales Manager for American Skandia and the face of the company, leading its sales and marketing efforts from the launch of the company in 1988.
As Chief Marketing Officer at American Skandia, Wade led the emergence of one of the industry’s highest performing sales teams, reaching 125 field wholesalers in the wirehouse, bank and financial planner channels, and selling variable annuity, 401k, mutual fund and variable life products. Named CEO in 2000, Wade partnered with Goldman Sachs to guide the sale of the company to Prudential Financial for $1.2 billion in 2003.
After the sale of American Skandia, Wade, his wife and three boys traveled the world for a year, and lived in Italy as part of an international educational experience for the children. Now living in Bozeman with his wife, Susi, Wade has continued his entrepreneurial pursuits with the co-founding of WealthVest Marketing, the founding of PureWest Properties, and as a managing member of Bullis Creek Ranch.
Wade is a dedicated father, serving as the Debate Team Coach at Bozeman High School and encouraging his children’s educational and athletic pursuits. All of the Dokken family members are avid skiers and hikers, and enjoy the wide variety of outdoor activities in Southwestern Montana. Wade also actively participates in community activities and outreach efforts, looking in other countries and his own backyard to give back and improve the quality of life of other’s.