2012 Hall of Fame: David Harding – Small Start, Big Aspirations

HardingPoorman Group’s David Harding.

David Harding and his fiancée, Diana Lahr, enjoy a peaceful moment together by the lake.

HardingPoorman Group founders Bob Poorman (seated) and David Harding share a light moment during a United Way fundraiser.

David Harding (far left) and his fellow HardingPoorman management team members “rode” into Dallas for a peer group meeting.

“We vowed never to sell to an outside party again,” Harding relates. “Our goal is to build a sustainable business, owned by key employees, that is still around long after we retire.”

Harding has never been afraid to take up Plan B. Upon graduating from Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), he embarked upon a career in radio. Actually, Harding was quite an entrepreneur even before attending IUPUI; perhaps the influence of his father, who owned his own construction business, rubbed off on the younger Harding.

Entrepreneur at an Early Age

Between the ages of 12 and 16, he had a newspaper delivery route, another venture of hanging doorknob advertisements, and a third service that provided piped-in background music for restaurants and offices. The music—reel-to-reel tapes of recorded songs—would be piped in over phone lines.

“My mom would have to rewind the tapes and start them again while I was at school so the music didn’t run out,” Harding recalls.

Oddly enough, his first brush with printing came in seventh grade, when Harding took a class in vocational printing. But at age 16, Harding fell in love with radio. It started with his high school’s radio station, where he did news and sports. His mother would often write notes so that Harding could miss school to cover press conferences and political events. He eventually hosted a talk show and worked for various stations throughout Indianapolis.

“I began to realize I wasn’t going be able to make much of a career out of it,” Harding says of his 12-year journey on the airwaves. “There’s not a lot of money in it; they pay you with ego and the fact that you’re on the radio. But, unless you’re a jock like Howard Stern, it doesn’t pay the bills.”

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