Tim Weiderhoft ’16 MS MIS grew up valuing education. After all, his mother spent 35 years in the world of academics, where she taught English as a second language. Upon graduating from high school, Weiderhoft began taking university biology classes in the evenings while working as a licensed optician during the day. Eventually he left the optical lab and took a job as a server at Dave & Buster’s, where he saw his pay drastically increase. It was then that he had a choice to make.
“I was making so much money I decided to take a semester off,” he says. “That semester off turned into 10 years.”
Weiderhoft ended up spending 11 years with Dave & Buster’s. In that time, he moved seven times in seven years and worked his way up the ladder to be a general manager. But when he was up for a promotion, Weiderhoft was passed over for another candidate. The main difference between them? Education.
“He had an MBA and I was a college dropout,” Weiderhoft says.
In that moment, Weiderhoft vowed to never again get skipped over due to education. “Missing out on a promotion led to a positive thing,” he adds.
So when he landed a new position at FedEx, Weiderhoft seized the opportunity to earn his bachelor’s degree at Capella University through the company’s tuition reimbursement program.
It wasn’t until he took on a role at Massage Envy in Scottsdale, Arizona, that Weiderhoft began to weigh his options for graduate school.
Thanks to a campus visit for a Wildcats football game and the persuasiveness of his friends like James Copley, Weiderhoft chose the University of Arizona. While he has always loved technology, he knew he wanted to be a “jack of all trades.”
For Weiderhoft, the key was learning to bridge the gap between different sides of a business.
“I decided not to do an MBA but to do an MS MIS instead,” he says. “It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.”
He felt “exceptionally supported” throughout the duration of the program and enjoyed his classes, including one taught by former Eller College of Management Dean Paulo Goes. The takeaways included more than the curriculum. By completing the MIS program online, Weiderhoft learned the importance of organization, self-planning and a personal strategy toward effective problem solving.
“Online does not mean less,” he says. “If anything, I think it’s a little bit more. You learn more about yourself that way than in a traditional classroom.”
Today, Weiderhoft serves as the CEO of Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade—a franchise offering fresh pressed lemonades, acai bowls, smoothies and other healthy foods. His path with the company began in 2016 when his wife gave his business card to the Wow Wow founder. He went on to help the brand with franchising and eventually acquired the organization with his friend in 2019. Since then, Weiderhoft has helped rapidly expand the business. Wow Wow started with four locations and is on track to open 22 by the end of 2022 and 30 by April 2023.
In addition to his full-time work, Weiderhoft is revisiting his passion for learning by pursuing a doctorate degree in education from Capella University. Still, he credits the Eller College with expanding his knowledge of technology and helping him more effectively work with customers. And he continues to proudly stay connected to the University of Arizona.
“The sense of community with the U of A has been tremendous,” he concludes. “I am very proud to be a Wildcat for life!”