Manufacturing 2023: NEIL D. WILKIN JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, OPTICAL CABLE, ROANOKE
Under Wilkin’s leadership, Optical Cable made a strong finish at the end of fiscal year 2022, with $69.1 million in revenue, up nearly $10 million from the previous year.
A three-time graduate of the University of Virginia, with undergraduate, MBA and law degrees, Wilkin was an attorney at McGuireWoods and Kirkland & Ellis before joining Optical Cable in 2001 as chief financial officer and senior vice president, becoming chairman and CEO in 2003. With clients across the globe, Optical Cable manufactures fiber optic cable for telecommunications uses and also military-grade cable for the U.S. military and U.S. allies.
Wilkin serves on the Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation board. He also serves on Carilion Clinic’s executive committee and chairs its finance committee.
PERSONAL MOTTO: Adapt, improvise and overcome, which I believe is essential to the entrepreneurial spirit and enables you to look for solutions rather than only seeing obstacles.
FIRST JOB: I started a lawn-mowing business before high school — and by “business,” I mean I was the only one doing the work.