Since My Name is On this Web Site...
I will start with some introduction for those of you who don't know me and an update for old friends who have happened upon this page.
Since 1976, I have owned my own business, engaged in exporting various commodities to many parts of the world. In 1997, I went back to school--first to study for an MBA, then a change of plans because I found what I had always needed in business; a way to understand and anticipate the future. In 2000 I received an MS in Studies of the Future from the University of Houston Clear Lake.
I was impressed with the success of the methods I had learned, but felt they should be available to everyone, not just large organizations. With that in mind, I went on to do research to make futurist's methods available to anyone who wanted to use them, preferably at very low or no cost. For that research, I received a PhD. and since have been writing and speaking about Personal Futures in many parts of the world.
For those of you who found this website and are wondering if this is the Verne Wheelwright they know, I grew up in the Pacific Northwest; first in Grangeville, Idaho, then in the Portland, Oregon area (Milwaukie and Tigard). I raised two boys, Peter (deceased) and Chris (Retired police officer in Portland), then moved to Texas in 1985. Over the years, I have enjoyed skiing, swimming, water skiing, sports car racing, SCUBA diving and traveling.
My interests in Personal Futuring and writing grew, and I eventually retired my export business in 2008 to devote full time to writing, speaking, and conducting workshops about Personal Futures. Lots of examples on this web site. Not all the writing has been about the future, as I have written and published a number of short stories. A sample (Hannah and the Sweeties) is below!
The image above is Verne Wheelwright, an internationally recognized professional in the field of Foresight and Futures Studies. His newest book is Small Business Foresight.
Wheelwright is the author of the award winning book It’s Your Future… Make it a Good One! (now in five languages), The Personal Futures Workbook, Small Business Foresight, and the Small Business Foresight Workbook. He has published articles in a number of professional journals and other publications. Dr. Wheelwright has conducted workshops and addressed audiences in major cities across the U.S. He has also spoken to audiences internationally, including Turkey, Denmark, India, Australia, Japan, Canada and other countries.
In 2006, Wheelwright was awarded a PhD. from Leeds Metropolitan University for his groundbreaking research in the application of futures methods to individual lives. That research led to the development of The Personal Futures Workbook, which provides detailed worksheets and explanations that lead individuals through the same futuring process used successfully by major businesses and institutions worldwide for decades. The workbook was tested in workshop settings, then made available to the general public as a free download at Wheelwright’s web site, www.personalfutures.net. The workbook has been translated into several languages and is used as a text in colleges and universities.
Topics that Wheelwright presents are usually related to personal or small business futures, including:
Personal Futures, Step-by-Step
Strategies for a Very Long Life
Leadership: The Long Term Perspective
Small Business Foresight
Dr. Wheelwright’s book, It’s Your Future… Make it a Good One! offers a detailed explanation of how futures methods can be effectively applied to anyone’s personal life. The book offers insights into how futures methods work and is intended to help individuals develop a long term perspective not only in their personal lives but also in their careers. The book is written to be useful to people of all ages, from teenagers to octogenarians and has been translated into several languages.
Wheelwright earned his Doctoral Degree from Leeds Metropolitan University (UK), a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston (UHCL), and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.
Wheelwright is an active member of the Association of Professional Futurists and a member and Fellow of the World Future Studies Federation. His business and personal travels have taken him to over fifty different countries, offering him insights and an awareness of worldwide cultures that underlies his approach to Foresight and Futures Studies.
The Rio Grande Valley Byliners is a writers' club in Harlingen Texas. Over the past few years, the Byliners have published three books of short stories written by Byliners' members.
Tales Told at Midnight Along the Rio Grande
Published in 2006, this book includes stories and poems by eighteen authors. Many of the stories are about mysterious or unexplainable events. Verne Wheelwright has three short stories in this book, "The Afternoon Walk," The Headless Horseman of the Wild Horse Desert," and "Viper's Revenge."
Collected Tales from the Rio Grande
Published in 2010, twenty-seven writers contributed stories and poems about the Rio Grande Valley. Verne Wheelwright has three short stories in this book. Below, you can download a copy of "Hannah and the Sweeties," You can order this book from Amazon.com.
Here's one short story from "Collected Tales from the Rio Grande":
Hannah and the Sweeties
When the doorbell rang, I thought it would be the driver for DHL, bringing a package, but when I opened the door there was a very small girl standing on the front porch. She smiled big and I saw that her two front teeth were missing, so she must be about six years old.
“I’m Hannah, and I live there” she said, pointing at the new house next door. It had been under construction for nearly a year, and I had met Hannah’s parents when they first visited the empty lot on the corner to plan their new home. They had built a beautiful, large home with a swimming pool and had finally moved in less than two weeks earlier, just in time for school to start.
“Hello, Hannah, I’m Verne. Welcome to the neighborhood!” I stepped out onto the porch and sat on the threshold, which brought me to just about eye level with her. “I’m glad you came to visit.”
“My school is selling raffle tickets for a big-screen television set. Would you like to buy one? They’re going to use the money to build some new classrooms.”
“Okay. Let me write you a check, then you won’t have to worry if it gets lost.”
I didn’t tell Hannah that when I was her age, my school sent me out to sell something and I lost some of the money. I stepped inside to get my checkbook and came back to the porch to write out the check, which I made out to the school. Hannah carefully wrote me a receipt. It was mostly pre-printed, but she wrote in $10 and Hannah. For a six-year-old, she gave a real impression of responsibility.
“Thank you, Verne!” She flashed her no-front-teeth smile and ran out the driveway to the next house on the cul-de-sac.
Fall evenings are warm in Harlingen, usually with a breeze out of the southeast to cool the day’s mid-ninety degree temperatures. My wife and I walk most evenings, traveling a two mile loop around the neighborhood. Whenever we saw Hannah she would call out “Hi Verne!” and I would answer. With time and, apparently some parental prompting, she started calling me Mr. Wheelwright. Then Mr. Verne. Then just “Hi.” I felt she had been intimidated by the demands of adult etiquette.
At first, we saw Hannah nearly every day. She would be shooting baskets in the driveway with her big brother, riding a scooter, playing hop-scotch, drawing chalk pictures on the driveway, and even playing dress up or dolls with a friend.
One day I asked, ‘Hannah, do you know what a palindrome is?” She had no idea. “It’s a word that is spelled the same way forward and backward. Like Hannah.” She smiled, with all her teeth now, but didn’t seem certain what to say, but the smile was sufficient.
Hannah was not only energetic in nearly everything she did, she was also athletic. She was on the basketball and soccer teams in her class at school. Her parents both played golf, and she started taking golf lessons at the Country Club, which was just across the street.
She was a natural. Soon she played in her first tournament, and won in her age group. And her Dad was her caddy. Her parents were both proud of her and happy that she was having so much fun with her golf. For her ninth birthday, she received a package of twelve golf balls, each with a tiny red heart on one side and a number on the other. One through twelve.
Hannah was absolutely excited with her gift. “They’re beautiful! I’m going to call them my ‘Sweeties’!”
She kept them in the original box on her dresser, and when she went to play golf, she would take two with her. And she called them by name; Sweety Number One, Sweety Number Two and so on. And she would talk to them like friends whenever she played golf. She would tee up one of her Sweeties, take a practice swing and say, ”Here we go, Sweety!” and “Whack!”
On the greens, she’d carefully eye the distance and the slope, position herself over the ball then, quietly, “Straight into the cup, Sweety.”
Her Dad worried that Hannah would be upset when she lost one of her Sweeties, so he was a little prepared when she sliced Number Nine into the tall rough. He waited patiently while she walked back and forth through the tall grass, pushing clumps aside with her six iron and asking out loud, “Where are you Number Nine?” The she saw him in an open spot between clumps, smiling at her. Smiling?
“Oh Dad, look! I’ve put a big cut in him! Right under his heart, but he looks like he’s smiling!” So Number Nine was retired to his place in the box on her dresser.
Hannah grew that summer. Straight up. She was only nine, but she was nearly as tall as her parents. The growth spurt affected her game in a number of ways, both mechanically and socially. Mechanically because as arms and legs grew, her personal geometry changed. She had to start using her mother’s clubs, because her own were too short. She also found that the adults at the Club thought she was older
and expected more of her. But Hannah is a quick learner and coped with all the changes very nicely. And continued to improve her game. Moreover, she still had all twelve Sweeties on her dresser.
Which worried her Dad. He knew she would eventually lose one of the Sweeties and was afraid she would be devastated. But even when he was sure she had lost one, she found it, calling “Where are you Sweety?”
Then Number Five went into the water. Dad knew that was it. That ball was gone. As they walked from the tee to the pond, Dad tried to prepare her. “Hannah, I don’t think you’ll find this one. I’ve put quite a few balls in that pond and never got one back.”
“Number Five’s been pretty lucky so far, Dad. And it looked like he went in close to the edge. Maybe we’ll find him.” She showed no signs of the devastation her father had expected. But the determination was clear.
Hannah walked to the edge of the pond, near where she thought Number Five had gone in. She could only see a few inches into the water, no matter how intently she stared. “Where ARE you, Number Five? I don’t want to lose you.”
She probed a clump of grass that was about a foot from the edge with an iron. He wasn’t there. She circled to the left and then to the right. She spotted white! Hannah stepped into the water with one foot and retrieved the golf ball. But it wasn’t Number Five. She tossed the ball to her dad. “Here, Dad. It’s a brand new Nike!” But it wasn’t number Five.
“Hannah, we’re going to have to go. There are people playing behind us.” She thought she saw something. It was like the water had cleared for just a moment, and she saw the red color. The heart. It must be Number Five. “Just one more minute, Dad!” She waded in, bent over where she had seen the red heart in the water and reached down, her face in the water, reaching for the bottom. Then she felt Number Five, grabbed him, stood up and waded ashore, wet from head to toe. Hannah didn’t even look. She knew it was him. She tossed Number Five up onto the grass. “I’ll play him from there.”
Hannah’s father was stunned! Flabbergasted! Relieved. He walked over to Hannah and hugged her, hard. ” I can’t believe you,” he said, “But I do.”
Later in the Clubhouse, people were talking about the girl who dove in the pond to get her golf ball. There were lots of jokes about the high price of golf balls and how some people will do anything to save a stroke. But Hannah wasn’t at the Club. She was already home and Number Five was safely in his place in the box on her dresser.
During the winter, Hannah played on her class basketball team. Her father coached the team and had a great time. And Hannah and I had found something in common. Cookie dough. For the past two years her school had been selling frozen cookie dough. The first year I ordered raisin oatmeal cookie dough and managed to eat some of the dough before my wife baked the rest into cookies. Hannah said she liked the dough as well as the cookies and I told her I thought maybe the dough was better! But the cookies were good. Hannah knew she had a customer for as long as her school offered cookie dough!
That summer, as soon as school was out, Hannah’s golf classes started again, every Tuesday afternoon. She had some close calls with her Sweeties, partly because she had to play faster now. Other players didn’t want to wait while she looked for a lost ball. They weren’t as patient as her Dad had been and would complain if she held up their game while she looked for a lost Sweety. So she made a decision.
At dinner, she announced to her family that she had been worrying too much about losing one of her Sweeties, so from now on she wasn’t going to use them in practice or family games any more. She would save them for serious competition, like tournaments. And if she lost one, she would just have to accept that it was lost and keep playing. Hannah’s mother and father were a little surprised at Hannah’s announcement, because they knew she loved her Sweeties. But they admired the maturity of her decision.
A few weeks later, Hannah was starting her first tournament of the summer. She had three Sweeties in her bag; Number One, Number Two and Number Three. All freshly washed and shined. They looked like new. She was playing Number One, and they were doing very well. At every tee shot, she would quietly say, “Here we go, Sweety!” Then “Whack!”
It was on a sharp dog-leg around the water that Number One went into the deep rough, and Hannah wasn’t sure she had seen where the ball had landed. She hoped her Dad had seen better. Confidently “Daddy Caddy” led her to a spot just a little further than she thought she had seen the ball drop. But they could not find Number One. She walked back to where she thought the ball had landed, but still no luck.
“Hannah, you’re going to have to play another ball and take the penalty. People are waiting.”
She knew. Number One was gone. Her Dad handed her Number Two and she played out the hole and the rest of the tournament with him. She had the lowest score in her age group for that tournament, and won a handsome glass trophy. Her best one so far. She had a big smile when the reporter from the Valley Morning Star took her picture, and more smiles when people came to congratulate her.
In the cart on the way home, there were quiet tears. The kind that break a father’s heart. Dinner was quiet, but after the kitchen was cleaned up. Hannah’s father said, “Let’s go take another look. The course is closed now and there’s still light. I’ll take a flashlight just in case.” Hannah couldn’t believe what she had heard. Silently, she hugged her Dad and they went out the door.
In the golf cart, Hannah’s father drove across the street, took a short cut through a neighbor’s yard and pulled onto a cart path. Hannah was so happy now she was giggling at anything her father said. She was certain they’d find Number One. Soon they were back in the tall grass and Bluebells where they had looked for Number One that afternoon.
In the summer, the South Texas sun stays up even later than golfers do, so they had plenty of light. They started at the point where they had searched in the afternoon and Hannah worked back in the direction from which she had hit the ball while her father looked in the other direction. The sun moved lower, then below the horizon, and the light was fading. As Hannah searched, she talked to Number One,
telling him to stop hiding and let her see him. But he didn’t, and she kept looking, thinking they might need the flashlight after all. She never did see him—she felt him. Under her shoe. She knew it wasn’t a rock, and when she moved her foot, there was Number One.
“Daddy! I found him! I found him! We must have walked right by him a hundred times!”
As they walked back to the cart, she thanked her father for bringing her back her to look for Number One, telling him how much she appreciated this and all the things he did for her, and held his hand as they walked, having no idea what she was doing to her father’s heart. It would be years before he would tell her how important that moment was to him.
There was no announcement this time. Hanna simply retired the Sweeties to their box on the dresser. She’d take them out for putting practice, talking to them like old friends, but she wasn’t taking any more chances with her Sweeties. Besides, she knew she might not play her best when there was a risk of losing one of the Sweeties. Even though she’d won the trophy that day, she thought she might have played better if she hadn’t been worrying about losing Number One.
The morning of her Tenth birthday, there was a box on the breakfast table for her, but the family was nowhere to be seen. Maybe she was just up too early. So she waited. And decided that was one thing she was really not good at. She was good at golf and basketball and running, but she was not good at waiting. She liked action!
They came into the room singing “Happy Birthday, Hannah.” Even her brother was singing and smiling. Finally, her Mother urged her to open the box on the table. They all watched while Hannah unwrapped the package and opened the box.
It was another box of twelve golf balls, each with a bright red heart.
But no numbers.
The note said, “We are the second string, we have no names. It’s OK if we get lost because someone will be happy to find us!”
A Personal Adventure
Donivan, Arnie and Verne travel to Sebring Florida to race. 1960.
The images below are of Verne Wheelwright, in color on the left and in black and white on the right.
Publications by Verne Wheelwright, Ph.D.
(2018)- “What Makes a Change Event Important in Your Life?” The Blueprint on the Future Role of the PA/EA, PAFSA September 2018
(2014)- “Adventures in Personal Genomics.” The Futurist. May-June 2014. 43-45.
(2013)- “Leadership and Long Term Perspective.” Me Inc. Magazine. April, 10-11.
(2010) – “Career Development for a Very Long Life.” Career Planning and Adult Development Journal.26 (2) 82-88.
(2010) – “Strategies for Living a Very Long Life,” The Futurist. November-December.
(2010) – “The Next Wave”, Journal of Futures Studies. 14(4): 107-114
(2009) - “Personal Futures: A Research Method for Individuals”, In: Glenn, J.C. and Gordon, T.J. (ed.). Futures Research Methodology 3.0.
(2009) -“Futures for Everyone”, Journal of Futures Studies,13 (4) 91-104
(2007) “Future Pathways: Using Futures Methods for Personal Strategic Learning.”
(With: Jeff Gold). AHRD International Research Conference. Conference paper.
(2006) “Personal Strategic Planning”, FO/futureorientation, 06 34-36.
(2006) “The Forces That Drive Our Lives”, FO/futureorientation, 04 56-59.
(2006) “A Personal approach to Strategic Foresight”, The Futurist, September-October.
(2006) “Your Personal Future: A Step By Step Guide”, The Futurist, May June.
(2006) “Images of the Future”, FO/futureorientation, 03 44-46.
(2006) “Personal Futures”, FOfutureorientation 01 73-75.
(2003) "Ageing: a personal futures perspective", Foresight, 5 (5).
(2000) "A Profession in the Future?" Futures, 32 913-918.
(2000) "Software for Futurists - Scanning", Futures Research Quarterly, 16 (2) 63-70.
Books, book sections, chapters or essays
(2019) Small Business Foresight. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2017) It’s Your Future…Make It a Good One! Arabic translation by Yahia Tahir, Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2015) Small Business Foresight. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2015) Prospectiva Para Pequeñas Empresas. Translación Dra. Guillermina Baena Paz and Psic. Alethia Berenice Montero. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2014) Uluhlu Lwencwadi Yokufundisa nge Kamva Lomntu. Translation Mphathi Nyewe.
Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2014) キミの人生だ…いいものにしよう！Translation Kazuo Mizuta. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2014) キミの人生だ…いいものにしよう！(Workbook)Translation Kazuo Mizuta. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2013) Un Taller de Futuros Personales. Translation Guillermina Baena Paz and Alethia Berenice Montero. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2012) YOUR Workbook. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2012) Es Tu Futuro… ¡Hazlo Bueno! Translation Guillermina Baena Paz and Alethia Berenice Montero. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2012) O SENIN Geleceğin. Translation Ufuk Tarhan and Füsüsn Kiliçturgay. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2011) Small Business Foresight. www.personalfutures.net. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2011) “The Power of the Long Term Perspective.” In Wagner, Cynthia, (ed.) Moving from Vision to Action. Bethesda: World Future Society.
(2011) The Personal Futures Workbook, Fourth Edition (PDF) www.personalfutures.net. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2010) It’s Your Future…Make It a Good One! Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2010) – “Strategies for a Long Life.” In Wagner, Cynthia, (ed), Strategies and Technologies for a Sustainable Future. Bethesda: World Future Society.
(2010) “New Era – New Careers – New Challenges” In: Talwar, R. and Hancock, T. The Shape of Jobs to Come. Fast Future Research, www.fastfuture.com.
(2010) Dein persӧnliches Arbeitsbuch für deine Zukunft, translation by Mady Host and Cornelia Rheinhold. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2008) Personal Futures Workbook, Third Edition (PDF) www.personalfutures.net. Personal Futures Network, Harlingen
(2006) The Personal Futures Workshop- CD Edition, Personal Futures Network, Harlingen.
(2006) Facilitator’s and Educators Guide to the Personal Futures Workbook, Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2006) A Personal Futures Workbook, Second Edition. Personal Futures Network; Harlingen.
(2005) Personal Futures Workbook, Personal Futures Network, Harlingen.
(2004) "Your Map to the Future", In: Shostak, A. (ed.). Tackling Tomorrow Today, Langhorne, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
(2001) Research Information Management with Biblioscape, C. G. Information.
(1999) "The Mont Fleur Scenarios", In: Glenn, J.C. and Gordon, T.J. (ed.). Factors Required for Successful Implementation of Futures Research in Decision Making, Atlanta: Army Environmental Policy Institute 15-7.
(1999) "The Slidell Priorities Convention", In: Glenn, J.C. and Gordon, T.J. (ed.). Factors Required for Successful Implementation of Futures Research in Decision Making, Atlanta: Army Environmental Policy Institute 26-7.
(1999) "San Angelo Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT) Project", In: Glenn, J.C. and Gordon, T.J. (ed.). Factors Required for Successful Implementation of Futures Research in Decision Making, Atlanta: Army Environmental Policy Institute 27-9.
Thesis / Dissertation
(2006) Personal Futures: Foresight & Futures Studies for Individuals. 1-278. PhD Dissertation, Leeds Metropolitan University, Faculty of Business and Law.
(2000) Professionalization of Futurists: Plausible Scenarios for the Future. Master’s Thesis. University of Houston Clear Lake, School of Studies of the Future.
The image above shows the back cover and the front cover of Small Business Foresight, by Verne Wheelwright
Small business is different from big business!
Small business owners who plan for the long term future of their businesses find that traditional strategic planning methods are very difficult to apply to small businesses. Small Business Foresight, by Verne Wheelwright, PhD. leads readers through the steps of long term planning, shows readers how to recognize the forces of change that will impact the future of their small business, how to build scenarios of plausible futures for the business, and how to create a strategic plan for the future of the business.
Small Business Foresight includes more than 60 figures, tables and diagrams to illustrate how foresight methods work for small businesses. Easy to read and understand, this book will enable small businesses to develop a preferred future, and strategies to achieve that future.
In the United States, there are more than 30 million small businesses. However, one in five will fail in the first year, and half will close their doors within five years. Small Business Foresight will give both start-ups and mature businesses the necessary tools to imagine possible scenarios five or ten years ahead and create contingency plans to survive threats while working towards a preferred future vision. Without these tools, any business is susceptible to the ups and downs of business cycles. With these tools, a business is not only prepared to weather business cycles but capitalize on them.
Dr. Verne Wheelwright earned a graduate degree in “Studies of the Future” at the University of Houston (Clear Lake) then went on to conduct research on how to apply the methods he had learned to individuals and small businesses. His first book, It’s YOUR Future…Make it a Good One! successfully applied the methods of foresight and strategic planning to the lives of individuals. It’s YOUR Future… and the related workbook have been translated and published in several languages. Wheelwright’s more than fifty years as an owner of a small business and nearly twenty years as a professional futurist testify to the substantial experience of this author.
Book Fact Sheet
Small Business FORESIGHT
The Future of Your Business
Author: Verne Wheelwright. PhD.
Author contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Title: Small Business Foresight
Publisher: Personal Futures Network
Distributed by: Ingram
Publication date: November 1, 2019
Hard cover: Gloss, color, case-wrap
Dimensions: 6x9 (6.25x9.25x.75) 260 pages
List Price: $29.95
Markets: Small business owners, Futurists,
Foresight students, Libraries,
Book also includes: More than 60 figures, tables, and illustrations