The open air gets Steven K. DeWolf’s heart thumping and his entrepreneurial spirit pumping. DeWolf, co-founder and managing partner of Bellinger & DeWolf in Dallas, has embraced the vast, open areas of Texas as an investment opportunity — he has eight wind farms in various stages of development — and he takes to the skies above to pursue his favorite pastime, flying his 1943 PT-17 open-cockpit biplane.
“There are lots of windy places in Texas,” he says matter-of-factly. As someone concerned enough about the country’s dependency on foreign oil before the current war in Iraq to write editorial commentaries about it, DeWolf became interested in wind farms when his father-in-law sent him an article on them.
“My wife was kind enough to let me spend some money to develop my first farm,” a 3,000-acre west Texas expanse that he has since sold, using the proceeds to develop three more farms. He currently has eight wind farms in various stages of development, two of which are scheduled to “go online” next spring.
His company, Wind*Tex Energy, uses the slogan “Not just hot air,” a phrase he finds especially fitting given his day job.
DeWolf, whose legal work includes everything from business disputes, personal injury and employment litigation to wind energy law, attended the United States Naval Academy where he says he would have been a pilot if he had the perfect eyesight required. He pursued his pilot’s license and eventually purchased the biplane that he flies in air shows today in homage to his father, who flew the same model as a colonel in the Air Force. Flying, he says, provides a great relief from work.
“There are a lot of gray areas in the legal profession. When you fly a plane, it’s precise. It’s all about staying in formation and keeping a certain altitude. I love the focus that it requires.”
An adventurer at heart, DeWolf ran with the bulls in Pamplona in 2004, climbed Mt. Fuji when he was living in Japan, and swam in a 2-and-a-half-mile race while vacationing in Maui.
“Every day is interesting. I’m very lucky,” he says.