He taught business students to follow dreams

By STEPHANIE HAYES, Times Staff Writer
Published September 5, 2007

TAMPA - He worked in a world of mergers, job cuts and outsourcing. But Alan Weimer had a secret that he shared with everyone he met:

Passion. It was his key to everything.

As a manager at big corporations, he'd take young employees under his wing. When one confessed a dream of opening a business in Australia, Alan said go.

"He would take these kids and teach them about doing work that you love," said his wife, Evelyn Bless. "Go do the adventurous thing. The teaching was just a natural progression for him."

Alan died Saturday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 55.

At the University of Tampa, he taught business and became director of the MBA program. He headed the Naimoli Institute of Business Strategy, where students got hands-on experience analyzing companies.

His path to teaching was peppered with wanderlust and corporate jobs.

As a teen in Washington, D.C., Alan worked in his family's furniture warehouse and got early exposure to running a business, his wife said. As an adult, he wanted a change of scene, and landed in California. There he met Evelyn, his co-worker for several years.

"He just gradually started getting kind of interested in me," she said. "He was sort of hanging out around me, looking over my shoulder."

Friends saw the fire, well into their 18-year marriage.

"He was always winking at her, giving her that little dimple grin, flirting with her constantly," said friend Sherry Connolly.

Alan analyzed everything. On a trip to Holland, he became entranced by the complexity of tulips. His friends told him to get over it.

He loved blues music, his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and his dogs. When he found a beloved dog, Candy, lying on the floor last year, he tried to revive her with CPR.

He savored good meals and drinks. Alan and his best friend, Hemant Rustogi, hunted for the world's best tequila to sip together. Two months after they met, the two friends threw an impromptu "Thanksgiving in July," because they were so grateful to be friends.

Rustogi, who is from India, said his friend voraciously read books about Hindu and Indian culture, and doted on Rustogi's kids.

"He always came home loaded with gifts," Rustogi said. "He would spend an obscene amount of money on my children."

About six years ago, the two men started a nonprofit program called BizKidz, designed to inspire and motivate inner-city kids.

Again and again, Alan Weimer spouted his well-traveled message - find what you love, and do it.

Stephanie Hayes can be reached at shayes@sptimes.com or 727 893-8857.


Alan Weimer

Born: Feb. 16, 1952.

Died: Sept. 1, 2007.

Survivors: Wife, Evelyn Bless; mother, Dorothy Weimer, brother Marvin Weiner and his wife, Cyla; sister-in-law, Bette-Claire Weiner; nephews and nieces, Lee Weiner, Lori Weiner Horkan, Craig Weimer, Jessica Weiner and Julie Weiner.

Services: Visitation from 1 to 2:30 p.m. today at Trinity Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, New Port Richey.