Dave Weiss had just embarked on a commercial modeling career and happened to be in the right place at the right time. He was in the office of his talent agent when she got a call from a Nike apparel tech that needed a fit model because their regular model couldn’t make the booking. The agent looked up at Dave, felt he was a good candidate and sent him directly out to Nike. It turned out Dave not only fit the specs, he fit them better than the talent he was standing in for. From there Weiss embarked on a 10-year stint as Nike’s primary fit model. He also worked as a commercial model for companies such as Columbia Sportswear, REI, Adidas and many others. “At the time I was surprised by my success, but soon realized my skills as an athlete were particularly attractive to sports brands where authenticity was crucial to successfully marketing to their core consumer. As an athlete, my skills were credible which is what companies like Nike were looking for,” Dave explained.
Weiss grew up in Nebraska and was an athlete from an early age. In high school, Dave lettered in track, football and baseball. In track, Dave still holds an unbeaten record at his high school, and he was an all conference wide receiver in football as well. Dave’s accomplishments led him to Black Hills State University in South Dakota where he was a stand out in these sports. He graduated in 1980 with a fine arts major, commercial arts minor.
Ten months later a former college teammate called Dave and suggested he move to Portland where he felt Dave had a good chance to kick-start his career in commercial arts. Upon arriving in Portland sight unseen and without a dime in his pocket, he found a job as a bartender at a prominent hotel on Portland’s scenic waterfront. Falling back on a job he had relied on as a college student to “help pay the bills,” the hotel was the city’s epi-center for traveling celebrities where he served many sports and entertainment personalities.
Dave soon realized there was a real need for an agency that specifically provided real athletes with real skills. Through his tenure in the commercial modeling industry, Dave felt there was a special niche that wasn’t being fulfilled in the market for sports and lifestyle models. With this opportunity in mind, Dave and his wife Molly founded Sports Unlimited together in 1991. They started with 10 athletes. Today the agency represents almost 1,500 models and talent throughout the nation in their Lifestyle and Sports divisions.
"Working with athletes is one of the most rewarding things I enjoy about the business - We get to live vicariously through our talent. We work with athletes and talent who live healthy lifestyles... they are naturally high achievers, competitive, and very positive individuals. Additionally, the lessons learned through being an athlete drive the way I do business today."