David ‘5-1’ Norman has been named President of the non-profit organization, Well Dunn.
Norman first joined the organization in 2020 as a member of the Board of Directors and will be replacing Rick Farman as President, who founded the non-profit in 2012 and will be remaining with Well Dunn on the Board of Directors.
Norman tells Pollstar that he was drawn to the organization due to a desire to pay things forward and help support the next generation of live music.
“When I came onto Well Dunn, I wanted to bring more diversity to it, being a person of color,” Norman tells Pollstar. “But I also am a strong believer that we need more females in this industry – and not just in wardrobe or as a production coordinator or production assistant. We need more female tour managers and production managers.”
Well Dunn was first founded in 2012 to continue the memory of Emily Dunn, a music industry intern who had been hired to open the San Francisco office of Superfly Presents after graduating college. Dunn tragically passed after being hit by a Muni bus just three weeks into her new position, with Well Dunn launching to help both companies and students connect for internships.
“David has dedicated himself to creating a pathway for socioeconomically diverse students,” Well Dunn Executive Director, Nancy Tarr, said in a statement. “Through mentorship, David instills confidence in students and provides them with real-world skills. I am grateful for Rick’s leadership and leading Well Dunn for the last 10 years in Emily’s memory.”
Chris and Deborah Dunn added in a statement: “We are so pleased to have David as President of the Well Dunn Foundation. He embodies the passion Emily had for the Music Festival Industry. We look forward to the continued expansion of our diverse platform for increasing opportunities and access for students.”
Since joining Well Dunn in 2020, Norman has helped create the Well Dunn Mentorship Program as well as the job shadowing initiative. His 35 years of global touring experience has seen him working with industry heavyweights such as Prince, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Green Day and more. During the pandemic, Norman helped lead the Tour Management 101 Webinar series helping the next generation of tour managers learn more about the concert industry.
Speaking on why he decided to step down from his role as President and what he expects to see of Norman in his new roll, Farman said in a statement, “It’s been an absolute honor and pleasure to have helped create Well Dunn and to have played a role in making it the groundbreaking organization it is today. Emily was one of the most inspiring young professionals I’ve ever met and I only hope that we’ve done justice to her memory by guiding others like her to follow their dreams as they seek a future in the entertainment industry. I feel that as Well Dunn celebrates its 10th anniversary this is a good time to step down and bring in fresh leadership to take the helm. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know David through our work together on Well Dunn and have seen firsthand his passion for helping foster opportunities for the next generation. I look forward to working with him and the rest of the board in my new capacity.”
Well Dunn works with its partner network to help place college students and intern prospects with the right opportunity for them, providing a stipend and/or scholarship to help ensure their success within the music industry. Some students from the program who went on to find success in the industry include Natalie Constanza, who started as an intern at Paradigm Talent Agency and went on to get a full-time job at CalFinancial, and Chris Phengsisomboun, who began as an intern at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science and went on to become a full-time employee.
“I wish that I would’ve had an organization like this wen I was starting out,” Norman says. “It could have opened some doors for me. College students, I have found that when they get to their last year of school, they are so angst-ridden because they don’t know what they’re gonna do once they graduate. They don’t know if they’re going to have a job, they don’t know who to contact. And it’s a scary world, especially the students who graduated during the pandemic. I just really wish that I would’ve had this kind of opportunity. The students who take advantage of it really blossom and grow, and they also find out how to talk in business meetings, how to dress, how to present themselves. You see their confidence grow bigger and bigger, and I love seeing that.”
In addition to his new role as President of Well Dunn, Norman will continue with his company, Tour Forensics. He will also remain on the board of the Touring Career Workshop, which will have a forum in Nashville on July 18 and 19. At the Touring Career Workshop next month, Norman has the opportunity to speak about Well Dunn for 10 minutes both days. He is also currently on the road with My Morning Jacket as their tour manager and tour accountant.