Rifle maker CEO builds on his ministry background

October 31, 2019

Adam Weatherby (’03) is in his third year as president and CEO of Weatherby Inc., a company that has manufactured rifles, shotguns, ammunition, and accessories for the past 75 years. It is the oldest, family-owned rifle company in the U.S. and one of most prestigious brands in precision rifles and shotguns.

“My father took it over from my grandfather (Roy), who founded it in 1945, and I took it over from my father (Ed), so it is truly a generational business,” said Weatherby, who earned his Master of Arts in Religion through Liberty’s distance learning program (now Liberty University Online).

Before operating the family business, Weatherby served as a youth pastor at Atascadero (Calif.) Bible Church for 14 years, leading mission trips around the world, speaking at youth events, and serving on the main teaching team.

“I never knew when I was in ministry if I would ever come back to run the business, but I have followed God’s calling on my life,” Weatherby said. “This is an incredible opportunity to combine my passion for the outdoors and ministry and to use my gifts and talents to be a light unto the world. It is a different challenge to show up to work every day in the business world, but I still try to love people and minister to people the same way.”

He has incorporated his spiritual leadership skills into the workplace, where he now oversees a staff of 71 employees.

“What I do is take what I learned in ministry — working with people, communication, leadership, vision, and a passion for success — and I hire people who are experts in engineering, manufacturing, accounting, sales, and finance, whatever it takes to run a business,” Weatherby said. “I call people to a vision and communicate that vision.”

The company was based in coastal California for 74 years but recently relocated to Sheridan, Wyo., where it opened its new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant in March.

“Moving to Wyoming, which is an outdoor haven with excellent big-game hunting, has provided a place where we can better flourish as a business,” he said. “There are more guns per capita in Wyoming than in any other state and its government and people are committed to upholding the Second Amendment.”

As he carries on his family’s legacy, Weatherby works passionately to assure the quality of his company’s merchandise.

“Every product we send out of our factory has my name on it, so I don’t take that lightly,” he said.

Weatherby said studying with Liberty while living on the West Coast proved helpful in both careers and that the delivery method was well ahead of its time.

“Liberty is a pioneer, and its distance learning program is second to none, even when I was in it,” Weatherby said. “Now, the technology is even better and I have recommended the online program to a number of people in various fields.”

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