Former NFL Player Dave Dawson Is Building An Entrepreneurial Empire

From starting a fashion line to launching a CBD brand, this ex-wide receiver is scoring big in the business world.

Nate Joseph/Skycraft Studios

If you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life, or so people claim. But for Dave Dawson, a former NFL wide receiver, it seems to be a matter of fact. 

In the years since his football career ended, the California native has poured his passion, intensity and drive towards entrepreneurship. Now, Dawson has his fingers in more pies than one can count, following his interests in film, music, fashion, medicine and more into an array of ventures, stretching from Hollywood movies to a Polynesian-inspired fashion line. 

But for all of the financial endeavors that take up his time, money is seemingly never his top priority. Perhaps that’s why the former athlete speaks of his work in terms of relationships, community and helping others, rather than in terms of revenue and profit. 


“I always say there’s a warrior side of you that you’re just used to, that’s a little difficult to let go of. You have to find the fulfillment you’d get from competition,” Dawson explains about his transition from elite athlete to entrepreneur. “It is in the end very freeing to get to improve other people’s lives through business.” 

Speaking to the high-energy Dawson about his diverse ventures can leave one’s head spinning, but through it all, one cannot help but notice that in all that he does, the up-and-coming renaissance man focuses on helping others, strengthening his community, and investing in the people around him. 

“I always say I never do something that I don’t believe in myself,” admits Dawson. “I encourage other people to find things that truly interest them, and then give themselves over to it. That way you’re always enjoying whatever you’re doing.” 

A multi-talented artist, Dawson caught the film bug while working as an extra on the Mel Gibson Vietnam War movie We Were Soldiers. Getting this behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking led to Dawson’s interest in the industry, and his eventual work on the film Shadow Wolves, a thrilling action story about a group of Navajo trackers working to stop a terrorist on American soil. 

In addition to crafting his own upcoming film and television projects, he can also be found in the recording studio, continuing his passion for music. But his creative interests expand beyond entertainment, as his boldest venture yet fulfills a lifelong interest, fashion. 


“I’ve always wanted to have an apparel line since I was a kid. I remember being in sixth grade, and I cut a shirt and did some unconventional things to it. It was horrible. But I thought one day I would love to do something unique that’s personal to me, personal to the Polynesian people. And I just happened to meet Fa‘avae Fa‘avae, who’s become a very close friend of mine, who already had a working vision of a Polynesian apparel line that not only is a front runner for our people, but also inclusive of all cultures and you know, bringing the aloha to everyone.” 

It’s here where Dawson really brightens up, speaking about combining a business he loves with the sense of community that is such a big part of Polynesian culture, and its ability to share this attitude with the world. 

“It’s a clothing line that brings our culture to the world, and all the positive vibes that come through that from the Polynesian culture. Everybody’s curious about the islands and where the aloha comes from and I think it’s a great platform to further that.”

The fashion line, Island Avenue, is already a hit, having been embraced by large retailers and influencers alike, including global superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

While creative ventures are clearly a big part of Dawson’s burgeoning empire, his scientific and physiological interests have brought him to the forefront of one of the fastest growing medical industries, CBD, with his role in the founding of the company ADM Labs. Initially Dawson learned of the emerging medicine when his father used it during his battle with cancer. 

“But, as I dove deeper into it, I saw so much potential with people that are using it for seizures, using it for anxiety, for sleep, for pain relief,” Dawson recalls. 


“It’s such a powerful tool for the world and it can change lives so quickly for the better… I would say the motivation behind it comes from the same platform internally for me where I want to help others. I get a lot out of that and I really enjoy it. Whether it’s bringing people’s dreams to life on film, or whether it’s a business that I’m invested in, I typically go for businesses that I believe will impact the world and make it a better place.” 

But regardless of the growth and success of his diverse business empire, Dawson is unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Pondering the future, he admits 

“I think retirement is doing what you love, whenever you’re able. And I think that doing these projects has always been very fulfilling to me in that way. So in that sense, I would never retire… I think if you’re always trying to serve people around you, you’ll always be young at heart.”