Ken is an avid back yard birder and finds great pleasure sharing and hearing about experiences with customers. He was raised in Irving, TX and spent much of his childhood exploring the Carpenter Ranch, now known as Las Colinas. It was pretty wild back then with no paved roads on 3700 acres to roam. He also enjoyed the many family road trips to visit his grandparents in Arkansas which included frequent excursions to special scenic places in the Ozark Mountains. At the age of 6, he joined the Boy Scouts of America. Many weekends were spent in campsites with his father, his twin brother learning outdoor skills and the value of sharing outdoor experiences with others. His love of camping, hiking and exploring the wilderness that began as a child are still an important part of his life today. Ken finds great joy in taking his close friends on hikes into the wilderness to share the special hidden treasures he discovered over the years. He is a member of the Ozark Highland Trails Association and visits that trail system often.
One fateful day in May 1994, Ken was in a specialty store shopping for a hummingbird feeder as a gift for Mother’s Day. During that visit, he overheard a conversation from the owner about franchise opportunities in the business. The next morning, he introduced himself to David Hurt, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited on Lovers Lane in Dallas. With encouragement from David, Ken purchased a franchise, opening his first store in Fort Worth, TX on Camp Bowie Blvd. and then opened a satellite store in Hulen Mall just weeks later. He went on to open his 2nd store in Arlington, TX in 1996. After many years operating multiple stores in the Metroplex and sharing the hobby with thousands of other bird lovers, Ken dreamed of taking this business concept to his favorite place from his childhood. He sold his stores in Texas and moved out of the big city to open his 3rd store in Fort Smith, Arkansas, well known as a bird sanctuary. It was there that Ken met his wife Lonnah. It was love at first sight. Lonnah was employed with the Boy Scouts and was also working to bring kids and nature together. Many weekends were spent hiking, camping and exploring special scenic places with their two young daughters in the Ozark Mountains and the Buffalo River Wilderness where they soon learned to love nature and the outdoors.
After years in the bird feeding hobby/business, Ken began a new venture working as a commodities trader, buying and selling truckloads of peanuts and treenuts used in specialty bird seed blends, seed cylinders and suet cakes sold at Wild Birds Unlimited and other stores in the industry. Ken eventually made his way back to Wild Birds Unlimited in Dallas where it all started.
Now back in Dallas, Ken’s wife Lonnah continued her career working at the Boy Scouts National Office in Irving, TX. This gave Ken the opportunity to serve as a volunteer at the National Scout Jamborees in 2010, 2013 and 2017 where thousands of kids from all over the nation and the world share a once in a lifetime outdoor experience. He hopes to continue his volunteer efforts with kids in retirement at future Jamborees as well as the high adventure bases at Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier and the Summit.
Ken’s life changed that day in May 1994 when David Hurt encouraged him to open a store in Fort Worth, TX. That meeting led to a friendship and partnership in this business that endures to this day. Working now with David and the staff of the Dallas store provides that needed connection with nature and those with similar interests. It also affords a lifestyle that allows frequent trips to his “Happy Place” in the Ozark Mountains where retirement beckons and the next chapter begins.
Favorite Bird: Pileated Woodpecker. This was also one of my favorite childhood cartoons “Woody the Woodpecker”
Favorite Food: Peanuts and Treenuts, of course!
Favorite Feeder: Eco Clean Peanut Feeder
Favorite Bird Experience: I observed an Indigo Bunting and a Summer Tanager perched side by side on a tree limb! I was in the Ozark Mountains high above Hawksbill Craig, which is a favorite hike I have shared with many friends and family.