View Full Version : A new career....third time's a charm....

Kelly C. Hanna
07-02-2008, 7:00 PM
I have completely changed what I do twice in life so far and it looks like the third change is coming up soon. I put an ad on craigslist and offered up all my cedar and pine shorts...the lady and her husband that resonded and picked up all the wood have become very good friends of ours in the process and we've taken to helping them with their wildlife rescue, rehab and education center.

Turns out they really needed a ton of lumber and fence sections so I 'donated' several demo jobs worth of both to them. We talked over dinner one night and I told them I would help them build the enclosures and cages, donating my time and tools of course. They were pretty surprised...probably more than I was to learn they were doing all this work on their own without monetary donations.

Later that night in conversation they mentioned they wanted to relocate within a few years to Canada [BC]. At that point Mike told me he was only hed back by the fact that there would be no-one to operate the ranch and the wildlife center. I told him without even thinking that I would do it in a heartbeat. He told Val [his wife and the rehab expert] and she about cried with joy. So the idea was born.

Later that week I learned that Val and Mike decided to roll full steam on our idea. As soon as I get certified, I will officially become the Operations Manager for the Cross Timbers Ranch. The deal includes two very sweet perks. First up is a new log home and a new shop with state highway frontage in a thicket of native Texas trees.....tons of them!

The shop will be around 1200-1400 square feet and the house around 1400. If luck prevails, both will be log structures, but the shop may turn out to be metal if the funding runs short of our predictions. I am also going to try and work in a small showroom in front of the shop facing the hwy. The property the ranch is on is 15 acres right now with 22 more in the plan. I'll get the 2-3 acres up front and the rest will be dedicated to the wildlife. I am working on the plans right now...should be done in a couple of months. To be sure there will be a thread on this one once we get going.

Our goal at the center is to build and operate the finest wildlife rescue & rehab in Northeast Texas. We'll also specialize in education in conjunction with the rescue teaching people all about animals and our environment. I plan to become a master naturalist soon after certification. Our education programs will also include living green and our local environment.

I hope the house and shop will both be powered by solar power. Gonna need a lot of luck on this part as that is very expensive, but if we can swing it, the resulting power can run both the center and our house/shop and even make a bit off the power company. I'll be installing rain collection and the entire are around our property will be xeriscaped or left natural. There is a natural spring on the property feeding the big fish pond so I guess I'll have to take up fishing again :D.

With the shop comes the 2nd new career...rustic cedar furniture making. Log beds and such are a natural for the lake homes around our area. My designs are different from any other being made. 50% of the proceeds from this venture will go back into the wildlife center to help pay for the shop and the house. I will also continue taking comissions for other furniture projects, but the focus will be rustic cedar.

Our first big meeting at the ranch is Thursday...I am of course, very excited about all this and am about to be busier than ten long tail cats!! But the end result is a very satisfying career that has no age limitations. I always told the wife that I will never retire and this move will cinch that prediction for sure.

Eddie Watkins
07-02-2008, 7:15 PM
Congratulations Kelly, I hope it works out to be something you really enjoy.


Jim O'Dell
07-02-2008, 8:00 PM
Kelly, that is GREAT news!!!
On the solar power part, contact the manufacturers and see if they can help out with that. Show them the group and what you will be doing. It might be a big selling point for them to have their name out there. Especially with the clients you will be working with.
Be sure to work on getting a 501c3 for the organization. I would think that there are groups that would help you with the paperwork. Maybe contact other wildlife rescue groups for help. Solicit donations from corporations, especially those in Dallas. Maybe decide a way to show sponsors in a way that helps highlight that corporation to your clients.
I'm very happy for you, and anxious to hear more. Jim.

Ron Jones near Indy
07-02-2008, 8:06 PM
Sounds like this is something you are really looking forward to. Congrats and good luck!

Richard Wolf
07-02-2008, 8:40 PM
Best of luck. God speed the project.


Jim Becker
07-02-2008, 10:44 PM
Woah! That's really kewel Kelly!!!! What a wonderful opportunity to both "make a difference" and also give some new spark to your life. I hope I'll be able to visit the new digs someday.

BTW, don't forget you need a whole lot of, umm...deck space...for your "cooker collection"! LOL :D

Tim Morton
07-02-2008, 10:51 PM
On a night where its pretty tough to have a whole lot of faith in the human race after what happened here in vermont tonight, its GREAT to read that good things do happen in the world..congrats kelly!!!!

glenn bradley
07-03-2008, 9:59 AM
Life is an adventure and you're living it. Sounds like a great idea.

Peter Stahl
07-03-2008, 11:14 AM

Congrats on the new career. I saw a commercial that said many states will pay you to install solar so you might want to try the power company too.

jeremy levine
07-03-2008, 11:17 AM
Congrats, sounds pretty amazing, keep up all updated so we can live vicariously through you. We expect pictures :)

Dennis Peacock
07-03-2008, 1:56 PM

That's great news buddy..!!! I hope and pray the best for you and the entire ranch.

Chris Padilla
07-03-2008, 2:47 PM
Cool beans! Ah, life's paths...it is amazing where they can take us. Best wishes to you and your family in the new venture!

...when ready, we'll only be too happy to discuss your new shop...in the Workshop forum! :D

Kelly C. Hanna
07-05-2008, 3:49 PM
Thanks guys....I am VERY EXCITED!!

Jim O...
I found out Thursday that the 501 c3 is almost done and ready to file and that his lawyer is saying the entire deal should be done by August. What this means is that funding could come as early as September. Oddly enough I am booked until that month so it should be smooth transition.

Jim B....
Yessir on both counts I will let you know when I get out there so the next time you are in town if you have time you can swing out.

I am definitely looking forward to documenting both the log home building and the shop. I'll be free from having to update the deck site so I'll have plenty of time to get it all in pics.

Rich Konopka
07-05-2008, 4:55 PM
Awesome News !!! It sounds like you have a new mission in life and it found you. Good Luck.

Jim O'Dell
07-05-2008, 6:20 PM
Great news Kelly. The 501c3 can be a big help. But it also takes time, perseverance, some know-how, and a little luck to boot, to get the donations. Sounds like your partner has a good plan already set up! Jim.

Billy Chambless
07-05-2008, 6:20 PM
Kelly, that's great to hear! Sounds like good work to be doing, and somethign you'll find satisfying.

Steve Jenkins
07-05-2008, 7:16 PM
Terrific news Kelly.Where are you going to be located?

Kelly C. Hanna
07-08-2008, 5:04 PM

We'll be 9 miles north of Terrell and 3 miles south of Quinlan on HWY 34. The property sits right on the county line on Hunt County Road 2312....half in Kaufman County [we'll still have a Terrell address]. The good news...I will finally be living in the country!

Martin Shupe
07-08-2008, 5:31 PM
Sounds like a great gig, Kelly. Please keep us informed about your progress with your new career.

John Schreiber
07-09-2008, 2:53 PM
Congratulations. It's great to be working where your heart is and it's easy to tell that your heart is in this one.

Best of luck and thanks for taking care of the animals for us.

Lee Koepke
07-09-2008, 10:09 PM
Thats pretty neat.

Once upon a time, I volunteered some of my time to help out at a wildlife rescue center as well. They also 'adopted' retired performance animals at this place.

I helped with some repairs at their visitors center, and they let me feed some of the animals ( none of the big cats though )

Congrats and best of luck !!!

Kelly C. Hanna
02-01-2009, 10:52 PM
Houston we have a delay....

Looks like it might be a long one. Plans have changed drastically on their end and us moving out to the ranch is not going to happen after all. The funny thing is that both of us are OK with that part due to a closer look at the particulars of us actually owning the land. Seems that was going to be a sticky deal at best. The setup now doesn't lend well to anyone staying there on a permanent basis.

After talking to Jana about it, neither one of us is all that hot on leaving our current house for a place that might have a finite time limit. I told her I only want to move IF we're making it the last one. Also we want a log cabin and that's not going to happen since Mike missed the deadline for the big $$ investors. Looks like they'll have to go through more conventional funding means and my position might not make it into their immediate plans.

Knowing this was a possibility, I kept my ad going and have also initiated a new venture in the rustic furniture arena both locally and on the web. I'll expound more on that later when it goes live, but suffice to say this is closer to my original plan than the ranch was. I am somewhat glad but somewhat disappointed as well, the original plan was a good one for both of us.

I am still volunteering on Saturdays and will continue to do so until spring when it gets busy again. I got a statement from the ranch for $11,500 in donations so my taxes this year will bevery much in my favor rather than the IRS's. Since this was my first year as an LLC, I should be getting enough back to enlarge the shop and green up the truck quite a bit. The enlarged shop will lend well to the furniture addition to the business. I'll be starting a construction thread on that very soon I hope.

On greening the truck, I am trading a big block I got in another trade deal for a 2001 Chevy 5.3 liter v-8 and 4L60E transmission which will both be installed in my 70 daily driver. This will net me 20 mpg and 325 hp [after I add the cam and headers]. Can't wait to double my mileage! SHould have this done by fall of this year. I will sell my current running gear and in turn get another 5.3/4L60E for the stepside. No more old tech for me.

So things are changing rapidly, but unless there's a miracle in the near future I am still going to be in business for myself. No worries there of course...at least I know how to do this work!

John Keeton
02-02-2009, 6:53 AM
Kelly, things have a way of working out for the good - and, so will this. BTW, you may need to revisit your signature line on your profile!

Kelly C. Hanna
02-02-2009, 7:03 AM
Yeah, now I gotta think of another one.

Dennis Peacock
02-02-2009, 10:25 AM
Good on you Kelly!!!!! I hope that all works out well for you and that it all is nothing but success for you. Head up and keep on keeping on until all the dust settles.

Jim O'Dell
02-02-2009, 10:58 AM
Sorry the other plans may not happen. I know you were excited about the possibility. Keep on keepin' on. If there is supposed to be a big change, it will happen. If not, you have your nitch nicely cut out. Jim.

Jim Becker
02-02-2009, 9:09 PM
Well...I'm glad that you were able to ascertain that things might not work out before you moved out there! THAT would have been a real pain....

'Looking forward to the shop expansion and new business, Kelly.

Jim Kountz
02-02-2009, 10:05 PM
Wow Kelly, sounds like one hell of a deal and doing something you love to do is a plus too!! My wife was reading this and said "Id love something like that!" Shes a real animal lover x 1000. I love my dogs and my big fat cat but thats about as far as it goes with me. I couldnt do what you're going to do but Im glad there are folks like you who will, the critters need this.

Kelly C. Hanna
02-03-2009, 1:43 AM
Thanks guys...I am hopeful that someday I will be working out there, but for now I am just glad to be working at all. Val emailed earlier with a huge project list of over $150k that I will GC for them. The deadline is maniacal [April], but if the funding for that phase happens I'm game to try it.

I named the furniture venture Wildwood Timbers. I should have the webpage up soon and the first item listed for sale very soon afterwards. Thanks to everyone for the wellwishes. I am going to give it a heck of a try!

I too am very excited about the shop expansion. I am going to get my taxes done very soon so I can get started!

Jim....if your wife loves animals, I'll forward the new website when Val gets it done. She will love it!

Kelly C. Hanna
05-23-2009, 11:13 PM
The new career isn't going to happen, but the resulting deal is much better than I ever would have gotten to begin with. Seems the lady who is running things is forever changing course so her husband is taking the drivers seat. I had told him last month that the window was closing for me to run the ranch as I have decided to open another area for my company and run two crews. This is to finance the furniture building and an addition to my shop. It also will allow me to follow another idea I have been toying with. Sorry but this one has to remain under wraps but suffice to say it is a huge idea that is perfect for the new economy we all are faced with and it does have to do with woodworking and recycling...more on that later.

He is assembling a board of directors who will be contracting Art Deck-O to do ALL of the caging, construction, signage and land/tree management for the Wildlife Center. In return for a good discount, we'll be getting tons of free advertising and a big write off each year....gotta love that!

Anyway, the idea was fun while it lasted and while i will continue to volunteer out there regularly, this new deal is a far site better for everyone involved...especially me!

Don Bullock
05-24-2009, 12:00 AM
Kelly, it's bee a while since all this started. It's great to see that things are finally working out for you. I wish you the best.

Chris Padilla
05-24-2009, 12:27 PM
3rd time is a charm...kinda sorta the third time, right??!! ;)

Everything's sounding positive, Kelly, so all's well that (eventually) ends well! :D

David Keller NC
05-24-2009, 2:53 PM
Kelly - Since you mentioned that the folks running this place are friends, thought I might mention something. There's a fairly well established wildlife re-hab center here in NC called The Piedmont Wildlife Center. "Well Established" means it's been there a few years, though I know that the foundation running it has continual fud-raising issues.

The thought here is that your friend might want to contact them - they may be able to offer pertinent advice on running such a place.

There's another similar foundation here as well, though it isn't a native wildlife center per se - it's called the Carnivore Preservation Trust. They re-hab big cats siezed from illegal zoos, irresponsible owners, etc... Same deal - might be good to contact them and ask for advice.