Jim Carpenter, Founder, CEO & President
In 1981, Jim opened the first WBU location, a 700 square foot retail shop on the north side of Indianapolis. By 1983, he began franchising the concept, which has grown to more than 300 locations across the US and Canada. Jim is intensely involved in the hobby, having designed many successful bird feeding products and developed retail concepts implemented in Wild Birds Unlimited stores. He is author of The Joy of Bird Feeding, a 400+ page book published in 2017 which is a guide to attracting and feeding backyard birds. Jim holds a B.A. in Biology from Indiana University and a Master’s Degree in Horticulture/Plant Physiology from Purdue University.
Paul Pickett, Chief Development Officer
Paul’s career with Wild Bird Unlimited has perfectly combined his love of birds, nature and people. Paul joined the WBU team as the first full time employee in 1989 shortly after graduating with his Master’s Degree in Biology/Ornithology from the University of North Dakota. Paul has more than two decades of experience in working with potential franchisees as they decide to join the WBU team and has managed all of the site selection/lease negotiation assistance for the WBU system.
Patricia Perkinson: Executive Vice President / Chief Operating Officer
Pat has served as our Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since June 2013. Prior to that time, she served as Vice President of Retail Sales since October 2007, as Managing Director of Retail Sales from 2006 to April 2007 and as Director of Retail Operations since 1995.
Pat joined Wild Birds Unlimited in 1995 after more than 20 years in women’s specialty apparel retail. Her previous experience included buying, merchandising, personnel management and operations beginning with single unit operation all the way to an 80 unit regional responsibility. She began her career with WBU as the Director of Retail Operations and was responsible for building the foundation of one-on-one support of our franchise store owners and developing the team of business consultants. She has been responsible for the overall direction of Franchise Center Support staff since 2007. Pat was raised in rural Pennsylvania where her father passed on his love of nature and the outdoors to her.
John Schaust: Chief Naturalist
Prior to joining Wild Birds Unlimited in 2004, John spent 26 years as a professional naturalist with federal, state and local agencies, specializing in environmental education, nature center operations and natural resources management. John is an avid birder and backyard bird feeder and has been a federally licensed bird bander for almost 30 years. As WBU’s Chief Naturalist, he enlists scientific research about birds in the development of new bird feeding products and nature education materials for WBU franchise stores.