Necessity was more than the mother of invention for builder, businessman and venture capitalist Ward Schraeder. It was the catalyst that propelled him to a lifetime of achievements in seemingly unrelated ventures that, in reality, are all linked by the innate talents he possesses. Resourceful, relatable and determined, the Midwesterner literally created his hard-won success story with his own hands. A modern day Renaissance Man and Jack-of-all-Trades, this dedicated family man recently gained worldwide fame as co-star of HGTV’s Bargain Mansions, now in its third season.
A natural handyman, Ward built and fixed things all his life, starting in his youth when he helped his high school football coach construct a modest home, and his father rebuild his grandfather’s ranch house. The family moved often as Ward moved up the corporate ladder, building a new house each time while living on the first floor as work progressed upstairs. Out of economic necessity, he “employed” his four children and taught them construction and the value of hard work along the way. Ward enjoyed the process so much that he continued remodeling homes with his children as his crew, teaching them everything from using tools to installing sheetrock.
The wealth of education and experience he imparted laid the foundation for his daughter Tamara Day’s DIY know-how. Tamara’s youth was spent learning by doing because in the Schraeder home, no one called a repairman to fix things. One of her earliest memories she recalls was spending a time out sitting on the staircase filling holes in the railing with wood putty.
Bargain Mansions evolved from the remodeling business Tamara began with her husband Bill. Fate intervened when Ward stopped by the couple’s house during filming, and a producer invited him to step into the scene. He obliged and was an instant hit. The father/daughter duo renovates formerly grand, neglected manor homes in the Kansas City area into a new family’s forever home.
Enhancing their growing lore – Ward and his wife Trish bought and now reside in the first home rehabilitated on Bargain Mansions, which Ward and Tamara rescued after 20 years of neglect. “The home had great bones and I’m glad my wife and I were able to snag it,” Ward relates. “Tamara did a fantastic job designing it and we look forward to making many family memories there.”
Ward and his daughter Tamara complement each other in a delightful way that draws viewers in. A mother of four, Tamara finds dilapidated properties with tremendous potential, procures them at rock bottom prices, then combines her skills and budget-conscious flair to create eye-popping forever homes guided by Ward’s mentorship. Tamara ensures each structure’s historic features and architectural charm are preserved. Her forte’ is modernizing layouts, enhancing projects with on-trend fixtures and luxurious amenities. The end results are irresistible to buyers.
Ward’s philosophy of “finding something broken, fixing it, and turning it into a success,” has translated to the acquisition of myriad businesses, many in states of failure at the time of his acquisition. His first experience came through a friend of his father-in-law’s seeking a manager for a supply distribution company that turned out to be on the verge of bankruptcy. With hard work and the utilization of resources born of necessity, the business survived and eventually thrived.
Ward went on to develop ventures that began with a food distribution company, followed by a 2,700-head dairy, medical imaging centers, banks and hospitals/assisted living facilities. The entrepreneur in cowboy boots has also delved into an Oregon winery, Freddy’s food franchises, real estate holdings, and oil field explorations.
In December 2019, he joined the board of Rocket Crafters, an emerging propulsion and launch services company producing an affordable payload-to-orbit transport system through new engine technology on Florida’s famed Space Coast. Among the qualities he brings to that launch pad are ingenuity, leadership, mastery of manufacturing and distribution, and proficiency in emerging and changing technology.
Personal development is high on Ward Schraeder’s agenda. A skilled outdoorsman, he researches remote destinations worldwide to pursue his hobbies and passions, including an annual trip to Scotland to hunt on the 76,000-acre estate of Queen Elizabeth’s sister, clad in traditional Scottish tartan plaid. He shares healthy recipes along with construction and even family travel tips on his website, and recently took up the guitar. He treasures times spent with family, particularly his grandkids, and is actively working on remodeling his great-grandfather’s 100-year-old farmhouse.