My interest in taxidermy began in 1978 after seeing an ad for The Northwestern School of Taxidermy correspondence course in a Field and Stream magazine. After completing the course, almost two years later, I began to mount fish and birds for myself and family members. Over the years, I have gone from a hobby taxidermist to a part-time and now full-time taxidermist.
I became a part of the Missouri Taxidermy Association and the Kansas Association of Taxidermists in 2007 and had my first experience with competition. Through interaction with many talented artists, receiving judging critiques, attending seminars and learning opportunities, I have watched my work improve and my grow. In 2013, I accepted the position of Secretary of the Kansas Association of Taxidermists and currently serve as President of the KAT.
My beautiful wife Michele and I have six children between us. Three of our children are married, and another recently became engaged. Our youngest daughter is a senior in high school. We have one grandson. Outside of the studio, I enjoy the outdoors, fishing, hunting, bicycling, gardening and spending time with Michele and our kids. I love watching sports, including Notre Dame, Mizzou and Kansas State Football.
I am pleased to be working for you on the BOD of the UTA. Please call anytime and I look forward to working with you in the future.
BOB PREWITT has been a plumber for the last 20+ years working in the custom residential and commercial industry. At the same time, his love of hunting and fishing, started him down the road to taxidermy, so for the last 18 years, he has been doing taxidermy part-time and competing in state and regional competitions. Over these years, he has met some very interesting and talented individuals, who have helped him improve his taxidermy skills and have developed life-long friendships that he values.
Due to a car accident 4 years ago, he no longer works in the plumbing industry and currently works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with his wife, Susan. Their son recently graduated from SUNY Maritime Academy and is traveling the world. Also, they have 2, four-legged children that they spoil more than their son.
JOHN JENNINGS complements a 20+ year IT career with a business and marketing degree. An engineer by trade and artist by heart, he owned and operated a successful taxidermy studio, Heads or Tales Taxidermy, before marrying his wife, Sara, in 2007. They now run Taxidermy Direct, LLC., cloud-based business software for the full and part-time taxidermist. He is also a writer for Breakthrough Magazine. His business articles regularly offer advice and insight into developing and running a sound taxidermy business.
My wife and I continue our family tradition of operating Sara’s family farm near Edgerton, WI, now in its 5th generation. With the help of their daughter, they raise alpacas, chickens, and hay. The remaining acreage is leased to their neighbors where they grow corn, beans, and an occasional stand of tobacco.
GAIL TOUT - The road to owning a full time taxidermy business, like many taxidermists, took a long and convoluted track. I have been a Certified Dental Assistant, Office Manager, Elementary School Librarian, Bookkeeper and Business Owner. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology.
My husband Dan started out as a taxidermy hobbyist. By attending State, National and World competitions and attending seminars he has over time, become an excellent full time taxidermist. I came into the business as a Rug Maker, utilizing my crafting and sewing skills, at the urging of our local taxidermist friends. I now am full time in our business producing Wholesale Rugs for other taxidermists.
My passion is travel. The most exciting trip, so far, was to Antarctica!
This is my second time on the BOD of the UTA. I believe strongly in education for excellence in our profession.
CRAIG LEWIS - Owner of Lewis Wildlife Art a full-service taxidermy business. Served on numerous Boards of Directors including Chairman of the UTA Board for a number of years. Is a consultant with the Executive Service Corps helping non-profits resolve managerial and financial issues. Particular expertise in bringing order out of chaos and implementing more efficient and cost-effective organizational performance improvements. Keen, perceptive, and resourcefulness able to analyze evolving situations quickly and formulate doable action plans leading to measurable results. Also, fully conversant with regulatory guidelines and compliance standards such as DSHS, DOE, DOA, OSHA & DEC. A capable and respected leader, communicator, and relationship builder with proven expertise as an executive officer, board member, strategic partner and government agency liaison. Builds enduring relations based on an unwavering dedication to service, adherence to ethical standards and to the attainment of the highest levels of organizational and team performance
SHAWN HACKWORTH - I have been an avid outdoorsman my whole life and spend a good portion of my free time enjoying the outdoors and the wildlife that live there. After preserving memories for family and friends as well as myself for a number of years I decided to go to school to obtain a more informed knowledge of taxidermy.
I now have the knowledge and experience to handle most every aspect of taxidermy. It has evolved into a business that I enjoy very much. I feel very fortunate to have been blessed with the ability and talent that is needed to re-create a moment in time.
Although I don’t enter as many taxidermy competitions as I would like, I have placed well at the ones that I’ve entered. I’m proud to join the UTA Board of Directors, representing the Upper Midwest Region. I look forward to meeting you.
JACOB NEWMAN - I got interested in doing taxidermy while I was in college. I read an article in the school newspaper about a kid that was studying wildlife biology and then decided to go to taxidermy school. That was what I was studying and so I decided to go talk to him one day. I asked him how he liked the school he attended and liked having his own business. I decided that was what I wanted to do also. My wife had just had our first child and the prospect of several more years of school versus a 2-month school and being your own boss was what made the decision for me. That was more than 12 years ago now, and looking back on it I'm happy where that life has brought me and my family.