Our Story

From Baghdad to Blockbusters:
How We Got Here

It all started in Baghdad…

You might have been introduced to us from HGTV, but before our television debut, we were American warriors fighting for our country in Baghdad.

At the time, Ashley was serving in the Army and Andy was working private security after his service in the Marines. We met at a gym, and soon became “battle buddies.”

After returning home from the war, real estate was our safe haven for transition. We share a passion for making old homes new again as a way to continue to serve. Recon Realty Public Benefits Corporation is the natural outgrowth of this path, as we often noticed other Veterans in our community struggling to transition.

Real estate is our business. Veteran reintegration is our passion.

Transition to Real Estate

When we were in Iraq, we needed a place to park our nest egg that we were saving up, so we started investing in real estate. Once we got home, that real estate became an important part of the transition back.

Coming out of the military, it can be scary because there’s really no safety net. Real estate gave us that safety net and a starting place to build on. Being able to tear down and rebuild a home and really transform it into something beautiful was so relatable for us to what we were going through.

Since then, we returned from war, renovated over 100 homes, and launched Recon Realty, where we remain focused on adding value America, paying it forward fellow veterans, and continuing to serve communities across the country in an industry we love.

“Going off script, we embarked on a mission to build a better life and socially responsible business that would support our family.”

Flipping Texas + HGTV

We weren’t even looking to be on TV. We were actually on vacation when all of this started.

After Andy’s best friend died in Iraq in 2006, he made it his mission in life to help veterans transition back into society, which is what we did when we launched Recon Realty. It was and continues to be the driving force behind what we do.

Some producers took an interest in our work and mission, and our story got picked up by HGTV. We filmed our pilot “Flipping Texas” which followed our entire process of flipping houses in the Forth Worth area.

The premier was a hit and we got signed for our very own show, “Flip or Flop: Fort Worth”. Throughout the 9 projects spanning the 9 episodes of the first season, we help revitalize the neighborhoods and communities of Fort Worth. More than anything, the show was a way for us to share our story and build awareness for our mission.

We maintain a working relationship with HGTV and you can watch our show on Amazon or iTunes. However, we also invite you to share in our passion as we expand our impact nationwide reintegrating veterans through real estate.

Get to Know Us Q&A’s

Fun facts about us, our story and our lives off script

How does staying active play into your life as an incredibly busy business owner and parent?

Running is my stress reliever. If I don’t get a good run in every couple of days I’m a crabby patty! Staying active is just apart of our lives and it’s a great way to keep up with the kids and their high energy

What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids when you’re not working?

We are big movie people so we like to find new stuff and go see it. Also bowling and arcade games.

What do you admire most about Andy?

His selflessness, he is the most giving person you will ever find and hardly ever thinks of himself. Even if he’s mad at you he’ll still give you his last.

What’s your idea of an awesome date night?

An awesome date night would be long range shooting, paint and sip and Brazilian steak house!

What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to have in your dream house?

In my dream home, I would love to have a chef’s kitchen. That would be awesome. A room for wine and a crafting room. Oh, and a shoe closet…the list goes on and on.

What’s something maybe a little silly that totally scares you?

I am seriously terrified of roaches, they move too fast and why are their antennas twice the size of their bodies?! Oh, the ones in North Carolina can fly!!

What's your personal style like?

My personal style is full of color. I’m not afraid to wear a bold lip colors like red and orange. I like mixing patterns like stripes and polka dots with a statement shoe. My style really plays off my mood of the day.

What design trends are you personally loving right now?

I really loving that Navy blue is the new black. Navy is a modern play on a traditional color and pair well with any color scheme.

Was it a transition for you to go from being a Midwesterner (Chicago) to a Southerner (Texas)?

My transition was pretty seamless because I spent all my time after high school in southern states and Iraq, so the weather was not an adjustment at all!

What have you come to love about living in Fort Worth?

I love the atmosphere of Fort Worth. Its so laid back and casual, super family and dog friendly.

We see you barefoot or in socks only quite a bit on set -- what’s your aversion to shoes?

I hate my feet being hot or confined! Lol If it’s not a super comfortable shoe it’s coming off hahaha

How did serving in the military impact your life and your general outlook?

My outlook on life after serving is really to cherish everyone you love, you never know if the last time you speak with them will be your last. Some lasting lessons learned are respect is earned not given and serving isn’t just your job it is your duty.

What went into your decision to join the military right out of high school?

I noticed all the people that stayed and went to college never left. The always came back home and were stuck in Chicago. I wanted to travel and see the world, independence. I couldn’t do that going to school and working to pay for it.

What was the first thing you noticed about Andy?

His muscles hehe!

You played football and almost went to college for it? What position?

Yes, I was a strong safety and half back. I had a strong senior year with 140 solo tackles and had multiple offers to play at the next level, but chose to start writing my next chapter in life and joined the Marines.

What’s your idea of how to “Keep it Texas" ?

Keep it Texas to me means: Keep it subtle, but charming. In general, Texans have charming personalities and we are a proud state. Fort Worth as a city is a perfect example. As you look around you can see the history, the charm, but subtle changes of modernization wrapped with great character.

What do you think it is about Fort Worth that has kept you there?

Fort Worth is exploding with growth much like most of DFW. However what sets it apart is the city’s leaderships commitment to the families that are choosing to keep and or put down roots. It’s the best place we have found to raise a family, build an honest business, and evoke positive change.

What are some misconceptions about Texans that you’d like to clear up?

Not every Texas wears cowboy boots and a hat. Not every Texan hunts his or her own food. We have some of the best restaurants in the country, delivered and served by some of the greatest people in the country.

How do you like to stay active in and around Fort Worth?

I really do enjoy [horseback] riding the trails and running after the kids at the many places they go to have fun. But lately, chasing down properties and managing all the projects has been keeping me in shape.

What went into your decision to join the military right out of high school?

I wanted a new challenge and a new chapter on life. The Marines presented that and it came with the option for a degree if and when I wanted it. So it was a better option to just going to school. I chose to serve.

How did serving in the military impact your life and your general outlook?

The Marine Corps is the greatest brotherhood in the world and has had a massive impact on my life. I was able to travel the world and protect our freedoms alongside some of the greatest patriots in this country. And that put life in America in — perspective freedom isn’t free.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your kids when you’re not working?

Dress up and play time. The kids have a huge imagination and Ashley and I really let them express that. I love to see and hear the way they see their world. Letting them be kids, is my favorite thing. Living vicariously at times.

What was the first thing you noticed about Ashley?

Her beautiful eyes, they tell a pleasant story and I wanted to learn more.

What do you remember about the first place you lived together?

The first place we lived together was a construction trailer in Iraq. Sandbags from landscaping, sheets for curtains, and water boxes for drawers. No TV, crappy internet, and stray cats that she rescued. We had each other, which was the only thing that matter. I was there and she was too.

What do you admire most about Ashley?

I admire Ashley’s strength as a woman. I love that she has a plan for life non-other than to be happy and give that to our kids. I admire that she takes time with everything she does and makes time for those most important to her.

What’s something maybe a little silly that totally scares you?

When I was a kid I was terrified of puppets.
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