Meet Darien native Mike Burkhart, a father of three who, with the exception of college, has lived here his whole life. As Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Ring’s End, a family-owned building materials supplier, he loves working with customers and “watching someone’s dreams and vision for their homes on a set of plans, become a reality.” Learn more about Mike and his favorite things about living here.
What brought you to Darien and how long have you lived here?
I was born and raised in Darien. I graduated from DHS, and other than college, have lived here my entire life. Seven years ago, my wife Nicole and I bought a house where our yard actually backs up to my parents’ yard, where I grew up. I haven’t gone very far!
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
We have 3 children: Myra 12, Brynn 10, and Tyler 7.
What is your favorite family activity?
We love going up to our family cabin in upstate NY as much as we can. Locally, we like cooking out and spending time with our family and friends.
Top things about living in this area…
*Excellent schools for the kids
*Long Island Sound
*Proximity to so much to do
*Change of seasons
*Close to family
Tell us about your role at Ring’s End…
I am a Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Ring’s End. We are a family-owned building materials supplier that was founded in Darien in 1902. We have expanded to 19 retail locations throughout Connecticut.
Best part about the job?
Without a doubt, it is the people I get to work with each day. Both our employees, who we consider an extended part of the family, and our wonderful, loyal customers. I also love the business itself. It is fun to watch someone’s dreams and vision for their homes on a set of plans, become a reality. It is rewarding for us at Ring’s End to be part of that process.
It seems like home improvement projects have really increased since the pandemic. What are the most popular things your clients are doing to their homes?
With so many people spending more time at home during the pandemic we have seen people really invest in these spaces in such a wide variety of ways. Some of the most popular things we have seen people upgrade are the exterior “living spaces” of their homes such new decks and patios.
Has your dad given you any great advice over the years that you’d like to share, in honor of Father’s Day?
My dad instilled in me early on in my career the importance of follow through and doing what you promise. He said it is ok if someone comes to you with a question or a problem to say “I don’t know” as long as you tell them you will find the answer for them and make sure to get back to them.
Favorite band, tv show, and/or book…
Too many great musical acts to name just one. I like pretty much all genres of music. Favorite TV show of all time would be Seinfeld. As far as books, I like biographies about athletes, musicians or business leaders.
Feel free to add anything you’d like to share.
I also volunteer with the Noroton Fire Department in Darien and am currently President of the Department. My father is a past Chief of the department. The fire service has always been a huge part of my family, and a way we love to give back to the community.
We like to support local businesses. What are your favorite places in the area to:
Eat out: We like to eat at Colony Grill, and in Darien we go to Papa Joe’s and Michael Joseph’s. We also enjoy Tequila Mockingbird in New Canaan.
Grab a drink with friends: My backyard!
Have a date night: The Whelk in Westport
Spend time together as a family outdoors / indoors: Hiking in Selleck’s Woods. My kids love going to the beaches in town too.
Grab coffee: I’m a Dunkin’ Donuts guy, but my wife Nicole likes NEAT.
Workout: I like to run outside or visit the Darien YMCA.
Some other favorite local spots in town: Darien Butcher Shop, Fjord Fish Market and Darien Sport Shop.