Mike Ablon. A 5th generation Dallasite with a passion for building thriving neighborhoods.
As a fifth generation Dallasite, you could say that Mike Ablon has our city in his heart and soul. His great-great grandfather walked to Dallas from Galveston to start a business in 1882. As immigrant entrepreneurs, the Ablon family launched Ablon Poultry & Egg Company in South Dallas, which was in existence from 1890s to 1970s. It was one of the first companies in Dallas to promote diversity among its employees.
Mike’s mother, a public school teacher, died when he was a young boy. To keep him busy, his father and grandfather soon put him to work catching runaway chickens at the family business. He was paid a nickel for each chicken he caught.
At the age of 13, Mike talked his way into a job at Baskin Robbins then later stocked shelves at Safeway. To pay his way through college he washed dishes at Chuy’s Restaurant. Mike later used a few thousand dollars from his life savings to start PegasusAblon out of a tiny office. PegasusAblon quickly grew into one of the most influential developers in Dallas with projects that have invested more than $1 billion into North Texas.
Despite his company’s financial success, his worldview is more closely attached to the blue-collar experiences from his youth and early adulthood that taught him the importance of valuing work. This is why he is most proud of his company routinely being named a best place to work in Dallas.
As a dyslexic student, Mike was told that it would be a challenge to make it very far academically. He was told wrong. Not only did he graduate high school, Mike went on to earn his Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Architecture degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, and earned his Master’s degree from Harvard University.
Mike later apprenticed under architect Robert Venturi in Philadelphia, who taught him how cities and neighborhoods are built. After this tutelage, Mike set out to grow thriving communities because he believes the fabric of great American cities starts with great neighborhoods where people can safely live, work and play – where everyone from all backgrounds feels welcome.
It was this approach that led him to successfully revitalize Dallas’ historic Design District into one of the city’s most successful projects of the past decade – providing a boost to a neighborhood that had largely been forgotten by City Hall.
Recently, Mike stepped down as Chair of the Trinity River Corridor Local Government Corporation. The Trinity River Corridor LGC is the 501(c)(3) formed on behalf of the Dallas City Council to build the Trinity River Harold Simmons Park to unite the north and south halves of the city.
Ablon has been married to his college sweetheart, Karen Ablon for 25 years. They are the proud parents of two college-age daughters, Annie and Haley. Ablon’s non-profit volunteer work includes acting as the Vice-Chairman of a 501(c)(3) Senior Living Development as well as 20 years of Board & Executive Committee positions at the Real Estate Council & its Foundation. The Ablon family has also been involved in the State Fair of Texas poultry exhibition, carrying on a 100-year tradition of raising money for youth exhibitors and assisting with the exhibits.
Among other awards and recognitions, he is a recipient of the Lloyd Warren Travelling Fellowship in Europe for the Paris Prize Competition, a two-time finalist for the Fulbright United States Scholar Fellowship, named one of the 500 Most Powerful Business Leaders in Dallas/Fort Worth, and the first recipient of the prestigious Pioneer Award in Dallas (followed by 3 other recipients over the years – Herb Weitzman, Roger Staubach, and Craig Hall).
His company PegasusAblon has an award-winning focus on quality and is honored to have been recognized for the Dallas Regional Chamber Momentum Award for Public-Private Partnerships, DBJ Best Deal Award multiple times, named one of the 100 Fastest Growing Companies in DFW, and named the #1 Best Place to Work in DFW for small companies.