Cake made for Ken Bell's retirement reception on Thursday. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The man who's been the backbone of Dollywood since it was created was honored on Thursday by the community one month from his retirement.
Ken Bell, Senior Vice President of Dollywood, started out with Silver Dollar City in Missouri as a parking lot attendant. He later became President of Dollywood.
Thursday, a reception honored Bell by the city, county, community leaders and his Dollywood team.
Here is a biography of Bell as provided by Dollywood:
From 1969 through 1975, Ken Bell worked part time at Silver Dollar City in Missouri, while continuing his college education. Upon graduation from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, he began working on a full time basis and has held various management positions in operations and marketing until becoming Assistant General Manager of the Silver Dollar City Park in Missouri in 1982.
In August 1985, Ken was promoted and transferred to Tennessee, to become Vice President/
General Manager of the Silver Dollar City, Inc., property in Pigeon Forge. He has had a significant role in the park growing from a small, little-known attraction to the nationally top-ranked theme park "Dollywood." In 2001, with the opening of the new water park, Dollywood's Splash Country, Ken became the Sr. Vice President of Dollywood & Dollywood's Splash Country.
Ken's drive and desire to succeed, along with his keen insight and his ability to get along with everyone has identified him as a leader and well-respected member of the Pigeon Forge community
· Ken has his Bachelors Degree in Marketing from Southwest Missouri State
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Bell lives in Knoxville with wife Debbie. They have 5 grown children.