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PTN Board of Directors Candidates

December 10, 2023 11:42 AM | Mark Johnston (Administrator)

Here are the applicants for the Preservation Trades Network board of directors openings. Please take some time to learn all about them and be prepared to vote!.

Mo Karnage

Karnage Construction LLC

I was genetically predisposed to a life of sawdust and old houses. My great grandpa founded on of the the architectural salvage places in town, and my grandpa and dad ran a cabinetry and millwork company. I learned how to use a tape measure before most kids learn how to read. I started my own company in 2014 and am now a Class A Licensed contractor with 12+ employees and a new old office building in Richmond. I worked in my 20s for various trades, including electricians, plaster folks, carpenters, and historic restoration specialists. I fell in love with old windows, and have just taken that and run with it. Preserving old houses is my jam and it suits my ethics as well. I'm on the Jr board for Historic Richmond and involved in their events. Projects I was the GC for won Golden Hammer awards (local historic preservation/construction award) in 2021 and 2022.

Why do you want to be on the board?

I'm a virgo. No, basically I want to dig in hard and grow my business and make it level up, which can not be done in a vacuum. A rising tide lifts all boats and in historic preservation there has to be cooperation and comradeship in order to keep us relevant, staffed, and up to snuff. I want to be a part of that! We need more people involved in this work and to form tighter bonds with preservation advocacy people, as well as engage in more public education. They aren't making any new old buildings.

What might you like to accomplish or have as a goal if elected to be a board member?

Increase participation in conferences and workshops, increase marketing. I'm pretty decent on Canva and would love to help get more images out there. I think making info graphics and how-to type sheets would be cool as heck.

Chad Nelson

Red Beard Restoration


Chad Nelson stumbled into preservation after he and his husband bought an old Victorian house with storm windows made of unmilled 2x4s and plexiglass. Wanting to preserve the home properly, Chad learned how to make wooden storm windows, with some bumps along the way. After connecting with other window professionals in his city of Des Moines, Iowa, and learning more about proper techniques and materials, his window restoration company, Red Beard Restoration, was born. He now specializes in full window restorations, Mon-Ray storm window installations and new wooden storm window builds. A board member of his historic neighborhood’s neighborhood association and his city’s Historic Preservation Commission, Chad is a vocal advocate of repairing over replacing, and of protecting an area’s sense of place and revitalizing communities through historic preservation.

Why do you want to be on the board?

My business would have never gotten off the ground without the amazing support and guidance of two other local window preservationists in my city. One of them gave me my first three clients, and the other answered (and continues to answer) every question I threw at her. It's now my turn to pay it forward. I can do that by being part of the Preservation Trades Network, which is building a much larger network full of people like those that helped me get started.

What might you like to accomplish or have as a goal if elected to be a board member?

I am admittedly a relatively new member of this organization, though I am extremely excited to be a part of it. My immediate goal would be to connect with the other board members to learn as much as I can about the inner workings of the board so I can best understand how to apply my skills and knowledge for the betterment of the organization. Beyond that, I would hope to use my previous professional background in journalism/public affairs to help spread the word of the Preservation Trades Network to as many people as possible.

Rebecca Torsell

Wittenberg University, Eastern Michigan University, Belmont College


I have a diverse background in the field of historic preservation that relates to multiple different facets. In my current position as the Director of Historic Preservation at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, I struggle to find qualified preservation trades contractors, and I know the importance of supporting the historic trades. Prior to taking on my current role, I have had a number of positions as an historic tradesperson (contractor/subcontractor). My experiences range widely across the spectrum of preservation. In years past I’ve worked with Historic Corps as a Crew Leader which included living in a tent for 2 months while restoring an historic log mining camp at 11,000 feet in the San Jaun Mountains of Colorado. My career path also led me to Philadelphia where I worked for Kreilick Conservation, LLC as a project manager and conservator. Some of the more notable projects I worked on included the Grant Memorial in Washington D.C., The Second Bank of the United States, and the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design. I became very familiar with bronze conservation and my experiences led me to become a certified Professional member with the American Institute for Conservation. I’ve worked under and with wonderful mentors should as Jim Turner, David Gibney, and Patrick Kennedy. I have a great respect for the historic trades now currently in the role of Owner/Client, but for the majority of my career I served as the historic tradesperson. It has helped me to see how both sides need to come together to support the trades and the education of new tradespeople. It is my love of historic buildings, the sustainability of the practice of preservation, and my eagerness to always learn more that drives me. My education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Management and World Culture from Wittenberg University, a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University, and an Applied Associates of Science in Building Restoration and Preservation Technology from Belmont College. These are listed in the order received. I went back to school for my Associates after my master’s degree to acquire additional hands-on experience. I believe that my diversity of roles, experiences, and education will help me to serve the PTN board successfully

Why do you want to be on the board?

Over the course of many years, I’ve attended multiple conferences for a variety of networks/organizations. PTN’s conference, IPTW, was what I would consider the most valuable. It was deeply rooted in the trades and demonstrated the root of what we strive for, successful preservation. It was all possible because of the Board of Directors, and I’d like to help support these efforts.

Being a part of PTN’s Board of Directors gives me a chance to give more to the preservation trades and the struggle to keep growing them.

What might you like to accomplish or have as a goal if elected to be a board member?

I feel like I need to learn more before I can say a goal I would like to accomplish, but in general I would be interested in trying to expand membership and strengthening relationships with similar preservation organizations.

Daniel Totten

Talis Historic Restoration


Like most in the Historic trades, Dan never set out to be a restorer. He grew up in a farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York, where he spent most of his time playing basketball, then discovered art, which he pursued at Alfred University. After graduating he moved back to the Hudson Valley and worked a myriad of odd jobs and ended up farming for several years, and founded a Makerspace at a local community center. In 2020 he relocated to Buffalo and decided to get a Masters in Library Science. He then needed money so he got a job with a Window Restorer. With his eclectic experience and love for the old he quickly fell in love with the trade, and is still enthusiastically going at it (suffice to say he dropped out of grad school). He currently lives with his wife in Rochester, NY, and works for Talis Historic Restoration, where he manages site work and does commercial estimates (and will mill, glaze, scrape, or install sash at a moments notice).

Why do you want to be on the board?

My Restoration journey started with working under Steve Swiatt at Northwood Historic Restoration in Buffalo, NY. Steve would talk about the numerous workshops for local nonprofits he did, and the advice and conversations that he had with other restorers and people trying to get into the trade. After spending more time in the trade and attending WPA events and the most recent Window Preservation Standards Collaborative Summit, I realize that his openness to share his craft wasn't unusual. I have found this field full of people who love the work and want to spread information to as many as possible. Although I've only been restoring for 3 years, I now find myself wanting to give back in some capacity.

What might you like to accomplish or have as a goal if elected to be a board member?

While I've had experience being on the board of various clubs at college and I've worked within nonprofits to a limited extent, I've never been a board member of an actual organization. My main goal as a board member would be to make an effort to be fully present at meetings and be helpful towards progressing PTN goals, whether that is to create the annual IPTW, increase membership, or create newsletters. Overall, it seems like a great opportunity for me to grow my own skills in group work and leadership while creating awareness of the Preservation Trades.

Jake Jones

Medicine Wood LLC


Jake is the owner of Medicine Wood Heritage Restoration Co., located in St. Paul, Minnesota. His company offers various preservation services, including window restoration, plastering, project consultation, and more. Jake holds a BA in Religious Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Jake enjoys growing organic vegetables, cooking, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife and daughter. 

Why do you want to be on the board?

I am passionate about the preservation trades, and I believe my experience and skills may help further the PTN mission.

What might you like to accomplish or have as a goal if elected to be a board member?

I want to help grow PTN's audience and network and facilitate learning opportunities for the next generation of preservation trade workers.

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