Tillers International’s Staff


A diverse, gifted group of individuals comprise Tillers’ staff. Each contributes her or his own particular expertise and energy to Tillers’ learning environment.

International Trainers

Tillers has a talented corps of international trainers – local farmers with an intimate knowledge of their landscape and climate. Our trainers have an advanced understanding of ox farming techniques and training and serve as instructors during our village training sessions, interacting with their own people in their own languages. They magnify the impact of Tillers International’s work by dispersing knowledge much further than Tillers would be able to accomplish solely with its American staff.

Click below to explore staff profiles and contact information by Hub.

Ashley Juengling

Ashley Juengling

International Contracts Compliance Coordinator

Ashley provides administrative, financial, and personnel support and backstopping for Tillers’ overseas projects. In doing so, she makes sure we’re meeting all our contract obligations on time and on budget. She also works with the Executive Director to develop new programs and projects and has been the primary grant writer for the organization.

Ashley discovered Tillers while in grad school and quickly became a regular volunteer both in the office and on the farm. The daughter and granddaughter of German immigrant farmers, she’s developed a new level of admiration for the sheer genius, practicality, and productivity of historic rural skills. Realizing that advancements in health and education are limited without improvements in agriculture, Ashley was inspired to delve deeper into food security and agricultural development issues.

Ashley has a BA in International Studies and Anthropology from Michigan State University and a MA in International Development Administration from Western Michigan University. Before coming to Tillers, she spent some time working in medical research. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, camping, and dancing.

> Email Ashley at juengling[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Ame Leversee

Bookkeeping and Reception

> Email Ame at bookkeeper[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Bill Brislen

Construction Assistant

Bill co-coordinates the wood shop and assists in the instruction of the timber-framing classes. With a lifetime of building experience, he is responsible for general upkeep of the existing structures at the Cook’s Mill Learning Center and for new construction on the property as well.

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Dave Kramer

Dave Kramer specializes in both power and hand tool woodworking, yoke making, furniture construction, wheelwrighting, cart construction, blacksmithing and tool making, training oxen, drafting, and welding.

Dave has spent 20 years teaching drafting, woodworking, building construction, blacksmithing, and tool making at schools in the United States, East Africa, and the West Indies. He has taught at Tillers since 1995. He is a certified Industrial Arts teacher with vocational authorization in woodworking and construction trades. He is also a licensed builder in the state of Michigan and a member of the National Education Association.

He has traveled extensively for Tillers as a Rural Innovation Facilitator, most recently to Madagascar, Mozambique, and Uganda where he introduced plans and trained artisans in the fabrication of a new single-row seeder.

> Email Dave at kramer[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Richard “Dick” Roosenberg

Assistant to the Executive Director

Tillers is the brainchild of its Assistant to the Executive Director, Richard “Dick” Roosenberg. Dick was raised on a dairy farm in Van Buren County, Michigan, spent three years in the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa, and then earned a law degree from Wayne State University in 1976.

Ever since his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer, Dick had nourished the idea of creating a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission which Tillers came to embody. That idea was so compelling that in 1981 Dick withdrew from active law practice and formed Tillers, initially as adjunct to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, specifically the Delano Homestead.

Dick continues to work as the vision behind Tillers, not only directing its administration, but also as one of its primary domestic and international instructors.

> Email Dick at roosenberg[at]tillersinternational.org.

Jim Slining

Jim Slining

Museum and Collections Curator

Jim Slining has spent over thirty years as a student of American material culture. Much of that work has occurred in public history venues. Of particular interest and focus has been the techniques used to create the objects which defined this New World. After completing a blacksmith apprenticeship at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Jim continued working at there at Anderson Blacksmith shop as a Journeyman smith. Eventually, he opened his own workshops providing tin and iron reproductions for public and private restorations and collections.

> Email Jim at slining[at]tillersinternational.org.

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John Sarge

Shops Coordinator

> Email John at sarge[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Jonathan Kline

Executive Director

> Email Jonathan at kline[at]tillersinternational.org.

Kaethe Durham

Kaethe Durham

House Coordinator

Kaethe began as a volunteer at Tillers in 2003 after 15 years as a musician on Broadway. In 2008, after apprenticing with Howard Cain, Kaethe became Tillers’ bookkeeper. She is delighted to announce an upgrade to House Manager and Cook for Tillers’ many class lunches!

Kaethe continues her music-making in SW Michigan and Chicago throughout the year and is allowed to escape the Michigan winter each January-February to perform with Riverside Theater, a professional venue for Broadway shows, in Vero Beach, FL.

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Rob Burdick

Construction Coordinator

Rob completed the Tillers internship program in 2003.  He then joined the staff as a construction assistant in 2005, at which point he began teaching Timber Framing.  He continues as the lead instructor of Timber Framing up until now (2016).  In 2007, Rob traveled to Uganda for Tillers and then to Mozambique in 2009.  He has recently completed a MA in International Development Administration at Western Michigan University and now travels extensively for Tillers as a Rural Innovations Facilitator.

> Email Rob at burdick[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Ryan DeRamus

Education, Outreach and Development

Ryan’s experience has come with over ten years of owning Independent Bookstores/Venues, both in Tampa, FL and Charlottesville, VA, that also served as centers for community organizing/building. He also has over seven years experience teaching at the college level in St. Petersburg, FL and Chicago, IL.

> Email Ryan at deramus[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Boniface Okumu

Tillers Uganda Program Manager

Boniface is responsible for managing all programmatic activities in Uganda and the surrounding region, including South Sudan and the DR Congo.

Boniface started volunteering with Tillers in Uganda in 2006 when he was working for the Gulu Archdiocese in Gulu, Uganda. Once formally hired by Tillers in 2008 as a Lead Trainer, he became our go-to person for how to improve our courses.

> Email Boniface at okumu[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Catherine Angeyo

Tillers Uganda Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator

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Martin Omony

Tillers Uganda Shop Coordinator

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Brenda Awor

Tillers Uganda Administrative Assistant

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Brian Webb

Tillers Mozambique Country Manager

Brian manages the administrative, personnel, and financial operations of Tillers International in Mozambique. He also provides technical support to ongoing training and low-capital tool development activities at the CENTAM (Center for Animal Traction Training in Manica). Since beginning programmatic activities in 2009 Tillers Moz has trained over 12,000 farmers and artisans in animal traction and dairy technologies and practices.

Brian first became involved with Tillers as an intern in 1994, a group that became known as the Frat Pack in Tillers’ lore. The internship provided an opportunity to combine his experiences growing up on a small farm and his studies in mechanical engineering in a practical skills course oriented towards his goals of working internationally with the Peace Corps. Upon graduating from college in 1995, Brian served in the Peace Corps in the Central African Republic and Mali.

After the end of his Peace Corps service, Brian lived mostly in Washington, DC where he worked at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a Patent Examiner. Deciding to give up the glamor that comes with reviewing detailed patent specifications and intricate drawings of electrical connectors, he rejoined Tillers’ staff in 2005 as the International Outreach Coordinator. When back in the US, Brian makes time to defeat most of the staff in bowling.

> Email Brian at webb[at]tillersinternational.org.

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Friza Elisha

Tillers Mozambique Logistics Coordinator

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Valisto Gaulane

Tillers Mozambique Accountant

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Zacharias Machengua

Tillers Mozambique Lead Field Coordinator

Current and former Interns

AmeClick photo to enlarge Left to right:

  • Ivy Pagliari
  • Lauren Burns
  • Ian Sawyer
  • Not pictured: Elsa Acerbo
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  • Ellen Rice
  • Griff Radulski
  • Jayme Fowler
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  • Hana Livingstone
  • John Cox
  • Patrick Tivnan
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  • Cynthia Main
  • Garrett Franz
  • Gunnar Stark
  • Nelson Sun
  • Tess Plummer
  • Tessa “Zeke” Savage
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  • Jessica Johnson
  • Fritz Musser
  • Gina Wertz

Previous years coming soon.