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BrickFest 2009 Staff Bios

Dozens of volunteers are responsible for ensuring the success of this event. Below are key volunteers who have put their time and energy into BrickFest 2009.

Steve Barile and friend Steve Barile
Event Co-Organizer

From ages ~4 to 11 Steve spent a lot of time building with LEGO® elements. In 1997 he rediscovered LEGO; LEGO trains to be exact! Since then he has built over 100 train MOCs and supporting structures, from train stations to modern "big box" stores, from a cement plant to Hoover dam. He also likes to dabble in MLCad and with the help of Jeroen has a poster of one of his favorite train MOCs.

Over the last couple of years, he has been involved in several AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) events, like BricksWest 2001 & 2002 as train coordinator. He's also been involved in many community-building activities, including:

  • The LEGO train Summit in NYC
  • Make & Create AFOL community summit in Enfield
  • ...and more recently to LEGO World 2003 and Denmark.

    In the spring of 1997, he found himself organizing a LEGO train club with Ben Fleskes and Dan Parker in the Pacific Northwest. They had the shared goal of displaying a train layout at the Great American Train Show (GATS) made completely of LEGO! Little did they know that how this idea would catch on! They never dreamed of how big this hobby would grow!

    In February 2001, Dwayne Towell and Steve started BricWorx (pronounced "Brick Works"). They've sold many sets worldwide, including the Chessie Diesel engine and the Freight Train Instruction Book. This hobby business has been a wonderful lesson; he has experienced set design, element analysis, brick acquisition, instruction creation and layout, publishing, packaging and shipping! Steve's dream one day is when we can source bricks and sell tens of thousands of sets rather then tens of sets! Oh, to dream!

    Mike Walsh of NCLTC and Steve started an e-mail list we called the "International LEGO Train Club Organization" . The list was created so all the train clubs around the world could talk "off line", out of the public's eye. It was also a mechanism for LEGO to "talk" to all the clubs at one time. Well now ILTCO has become a more formalized organization with the help of John Neal (GMLTC), James Trobaugh (NGLTC), and Larry Pieniazek (MichLTC). There are now approximately 20 member-clubs with around 160 individual members, and ILTCO is recognized by LEGO. As president Steve would like to say... We've come a long way, baby!


    Christina Hitchcock Christina Hitchcock
    Co-Organizer, Registration Manager

    Since before her trip to Billund, Denmark, at age 8, Christina has been building with LEGO®. She is most interested in the Castle theme and though she has not had much time recently to build, she has documented some of her MOCs. One of her goals is to create a giant diorama, complete with main castle, nearby village, and wooded country scenery.

    Starting in early 1995, she occasionally read the R.T.L. (rec.toy.lego) newsgroup. Then in 1999 she discovered LUGNET and learned about WAMALUG, the local Washington DC LEGO User Group. Christina has served as an officer in WAMALUG since 2001 and has been actively involved in well over 20 public events and numerous LEGO fan-related projects.

    Since 2001 Christina has been the event coordinator of the world-famous BrickFest events. At last summer's BrickFest 2003 in Washington DC there were well over 230 attendees; growing from a gathering of about 60 at the first event. Her goal for BrickFest is not simply to grow the number of attendees year-to-year, but rather to maximize the opportunity for us to share with each other the power of community through the passion for the brick.

    As the community and hobby grows and new themes arise, BrickFest continues to grow along with it. Last year we introduced the "Expo" portion of the event which was open to the public, and over 380 people attended to marvel at the amazing number of creations brought by the attendees.

    Christina describes herself as "...merely an enabler," but clearly she is a community leader that is truly a FAN of the Fans-of-LEGO, and has dedicated her time and effort to help the LEGO community through BrickFest and other community events.

    Community-building activities:

    • Event Coordination and planning of BrickFest 2001-2007
    • BrickFest 2001 - 153 Fan Participants
    • BrickFest 2002 - 200 Fan Participants
    • BrickFest 2003 - 230 Fan Participants, 380 Public
    • Make & Create AFOL community summit in Enfield - February 2003
    • WAMALUG representative to LEGO World 2003 and the EuroBrick meeting - October 2003
    • LEGO Fan visit to Billund, Denmark - October 2003
    • BrickFest PDX '05 Assistant Coordinator
    • BrickFest 2005 - 350 Fans Participates, 2000 Public
    • BrickFest 2006 - Consultant


    Matt Chiles
    Sponsorship Coordinator, Classic Space Fly-In Coordinator
    Matt Chiles never went into a Dark Ages until the advent of Bley. He has always been a fan of Classic Space and is organizing the Classic Space Fly In at BrickFest this year. He is also actively involved in GPLR and builds trains and town buildings. His most famous creation is a Lego Roller Coaster which unfortunately will not be at BrickFest this year. Matt also runs AuctionBrick.com, an auction site devoted to Lego. This site is for sale - serious inquiries contact Matt for details.

    Ben Fleskes
    Facilities Manager
    Ben Fleskes is a long time LEGO fan and builder. He was one of the founding members of the Pacific Northwest LEGO Train Club in 1997 and currently a member of the Greater Portland LEGO Railroaders. Ben owns Big Ben Bricks LLC which designs and sells trains wheels fully compatible with LEGO brand trains. Ben's favorite LEGO theme is Trains but enjoys other themes and enjoys seeing how far the creative envelope for LEGO can go. "So far", Ben says, "the only limit is your imagination". Ben lives in Portland Oregon with his wife and two boys and works at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry building interactive science exhibits.

    Breann Sledge
    Bionicle Coordinator
    Breann was Bionicle Co-Coordinator at Brickfest 2007 and Coordinator at BrickCon 2008. She is a renouned Bionicle builder.

    Richard Lange
    Public Relations
    I got my first LEGO set when I was 8 years old. In my late teens my interest grew. My best friend is also a LEGO builder, and as a matter of fact we thought we were the only adults who were. We got an apartment together, and it was scattered with bricks and MOCs. After meeting my wife I remained an active builder until the mid 90's when the demise of my prized castle theme and the birth of my children signaled the beginning of my "dark age." In 2002 I was able to finally by a house, and the next May I built a "LEGO room." I discovered the AFOL community just in time to go to BrickFest PDX 2004, and in 2006 I joined the GPLR.

    Bob Kojima
    Web Master
    A Technic builder and creator of several LEGO related software programs including Bricksaic, Parts Catalog and BSBackup. Bob is also the owner of Jellie Jar Media LLC, which prints and sells Brick related T-shirts.

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