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Meet The Staff

Meet the Model Railroading Team

Neil Besougloff


Neil Besougloff has been editor of Model Railroader magazine since June 2007. Before that, Neil was editor of MR’s sister publication Classic Toy Trains. He also is associate publisher of Garden Railways magazine. Before coming to Kalmbach Publishing Co. in 1997, Neil was a newspaper editor in Florida and in his home state of New Jersey.

Neil is slowly building an O gauge tinplate layout filled with original and reproduction 1930s trains.
Neil and his wife Susy are the parents of five boys, all college age and beyond. They live in Oconomowoc, Wisc., west of Milwaukee. In addition to model railroading, Neil spends his free time reading history books, trying to learn Spanish, and tinkering with 1:32 slot cars and his 1931 Ford Model A. 

Neil's O gauge tinplate layout

Neil relaxes with a tinplate O gauge layout that features vintage Lionel and American mrrcv_1007 Flyer trains, as well modern reproductions. Almost all of the structures on the layout are tinplate, many lithographed, but the trains run through realistic scenery. Neil built the layout with L-girder open grid benchwork.  His scenery was built using a combination of extruded insulation foam sheets and cardboard webbing with plaster gauze. The mainline features working Atlas O signals and two motorized bascule bridges.


Jim Hediger

Senior Editor

Jim Hediger has been on the staff of Model Railroader since 1972 and became senior editor of the magazine in 1978. He originated the magazine's Paint Shop column and built one of the earliest practical model railroads using John Armstrong's double-deck concepts. Jim currently edits our Information Desk and Workshop Tips columns.

After starting with an American Flyer train set in 1950, Jim made the switch to HO in 1957 and has rebuilt his well-known Ohio Southern to improve its operating potential. The present Ohio Southern is a 1970s coal and steel hauling "subsidiary" of the prototype Detroit, Toledo & Ironton RR. A feature article on "The groundbreaking Ohio Southern" (including the current track plan) was published in the September 2005 Model Railroader magazine. The earlier track plan appeared in the February 1998 MR, and Jim's Huron Steel plant was in the April 1996 issue.

Star Hobbies, located right across the alley from his parent's home in Dearborn, Mich., provided part-time employment throughout his teens while a junior membership in the Detroit Model Railroad Club (O scale) gave him the opportunity to gain model railroading skills from some of the hobby's pioneers. Jim was co-chairman of the National Model Railroad Association's 50th anniversary national convention, "Goin' Home '85." He has three married children, Larry (Renee), Lynn (Vicky), and Lori (Michael), and three grandchildren: Lucas, Lindsey, and Wyatt.

Ohio Southern in HO scale

My Ohio Southern is a point-to-point double-decked railroad with 220 feet of main line and a 30"-radius helix connecting the decks. It has two stub end and two reverse loop staging yards stacked into an L-shaped 22 x 28-foot space. A third stub-ended staging yard extends into my workshop, for a total of 28 concealed staging tracks. Realistic operation of 17-20 trains per sequenced "day" uses up to four road crews, three yard jobs, and a dispatcher.

I started working on my first double-deck system around 1980. Progress on that early version of the OS came to a halt in 1990 when my basement and most of the layout was torn up for a city sewer installation. During the reconstruction, I took the opportunity to make some layout revisions to eliminate staging yard access problems and enhance the operating scheme. The current OS continues to follow my 1970s coal and steel hauling theme as a subsidiary of the prototype Detroit, Toledo & Ironton RR; my current track plan is shown in the September 2005 issue of MR.

All of the track is operational and basic scenery and foliage covers the upper deck and most of the lower deck. The DC wiring is complete and I'm now working on ballasting the track, enhancing the scenery, building more steel-related heavy industries, and upgrading the locomotive fleet and rolling stock.

The present locomotive fleet closely follows the DT&I’s all EMD roster made up of appropriate models from Athearn, Atlas, Kato, and Walthers including GP7, GP9, GP38, GP38-2, GP35, GP40, GP40-2, and SD38 road locomotives and a handful of yard switchers. In addition there are some GP38s, GP40s, SD40-2s, and a couple of switchers painted in the Ohio Southern color scheme.


Dana Kawala

Senior Editor

Dana Kawala joined the Model Railroader staff as an Associate Editor in October 2005. Before coming to Kalmbach Publishing, Dana was a product manager for Lionel Trains LLC in Chesterfield, Mich. Some of his areas of responsibility included high-end steam locomotives and passenger cars. Among his duties at Lionel, he edited and managed the production of the company's biannual catalogs and other printed material.

A native of metro-Detroit, Dana received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He also lived in Chicago for many years while working at the University of Chicago Library.

Dana's main modeling interest is the Bay City Branch of the Michigan Central RR (part of the New York Central System) during the 1930s and 1940s. Aside from once running through his home town of Utica, Mich., this branch line interchanged freight with Dana's second favorite railroad, the Pere Marquette at points farther north.

Dana lives with his wife and son on the south side of Milwaukee, Wis.


Cody Grivno

Associate Editor

Cody Grivno, host of "Cody's Office" on, has been a member of the Model Railroader since June 2002. A native of Crookston, Minn., Cody has been interested in trains as long as he can remember. His childhood home was less than a block from Burlington Northern's Minot, N.D. - Superior, Wis., line, and Cody spent much time trackside (and at the nearby Redland Yards) photographing trains. He also kitbashed, detailed, and painted locomotives and freight cars. His models won several awards, including National Model Railroad Association Thousand Lakes Region contests.

After graduating from Crookston High School in 1998, Cody attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. He graduated in May 2002 with a bachelor of arts degree in print journalism. While in college, Cody was a writer and editorial assistant for Concordia's Office of Communications and did freelance writing for three newspapers.

When away from the office, Cody enjoys railfanning with his trusty Pentax ME Super and drafting plans for an HO scale layout based on his hometown. His primary modeling interests are the Minnesota Northern RR and Burlington Northern, but he enjoys keeping up-to-date on short line and regional carriers in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Cody and his wife, Dorothy, have a son and a Siamese cat. They enjoy exploring small towns throughout the Midwest.


Kent Johnson

Producer Model Railroader Video Plus

Since 2013, Kent Johnson has been an associate producer for Model Railroader Video Plus. Kent first joined the staff of Model Railroader magazine in the fall of 2004. Kent has accumulated a wealth of hobby knowledge while working as a senior editor for Classic Toy Trains magazine and as a senior acquisitions editor in the Kalmbach Publishing Co. Books Department.

In addition to producing MRVP videos, editing magazines, instructional references, price guides, and single issue publications, Kent has authored and photographed features, reviews, and columns, including the popular "Talkin' Toy Trains" series he wrote with his dad. He also appeared in the video productions of Model Railroader Video Plus; Dream, Plan, Build: Layouts, Modeling Tips & Prototype Railroads; and the DIY network television series Workin' on the Railroad.

Kent and his wife Ella are the parents of two sons and two dogs. Kent does his best to share his interest in trains, travel, music, photography, basketball, and other outdoor activities with his family and friends.

Kent's layout: Canadian Pacific Railway In O scale

Kent's O gauge layout fills a 14- by 48-foot room in his basement. Inspired by travels to various regions of western Canada, Kent is building his layout to include forested mountain, arid desert, and deep river canyon scenes found in British Columbia. Along with the scenery, the layout includes plenty of contemporary command-control locomotives and rolling stock, painted, weathered, and detailed for Canadian railways.

While finishing construction, Kent opened the layout to Lionel Collectors Club of America (LCCA), Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS), and National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) members attending conventions in Milwaukee, Wisc.


Steven Otte

Associate Editor

Steven Otte joined the staff of Model Railroader in August 2007. A native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and a graduate of the University of Florida, Steve lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Traci, and their three cats (two of whom are named after railroads). He has been a magazine and newspaper writer and editor since 1987.

Like most model railroaders, Steve received a train set (powered by an HO scale Chessie Geep) for Christmas when he was a child. However, he didn't get seriously interested in the hobby until he bought his first computer in 1993 and started playing the game Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon. Since he preferred to start new games rather than continue saved ones, Steve developed an interest in the early steam era. He joined a model railroad club in Chillicothe, Ohio, and designed the club's new layout when it was forced to move from its downtown depot headquarters. Returning to Florida, Steve joined the Port St. Lucie Model Railroad Club and Historical Society, again just in time to help with a change in venue. He spent years as an armchair modeler, drawing track plans and building HO scale structures, but it wasn't until he came to work at MR that he started constructing his own layout.

Steven's layout

While living in Ohio in the mid-1990s, Steve found in the local public library the book Narrow Gauge in Ohio: The Cincinnati, Lebanon & Northern Ry. Falling in love with the Southwest Ohio short line, Steve drew many track plans for his own HO scale CL&N. After finally fulfilling his lifetime wish of buying a house with a basement, he drew up one final plan and started building a layout in November 2008. The model railroad is set in 1906, 12 years after its conversion to standard gauge and 10 years after its acquisition by the Pennsylvania RR. When complete, the point-to-point, walk-in layout will occupy an approximately 12 x 26-foot space.


Eric White

Associate Editor

Eric White joined the staff of Model Railroader in 2014 after working for Southeastern Pennsylvania newspapers since the mid-90s.He is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia who grew up in the suburbs, and his commutes to classes in journalism on SEPTA's Regional Rail lines inspired scenes he hopes to recreate on a future model railroad.

Eric's first introduction to miniature trains came from his father's Lionel set under the Christmas tree, soon replaced by a Tyco Santa Fe set that morphed into several layouts built in his parents' basement.
Trips to his grandparents' homes in Bristol, Pa., and Aberdeeen, Md., provided access to train watching on the old Pennsylvania Railroad Northeast Corridor.

Eric hopes to build a layout depicting heavy electrics under wire, but for now contents himself with a shadowbox scene he is building on a living room bookshelf at the apartment he shares with is wife, Leigh, and young son in Waukesha.


David Popp

Producer Model Railroader Video Plus

David Popp has been a member of the Model Railroader staff since 2001. He is a former high school English and drama teacher, having taught for in the Illinois public school system. Both his dad and his grandfather were model railroaders, and he has built layouts in N, HO, O, and G scales with them. In addition to his railroading interests, David also enjoys writing, producing video, historical miniature war gaming, gardening, slot car racing, and music. His wife, Ingrid, is a pianist and shares his love of the arts and the outdoors, and together they run Dropped Pencil LLC, a creative media arts company that produces The Fred and Susie Show television series.

The Naugatuck Valley RR

 His most recent layout is an N scale representation of the New York, New Haven & Hartford RR set in Connecticut's Naugatuck River valley in the fall of 1957. The layout was built for operation, and it centers on the city of Waterbury and its various connecting New Haven branch lines. David started the layout as a small apartment-sized model railroad and has since expanded it three times. The Naugatuck Valley RR has been featured in the April 2006 Model Railroader, Great Model Railroads 2008, and Model Railroad Planning 2011. It's construction has been chronicled in the Step-by-Step series of how-to articles, beginning imrrcv_1007n January 2004 MR. The Waterbury Industrial District expansion was the subject of a four-part series in the September through December 2008 MRs. And the complete construction story is featured in the Kalmbach book, Building a Model Railroad Step by Step, second edition (2011).

In it's current state, the Naugatuck measures 12 x 18 feet (not counting the walkways). The layout's scenery is complete, and the first official operating session was held in December of 2005. The railroad requires a minimum crew of five to operate, but can handle as many as nine. David runs the Naugatuck using timetable and train order (much as the New Haven's real Naugatuck Branch did) and a 3:1 fast clock. He uses car cards with 4-cycle waybills (made by Mirco-Mark) for routing cars. The layout is wired with a Lenz Digital Command Control system and uses Lenz and Atlas walkaround throttles.

David is never truly happy unless he's building something, and with the Naugatuck largely complete, he's taken to constructing a 1:32 four-lane slot car track on the other side of his basement. The track is loosmrrcv_1007ely based upon Meadowdale International Raceways, a track that was once located in northern Illinois. When finished, the track will have full scenery, much like a model railroad. There is also a rumor that he has been dabbling in British OO modeling, and has drafted plans to build a small Great Western/early British Railways layout set in the late 1940s.

Andy Sperandeo

Andy Sperandeo, Contributing Editor

Andy Sperandeo was on the staff of Model Railroader from 1979 until his retirement in 2011. He was named executive editor in 2001. He was also the founding editor of the annual Great Model Railroads magazine, the editorial director of Model Railroad Planning, and edited the How To Build Realistic Layouts series of MR special issues. In addition, Andy is the author of three Kalmbach books (Easy Model Railroad Wiring, The Model Railroader's Guide to Freight Yards, and The Model Railroader's Guide to Passenger Equipment & Operations).

Even though Andy is retired, he will still be a contributing editor for MR and will still continue to be the editor of GMR.

Andy has been a model railroader since his teens, and his interests in the hobby include modeling the Santa Fe's route through Cajon Pass (he started building his basement layout in April 1995) and operating model railroads (he likes to run the yard). A native of New Orleans, he and his wife, Arlene, now live in Brookfield, Wis., near the MR offices.

Andy's Layout: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry. in HO scale

Andy models the First District of the Santa Fe's Los Angeles Division, from San Bernardino over Cajon Pass to just west of Victorville, Calif. The time is 1947 during the transition from steam to diesel.

The 38 x 44-foot layout in my basement will range in height from 66" at Summit down to 38" at San Bernardino. The L-girder benchwork supports 3/4" plywood subroadbed with Homabed roadbed. The track will all be handlaid except for staging yard. Andy has completed about two thirds of my benchwork and have laid all of the track from Summit through Keenbrook.

Tom Danneman

Tom Danneman

Art Director

Tom Danneman joined the staff of Model Railroader in April 1999. Tom is responsible for the look of MR. This includes designing the cover and feature articles, working with the editors to find the best way to present information, and giving direction to the illustrators as they produce those colorful and complex track plans. Tom also serves as art director for MR's two annual publications, Great Model Railroads and Model Railroad Planning.

Tom currently also serves as art director of Trains and Classic Trains magazines.

Tom is a top-notch railroad photographer, and he is currently building a small N scale layout based on one of his favorite railroads, Montana Rail Link. His other favorite railroad is the Burlington Northern.

Drew Halverson

Drew Halverson

Graphic Designer

Drew Halverson joined the Model Railroader staff as a graphic designer in July 2007, after graduating from Marquette University with a degree in Advertising and Criminology. He works primarily on Trains, Model Railroader and Classic Trains magazines.

Drew's layout

Drew's love for trains dates back to childhood, when he remembers watching Wisconsin Central freights roll across the countryside with his grandfather. Growing up in Milwaukee, he's very familiar with the local train scene and enjoys kicking back trackside during his free time. Drew is also an avid N scale modeler who recently began building a diorama based on his favorite railroad, the Florida East Coast Railway.

scene_040710_smWhen not at work, Drew is involved with his other passion, auto racing. Designing Web sites for IndyCar driver, Oriol Servia, and IndyCar team, KV Racing Technology, has allowed him to travel across the country and meet people from around the world. Also a Denver Broncos fan, Drew is looking forward to the next football season.

Martha Stanczak Advertising Sales Rep

Martha Stanczak

Advertising Sales Rep

After working in the art and office supply industry for a number of years, Martha Stanczak joined Kalmbach Publishing Company in 1990. Her extensive background in sales paved the path necessary to help our advertising customers.

Since joining Kalmbach Martha has handled advertising sales for Garden Railways, Classic Toy Trains and Model Railroader magazines. Martha's first train trip was on a family vacation in the early 60's on the California Zephyr which began a lifelong interest in trains and model trains.

Martha's interests beyond model railroading include spending time with her husband as well as cooking for friends and family. She especially enjoys French cuisine and was once fortunate enough to meet and spend a day with Master Chef Julia Child.

Scott Redmond

Scott Redmond

Advertising Sales Manager

Scott Redmond joined the staff of Model Railroader in February 2007. Before joining MR, Scott worked as the advertising manager for Model Retailer magazine, the leading trade magazine for retail hobby stores and distributors. Scott has been with the advertising department of Kalmbach Publishing for over 10 years working to help advertisers promote new products, and increase brand awareness.

When not helping advertisers, Scott enjoys an assortment of hobbies including fishing, boating, and playing guitar.

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