Staff & Board of Directors

GAL Staff

Tim Olsen is the Guild’s Founding Editor and he helped Founding Father JR Beall get the GAL started back in 1972. His commitment to the Guild's principles of openness and sharing is evident in his stewardship of the Guild over the last forty years. Tim has edited, rewritten, clarified, complied, corrected, and/or combed over every article in every journal and book published by the Guild. In addition to his work on Guild publications, Tim does much of the technical development and project planning that keeps the Guild’s operation humming. Tim is a member of the Guild’s Board of Directors and serves as President. Tim's interest in lutherie started early: he started his first guitar at age twelve. He was operating his own shop at seventeen, and completed his professional lutherie career in his mid-twenties, when he began dedicating his full time work to the Guild and its publications. In his late fifties, he has a new workbench and has restarted his lutherie habit for fun.

Deb Olsen manages the Guild office, projects, and finances, works on proofreading and style for Guild publications, handles advertising accounts for AL, plans conventions, and a bunch of other stuff. She’s been doing this since she helped her boyfriend Tim put out the first Guild of American Luthiers Newsletter back in 1973. Deb is a member of the Guild’s Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer. She is interested in Victorian-era Aesthetic Movement design, and in her off hours, she works with children and adults to foster spiritual education based on the principles of the Baha’i Faith.

Bon Henderson started out typing the early GAL Newsletters and has been working for the Guild ever since. She handles incoming mail, does customer service, and helps with membership and order fulfillment, transcribes articles for American Lutherie, creates ad art, helps with planning conventions and lots of other stuff. Bon is a member of the Guild’s Board of Directors and serves as Secretary. She also is the artist who designed the GAL logo. In her other life, she is the drummer for the legendary NW rock band Girl Trouble.

Dale Phillips started working for the Guild in the late ‘80s. He is our webmaster, and he does our plan printing, photo prep work, handles wholesale book sales, bulk mailings, and various and sundry other stuff. He also is the friendly guy who manages the auction room at our conventions. Dale is the bass player for the legendary NW rock band Girl Trouble, likes to take pictures of his dog Buddy on abandoned street furniture, and likes old Volkswagons.

Kurt Kendall started working for the Guild in the early ‘90s. Kurt is our mail room guy whose main job is updating memberships and fulfilling all the orders that come in the GALHQ. If you’ve been to our conventions, you will know Kurt from the sales table, or from his highly entertaining performances as the master of ceremonies/auctioneer at our benefit auctions. Kurt also performs as the lead singer in the legendary NW rock band Girl Trouble, and keeps promising Deb that we are going to have an in-office karaoke party.

Steve McElrath is the newest staff member, starting in 2011. Steve is a professional photographer who prepares the photos for publication in American Lutherie and our books. He did photography duty at our 2011 GAL Convention and did the color tweaking on our Luthier’s Alphabet book. He also has been assisting in getting our new website up and running. Steve continues to work on his own photography when he’s not trying to sell “Tree Hugging Commie” t-shirts.

Isaac Olsen and Sam Olsen are the sons of Tim and Deb who have grown up in the Guild office, and since they got old enough, have helped out with Guild mailings and other projects. Isaac is a filmmaker who put together our Luthier’s Show and Tell DVD and has filmed various events Guild conventions. He also made a feature comedy film starting several members of the GAL staff. Sam plays guitar in his rock band, Red Hex, runs underground house shows and records local bands.

Board of Directors
In addition to Tim Olsen, Deb Olsen, and Bon Henderson, these two fine folks round out our Board of Directors:
Todd Brotherton is a professional fine furniture maker and luthier and has been a Guild member continuously since 1978. The first GAL Convention he attended was in Boston in 1979, and he has attended many more since then. Starting with our first auction at the Greensboro convention in 1984, Todd proved himself to be a member that the staff could rely on to help in the clutch. Todd is dedicated to the Guild’s ideals and has show this dedication in his years of service. In 1995, Todd began his work as our official convention coordinator, a job which he has continued through all subsequent conventions. Anyone who has attended a GAL Convention in the last decade and a half has seen the fruits of Todd’s labors. Todd resides in Mt. Shasta, CA with his wife Peg and their many rescued dogs.

Bob Petrulis was Tim’s guitar making partner when the Guild started publishing in the early ‘70s. Bob published several of our early newsletters before he made the wise decision to go on to a career in accounting, and then earning his PhD in higher education. Bob has continued his interest in the Guild. He provided assistance in obtaining our nonprofit IRS status and did the Guild’s federal tax filings for many years. Bob has two grown daughters and lives in Columbia, SC where he runs his own educational consulting firm, EPRE Consulting.

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