The ChiLUG Team!


  • President:
    Ben Merrill
  • Vice President:
    Vern Tompkins
  • LUG Ambassador:
    Alysa Kirkpatrick
  • Membership Chair:
    Mike McDermott


  • Josh Allinger
  • Rocco Buttliere
  • Dan Church
  • Joshua Coslet
  • Joe Dadabo
  • Terry Erickson
  • Nicky, Lisa, and John Fitzgerald
  • Joel Frazin
  • Maria, Antonio and Joseph Gaido
  • Michael Hall
  • Beth and Dan Hanson
  • Michael Higgins
  • Matthew Holt
  • Scott and Nathan Ingerson
  • Nick Jensen
  • Alysa Kirkpatrick
  • Nathan Loll
  • Mike Lynn
  • Caleb and Casey McCoy
  • Mike and Bill McDermott
  • Ben Merrill
  • Lynne, Ryan and Jon Morris
  • Peter Mowry
  • Alex Niedra
  • Charlene and Matthew Oh
  • Daniel Olvera
  • Dave Pickett
  • Ian Spacek
  • John Thornton
  • Vern and Michelle Tompkins
  • Beth Weis


  • Dave and John Xandegar (Founding Members)
  • Jeff & Robin Viens
  • Bryan & Kathie Bonahoom
  • Adam Reed Tucker
  • Ben Caulkins
  • Yaroslav Luk’yanchenko


Rocco Buttliere

Rocco has been an enthusiastic LEGO user since he was in first grade! The focus of his LEGO building activity over the past couple of years has been the creation of skyscraper models, all at a scale of 1:650. His work has been greatly inspired by the creations of Spencer Rezkalla. Rocco’s technique and attention to detail has earned him widespread recognition and admiration by Members of the LEGO Community.

He’s already had a couple of successful solo exhibits, a couple of LUG exhibits, and a couple of Brickworld appearances, having the honor of receiving the LCP Award from Ryan McNaught when these amazing little skyscrapers appeared at Brickworld 2011. There are over twenty Builidng Replicas in his display collection now, utilizing tens of thousands of small parts. “My favorite part of building is discovering new ways that elements can work together to achieve desired real-world affects”, says Rocco.

Rocco is currently attending the Illinois Institute of Technology, working on his studies in Architecture. He is also a Member of the Kenosha LEGO Users Group.

Dan Church

Dan Church is just one of those people that picked up something and never put it down! LEGO has served as an intellectual tool as well as a design medium. Dan, 18 and going off to college in the fall, has displayed some of his work and really enjoyed the exposure.

Dan first got some decent exposure when joining the LEGO fan site MOCpages in 2008. Since then, he’s expanded to other sites such as Flickr, Eurobricks, and a few other minor blogs and has even won a few small contests to boot. The fun really came when he attended Brickworld in Wheeling, IL in 2011. Getting to meet so many of the builder’s he’d seen online as eye-opening.

He has exhibited at Octobrickfest 2010, Brickworld 2012, and Bricktavia 2012, along with Fellow ChiLUG Members Dave & John Xandegar, Jeff & Robin Viens, and John Thornton.

He’s currently studying Engineering at UW-Platteville, and hopefully not have to cut back too much on the building time.

Joe Dadabo

LEGO Enthusiast Joe Dadabo has always appreciated the art of LEGO. As a child, he would build sets and leave them up for display, while making some up of his own. During his college years, he didn’t have many LEGO around, but studied intensely at the Art Institute-Schaumburg, where he learned much more about form and function. Joe’s tools were mostly pencil, as well as a little bit of photoshop, flash, and 3d max. While it was educational, the medium just didn’t feel right for him. His aptitude for math might have brought him to become a successful math teacher…but that didn’t quite “fit” him either.

In 2009 Joe started his work at Legoland, and his love of LEGO was rekindled to it’s fullest. He started there as an entertainer, where he did shows and builds with the kids. At the moment Joe works at the Discovery Center full time, both as food and beverage lead and as a model builder assistant. Someday he hopes to be model builder full time and show the world the joy that LEGO can bring to one’s life.

Terry Erickson

As a child, Terry enjoyed creating with Tinker Toys and American Bricks. Now he is proud to create with Lego! He supports the use of reusable materials to enhance creative and imaginative skills.

Terry really enjoys displaying at public events. The biggest thrill is knowing that something he created can bring somebody joy and inspire them to expand their own creativity.

His MOCs are mostly of things he likes or means something to him. Among his favorites are his: Organ, Aquarium, Mouse Maze, Lighthouse(s), BookMobile, and Family House. He usually adds some humor into his creations.

Terry keeps track of his Lego stuff on his website. He comments on the Lego sets he has purchased along with pictures usually staged in some fun way. He also has pictures and some background on his own MOCs, some simple model building guides, and scenes from his own Militleton fictional Lego city.

His website is:

Nicky Fitzgerald (& Family)

LEGO has been a part of Fitzgerald family life for many years. John and Lisa are primarily facilitators (although they both have ideas for things they would like to build in their “spare” time!). Nicky has been building with LEGO since he was a toddler. His specialty is creating MOCs with Mindstorms and Technic. In recent years he has created a flex picker, a learning color sorter, and an interactive tic-tac-toe robot. He has also built several line followers, maze solvers, sumo robots and boats. Nicky has displayed his creations at Brickworld Chicago every year since 2012, and expanded to Brickworld Indianapolis in 2014 as well. His sumo robots have been in the finals of the Brickworld Chicago competition several times, and his boats won the Drag Race in 2013 and the Obstacle Course in 2014. Currently, he is working on a Mars Rover collection, as well as a SCARA (Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm). The other Fitzgerald children, Joshua, Benjamin, Mary and Rachel, also enjoy building with LEGO. Some of their creations have brought home Brickworld trophies in the LEGO Derby and LEGO Drag Race, and Mary was on a team that built a robot which made it to the sumo finals in 2014. They plan to work more on creating MOCS in the future

Joel Frazin

Joel Frazin is a semi-retired LEGO builder in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. He “returned from dark ages” when his nephew became old enough to build with LEGO in the mid-1990s. Joel enjoys building with LEGO to “Zen-out”, and he loves seeing what other LEGO builders can create. Joel’s LEGO building tends toward LEGO trains, LEGO Star Wars, and video game themes. On Joel’s LEGO “to do” list is a Hogwarts Express (he designed a 6-stud wide Hogwarts Express MOC on LDD back in 2015), and he’s also looking to build a GlaDOS setting from Portal. Joel won the Volunteer Appreciation Award for both years that he volunteered at Brickworld Chicago.

Pics of Joel’s MOCs can be viewed on MOCs Pages at the link below:

Beth and Dan Hanson

Beth and Dan Hanson are a “mother and son duo” of LEGO builders who share a passion for LEGO building that has lasted for most of 25 years. Beth enjoys building LEGO architecture and microscale, while Dan loves to build LEGO mechs and ships. The Hansons attended Brickworld Chicago 2015 and were inspired to display their own LEGO MOCs, so they displayed at Brickworld Chicago 2016. Beth has indicated that she’s looking forward to learning new techniques to build with LEGO.

Michael Higgins

Michael has enjoyed Legos for as long as he can remember starting at around age 3 and his love for the little bricks has just grown since. He started building with just boxes of regular bricks, then began building Lego Star Wars sets due to his obsession with Star Wars, and finally began constructing some personal MOCs. The real awakening for Mike was attending his first Brickworld in 2010. The sheer size and quality of MOCs there inspired him to real take up building more seriously and get more involved in the Lego community. While loving to build just about anything that comes to mind Michael likes to specialize more in military airplane/historical builds, sports related MOCs, and recreating items or scenes from movies.

While off Lego building duty Michael is an Aviation Flight student and studying to become a professional pilot. He enjoys long distance running (yes for fun), reading novels, playing videogames from the Atari 2600 and NES to the Xbox 360. His favorite themes include Power Miners, Sports, Studios, and Star Wars.

Matthew Holt

Matthew Holt has been a life-long fan (and owner) of LEGO, and enjoys collecting Series Mini Figs and the Arctic sets. Matt has drawn his own layout in CAD for a 8’x16′ display (and just needs is a couple thousand more bricks to build it!!!!). Matt lives in Decatur and is hoping to host a LEGO display event there.

Scott & Nathan Ingerson

Scott Ingerson enjoys tinkering with his RC Lego boat and NXT Sumo robot, which he has enjoyed competing with at Brickworld. He also enjoys the Zen-like pleasure of sorting the bazillion Technic connectors (greebles!) strewn about in the wake of Nathan’s building frenzies, which had earned him the nickname of “Das Greebler” in MOCpages circles.

Scott has also fashioned a monthly Bio-building contest group, known as the Bio-MOC Challenge-Build Society (BCBS) on MOCpages, that has attracted over 160 interested Bio-Builders to join. He and his friend Glen created an enormous (5×18) 3D model landscape for displaying Nathan’s MOCs at Brickworld Chicago 2012,

Which can be seen here:

Nathan Ingerson is a 13 year-old “Bio-MOCist” -a Lego enthusiast who specializes in humanoid, animal, and monster creations; primarily using Technic, Bionicle and Hero Factory-style parts to bring his creations to life. He has been building his own action-figures with great energy and focus since he got his first Bionicle at age 4.

Some of his highlights include displaying at Brickworld 2011 and 2012, and taking second out of 80 Bio-MOCists in the 2011 “Bio-Cup” on MOCpages. He is heavily involved in the “Bio-MOC community on MOCpages, and more recently on BZPower. Nathan hopes to display at next year’s Brickfair (where more Bio-MOCists tend to gather) as well as Brickworld 2013. He attempts to keep high standards of aesthetic value, pose and playability, originality, and personality in all of his work. His long-term dream and goal is to become a toy designer, ideally for Lego itself. Nathan recently brought some of his Bio-MOCs on vacation to Peru where he was able to stage a karate battle scene at Machu Picchu. This scene and the rest of his work can be accessed from his MOCpages home:

Nick Jensen

Nick has been both a LEGO builder and a gamer since he was two years old. From the Super Nintendo to the Xbox 360, from Super Mario Kart to Halo: Reach, gaming has been a very important aspect of Nick’s life. Gaming has been his major source of inspiration for his creative and replica mocs.

At school and with friends, Nick has been known as the “LEGO kid” – in a good way!

Nick is most well known for his Halo replicas, ranging from minifigure scaled replicas of the vehicles and environments to life size replicas of the weapons. Every aspect of Halo has something challenging to recreate with the bricks, and Nick is always ready to tackle the challenge! His Halo work has been featured on The Brothers Brick twice and even on IGN!

Nick has displayed his mocs at Brickworld Chicago 2010 and Brickworld Chicago 2011. It’s a blast to have other people admire his creations at such a huge convention that is also close to home. Aside from LEGO and gaming, Nick studies mechanical engineering in college.

Alysa Kirkpatrick

Alysa is a recent graduate of Illinois Institiute of Technology, with a B.A. in architecture. She’s been building models, and buildings, using different mediums including LEGO. In LEGO, she creates a large range of different pieces, from picturesque landscapes, to buildings, to sculptures. Alysa has displayed at Brickworld 2011, and 2012, as well as the Mies van der Rohe birthday party expositions. She’s been playing with LEGO since before she can remember, (~ age 5).

Mike Lynn

Mike Lynn has been collecting LEGOs since he was little. He started with the castle theme because he’s always been fascinated by the medieval ages and watching the enormous castle siege battles in movies. When LEGO’s Star Wars theme came out Mike bought them all, as he was a huge fan of Star Wars. Mike has built and disassembled some custom builds of his own but he enjoys LEGO’s kits. Mike is currently trying to develop ways to fill out a LEGO castle village, and hopes to also improve his landscaping techniques. Mike is also a fan of LEGO mosaics and hopes to try his hand at that, too.

Mike obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Roosevelt University, and works with his cousin’s business, Wire Doctor, repairing automotive electrical issues at body shops as far north as Kenosha, WI and as far south as Joliet.

Mike & Bill McDermott

Mike McDermott has been collecting and building LEGO for over 3 decades. One of his first memories of building Lego was a Rescue Helicopter set from the late 1970’s. Although he builds from most LEGO themes, his true passion resides with building Space themed and City themed LEGO creations, along with a hint of the whimsical. (Check out his Brickworld 2012 display on his flickr photostream). He has displayed at Brickworld 2011 and Brickworld 2012, displaying MOC’s from both Space and City themes. Mike also has an interest in using LEGO as an Education tool. As a Cub Scout Leader, he has used LEGO several times to encourage expression through free building, and hopes to continue to provide LEGO as an educational platform.Billy McDermott has been building longer than he has walked, receiving his first set while an infant. Billy’s building of Lego has inspired many of his friends to futher explore their own creativity. His favorite themes include Ninjago, Hero Factory and the retired Power Miners.

Casey McCoy

Casey has been building since he could put two Duplo bricks together. However, he got active in the Lego community in 2010 with the discovery of a LEGO podcast (LMALradio) on a Bionicle forum (BZPower) and found out about the rest of the online community from there. Since then, he has consistently attended Brickworld Chicago since 2011, built in a variety of themes and styles, and honed his skills over time. His favorite theme is Forestmen. He ran the Lego blog MosaicBricks from 2010 to 2013, is the Cinema Co-Coordinator for Brickworld Chicago, runs the brickfilm/stop-motion animation Youtube channel Studio PICO, and has been featured on the Brothers Brick and BrickNerd.

Ben Merrill

Ben Merrill was introduced to LEGO at an early age and remembers the Sport Convertible and Turbo Prop I from the Classic Town theme as two of his first sets. From there, his interests expanded into the medieval themed sets of that era; Forestmen, Wolfpack, Black Falcons & Crusaders. His builds span a breadth of themes with literature and nature being two primary sources of inspiration.

Lynne, Ryan and Jon Morris

Jon and Ryan Morris (pictured) have been building with LEGO for many years, and have displayed at numerous Brickworld Chicago events. Jon and Ryan enjoy building large-scale birds (eagle, macaw, etc.), as well as cartoon characters like Sylvester and Tweety Bird, Snoopy and Woodstock, etc., plus building airplanes, monster trucks, and other unique creations. Lynne Morris enjoys volunteering at ChiLUG Chicago events, and has participated in ChiLUG library display events.

Peter Mowry

Peter Mowry has been designing and building with Lego since as early as he can remember, using his imagination or ideas from his sketch books. Mostly his inspiration has been a SciFi novel he has been writing since high school. Peter’s great passion is the Tron movies, as reflected in many of his impressive and unique Tron-based MOCs. Peter’s Tron Legacy Light Cycle was awarded Best Land Vehicle at Brickworld 2012.Peter credits his wife as a great support of his Lego goals.

Many of Peter’s creations can be viewed on MOC pages at: and on flickr at:

Alex Niedra

Alex Niedra has been a LEGO fan for most of his life, having started in a First LEGO League when he was in the fourth grade. Alex is a big fan of Halo and Destiny, and is a self-described “Big Time Gamer”. Alex has a Twitch profile with which he is planning to stream. Alex has displayed his LEGO creations at several Brickworld Chicago events, and in Brickwork Chicago 2014 Alex was nominated for Best Youth Creation for a minifig-scale Halo pelican. Alex lives in West Chicago, IL.

Matthew Oh

Matthew has been building Lego creations as long as he can remember. However his love for building his own creations did not start until he joined MOCpages. Once he started posting builds, his interest in Lego grew, and it has never stopped. He soon grew to love the medieval genre, and joined Classic-Castle in 2012. One of his main inspirations, Mark Erickson, invited him to join the RPG, the Lands of Classic Castle (LCC, now LoR). Upon joining, his Lego life changed; he began to build mainly for LCC/LoR, and his skills improved with every build. He studied other builder’s creations, especially his inspirations (Mark Erickson, Kyle Ransom, Sean and Steph Mayo, Legohaulic, and many more) to learn as many techniques as he could. Then in January of 2013, he joined flickr, and expanded to other sites as well (Brickshelf, Eurobricks, Facebook, ReBrick). Matthew is now fairly well known on these sites and has a Facebook page, with over 2,000 followers, where he shares his WIP pictures, news, and creations!

Besides building with Lego, Matthew also enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, football, basketball, piano, biking, gaming (video and board), and reading.

Take a look at Matthew’s creations at the following sites:

Daniel Olvera

Daniel Olvera, known on Flickr as DanielBrickSon, is a MOCist of many years. It all started with a green duplo bucket around age 5. Growing up duplo evolved to Bionicle, with his first real LEGO set being Toa Nuparu of the Inika theme. from then mocs were just a given talent, and growing up his mocs were bionicle based till about age 13 when he got his first system Lego set, the creator Sonic Boom set. after building all three models in the 3-in-1 he sought out how to change those rules, and from then, system mocs went along with bionicle mocs, but they stayed one or the other until recently. Constraction models came into fruition and from there mocs became more organic and mechanical, And with Technic in his collection he sought out ways to but function into system.

A big fan of Ninjago and bionicle, with sub faves being hero factory and technic. however most his mocs revolve around figures based on Marvel or DC, with some pokemon and other themes mixed in. With a tendency to be open to any challenge, his mocs tend to mix in just about anything, from a fully remote controlled custom bane’s tumbler and a custom Y-wing to World war hulk and Mega lucario. Any challenge is a window to new opportunities and skills. Now a recent member of ChiLUG and virtual lug BioniLUG, he has been exposed to more experiences and opportunities that AFOLS indulge in all the time,

Dave Pickett

Dave Pickett is a lifelong LEGO fan and pop culture enthusiast. He runs the YouTube channel BRICK 101 where he shares his LEGO animations, custom LEGO creations, LEGO set reviews and other fun videos. Dave is co-author of The LEGO Animation Book. When he’s not building with LEGO bricks, Dave enjoys playing video games, reading comic books, watching nerdy TV shows, playing board games, and exploring Chicago with his husband Bert and their dog Sophie.

John Thornton

John Thornton started building with LEGO at an early age, after receiving a shoebox of old, hand-me-down LEGO bricks. John’s building genre tends toward transportation, with over 100 vehicles, several iconic ships, and he has a few other unique LEGO creations (for display). John has participated in several LEGO KidsFest events, numerous Brickworld fan conventions, and many public library display events. John is most active in display/build events at several midwestern children’s hospitals (Chicago-area children’s hospitals at NW Memorial Hospital and Rush University Medical Center, as well as Nationwide Children’s Hospital based in Columbus, OH). In addition, John displays at other volunteer benefit events throughout the Midwest.

John’s article on building LEGO vehicles was published in LEGO’s “Master Builder Academy” (March 2012 edition).

John and his family currently live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Vern and Michelle Tompkins

Vern Tompkins is a LEGO builder from Kankakee, IL. Vern has been building with LEGO since he was young, and has a large collection of LEGO buildings (LEGO Architectural sets and his own MOCs). Vern is inspired by buildings and other structures in the Chicago loop area (such as his CNA building and Crain Communications/Stone Container building in downtown Chicago), and he is currently working on a 8’x16′ LEGO layout of the City of Chicago! Vern attended Brickworld and Brickfest in 2015, and now is planning to display at Brickworld, desiring to “get more involved” with LEGO at display events.

Vern’s wife Michelle is also a LEGO builder, and has been building together with Vern since 2000. Michelle enjoys LEGO Disney sets and also builds LEGO mosaics (such as her mosaic of Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat In The Hat”).

Beth Weis

Beth Weis has been building with LEGO bricks on and off for her entire life. She remembers the first McDonald’s LEGO Happy Meal in 1983 renewing her interest in LEGO building. Her passion for building is evident in her home as she is literally surrounded by LEGO walls and LEGO home decor.

After the birth of her 4th child in 1994, she developed “Brickology” to offset her building costs and provide social, emotional, cognitive, and motor skill enrichment to other children. She began teaching at South Park School and the Deerfield Park District. Shortly after its inception, “Learning through LEGO” earned the “Best New Early Childhood Program” award at a Parks and Recreation conference.

Beth now facilitates over 500 events a year, including workshops, classes, parties, volunteering, community events, camp and daycare programs, team-building, conventions, fairs, scouting events, and school visits.

Dave & John Xandegar (Founding Members)

Jeff & Robin Viens

Jeff and Robin have been married since 2004. Since then LEGO has played a large roll in their marriage. From the LEGO cake topper on their wedding cake to their most recent displays at events like Brickworld and many model railroad shows, they enjoy building and spreading inspiration to others.

Their LEGO collection spans every decade going back to the the town plan set from 1958 and a wood toy that dates to 1947.

Jeff has acheived 2 World Records in LEGO by building “The World’s Largest LEGO Trebuchet” and “The Longest Distance Thrown by a Medievel War Machine”, as well as a throwing contest at Brickworld in 2009. Their current display is the fictitious town of “Shackleton”

Bryan & Kathie Bonahoom, Fishers, IN

It’s an honor for us to have these two aboard! Bryan and Kathie are the heart and soul that work SO hard to bring us the wonderful BRICKWORLD events in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne.

They’re a true inspiration to many of us, and there are those in the ChiLUG ranks that consider them “Family”.

ChiLUG shouts out the big Chicago Style “Thank you!”…we love you both!

Bryan is a long standing Member of IndyLUG, a terrific bunch of People we’ve displayed elbow to elbow with many times over the years!

Adam Reed Tucker

Adam Reed Tucker has not only built many amazing things with LEGO, but has also built a career around the successful fusion of LEGO and Architecture. He holds a Degree in Architecture with an emphasis on Philosophy and Design Theory from Kansas State University.

In 2002, he set out to explore his passion for both LEGO and Architecture, envisioning use of the brick being no different than say, paint to a painter, or metal to a blacksmith. After 3 years of development, the concept of ARTitecture™ (now known as Brickstructures, Inc.) was born. A LEGO based educational platform emphasizing the studies of Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

In 2006, Adam created Brickworld, along with Bryan Bonahoom. Brickworld, Chicago’s new LEGO Convention, originally rose from the ashes of Chicago House of Bricks, which showcased the unique talents of many Chicago area LEGO Artists.

Brickstructures, Inc. formally joined forces with The LEGO Group in 2007 to form a partnership offering the world a share in Adam’s vision called LEGO Architecture. The following year, he became a LEGO Certified Professional, focusing specifically on the design & construction of skyscrapers and other architectural wonders. In 2009, he brought LEGO Architecture into the classroom, where students learn hands-on the power the LEGO as more than just a toy.

Adam’s “ART of Architecture, Art + Science = Architecture” exhibit was officially debuted in 2010 at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. His “LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition” Exhibit opened the same year at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and continues it’s run until this Fall.

Ben Caulkins (Benny Brickster), Chappaqua, NY

Ben is a Good Friend and fellow Brickworld Exhibitor from WAY back! He’s wowed us with wonderful things, like his Halo MasterChief Costume (yes, it’s LEGO), and his magnificent Covenant Assault Carrier!

Ben will be displaying with ChiLUG at Brickworld 2013…don’t miss it!

Enjoy all of Ben’s LEGO adventures on his Flickr Photostream:

Yaroslav “Ros” Luk’yanchenko, Moscow, Russia

Ros is a terrific LEGO Artist, and after he created this wonderful “Chicago” scene for a recent Landscape Contest, we couldn’t resist having him as an Honorary Member of ChiLUG!

Enjoy lots more goodies from this Talent on his Flickr Photostream: