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Meet the Family Handyman Editors

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Get to know the editorial team behind Family Handyman‘s magazine, books and website.

Family Handyman‘s editors are homeowners and DIYers, just like you. With backgrounds in woodworking, set-building, construction, home improvement and journalism, our team is the creative force behind the helpful DIY projects, tips and repairs you’ve come to know and love.

Meet the editors.

Editorial Team

Fhm Headshots Amy Portrait

Amy Novak

Content Director

Amy is Family Handyman’s content director, leading a talented team of digital editors in producing helpful home improvement projects, expert tips, stellar product recommendations and DIY inspiration. Working in digital media for nearly two decades, Amy loves sharing stories and useful information that empowers readers to build, renovate, clean or fix things themselves. When she’s not at work, Amy can be found running through a state park, soaking up a beach or tending to her expansive veggie garden with her partner, three kids and two dogs.

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Berit Thorkelson

Assigning Editor

Berit manages Family Handyman’s freelance process, which includes recruiting, assigning and editing a growing bank of talented DIY and Pro contributors. (Find out how you can become one here.) It’s a perfect fit considering her decades of freelance experience for a variety of national publications and brands, and constant string of home and yard projects. She and her carpenter husband are midway through renovating the ‘60s ranch home they share with their two kids and geriatric schnoodle.

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Ryan Van Bibber

Deputy Editor

Ryan is a deputy editor at Family Handyman. He learned DIY helping his father, a carpenter, at home and on jobsites over the years, putting those skills into practice as a homeowner. A resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, he is especially proud of his aptitude with a swamp cooler, repairing stucco and engineering makeshift shade. A career journalist, Ryan covered the NFL for more than a decade, worked as a senior editor at Outside as well as writing and editing buying guides and product reviews for several national publications. When he’s not working, you can find him on the trails with his family and two very good dogs.

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Shay Tilander

Senior Editor

Shay is a senior editor at Family Handyman. When he’s not enjoying family time with his wife and three boys, he loves tinkering with projects and geeking out on electronics. Shay enjoys technology — optimizing WiFi, configuring IOT devices and troubleshooting his kids’ devices, to name a few. He’s been a snowboarder for more than 30 years and loves hitting the slopes with his family. He’s also kind of a nerd, embracing all things Star Wars and other ‘80s and ’90s memorabilia.
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Donna Bierbach

Senior Editor

A senior editor at Family Handyman, Donna edits all the print content, writes some of it, and does whatever it takes to make the train run on time. After 31 years of shaping home improvement stories, she is overly proud of completing her first woodworking project — a live-edge slab coffee table. She enjoys hiking, the family cabin, a whole lot of crafts, and spending time with her husband, college-age daughter and (unfortunately just one) really good dog.

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Brad Holden

Deputy Projects Editor

As deputy projects editor for Family Handyman, Brad has seen and done pretty much everything around home repair and DIY projects. His experience with tools, plans and projects gives him a voice of authority with anything from plumbing to furniture building.

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Harrison Kral

Senior Editor

Harrison is a born-and-bred Midwesterner with a passion for writing and building things. Whether you need to know how to build a deck or the best way to set up your home WiFi network, he’s your guy. He covers various topics including construction industry news, cutting-edge home building trends and the latest advances in smart home technology.

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Mike Berner


Mike can build any complicated project. He also reviews tools with a keen attention to detail and creates projects for every level of DIYer. He learned some of his craft when he was a schoolteacher, but more as a builder. When he’s not building or remodeling something, Mike has two young kids that keep him on his toes.

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Mary Flanagan

Associate Assigning Editor

Mary brings more than two decades of copy editing and project management experience to her role as associate assigning editor for Family Handyman. She guides freelance contributors through the content creation process, drafts assignments and reviews copy to ensure each piece of content is accurate, authoritative and on-brand. Outside of work, you’ll find her trying new recipes, watching reality and true-crime TV and hanging out with the family dogs. Mary is based in St. Paul but loves escaping to Marco Island and L.A. to work remotely in winter.

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Jay Cork

Associate Editor

Jay started his work in remodeling focusing on trim carpentry, then moved to custom cabinetry. One project led to another, and he learned custom architectural accents, low voltage wiring, HVAC, siding and more. As a hobby, Jay builds, repairs and refinishes musical instruments and dabbles in audio recording.

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Joe Cruz

Projects Editor

Joe began in carpentry building and remodeling houses, doing custom cabinetry and kitchen installation. He also did prop work for theaters and exhibit building for national museums. Although Joe is also a fine furniture maker, his real passions are music and woodturning. He features his woodturning projects on streaming platforms and in various art shows and galleries.

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Alex Shoemaker

Newsletter Editor

Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he’s been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.

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Ethan O’Donnell

Affiliate eCommerce Editor

Ethan comes from a custom woodworking, set and prop-building and exhibit construction background. His experience shines through in the tools and product recommendations he shares with readers through the Family Handyman Approved series. When not working, you can find him riding his bicycle, reading, drawing or at a nearby brewery discussing the recent Formula 1 happenings with friends.

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Pat Borzi

Copy Editor

A native New Yorker with more than 40 years experience in journalism, Pat edits digital copy at Family Handyman. His late father, an avid DIYer, subscribed to FHM in the 1960s and ’70s, and he’d be tickled to know his son can make small repairs and operate a gas grill without incident. Pat lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their rambunctious cat. In his free time he enjoys biking, grilling and travel.

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