Our Coaches

We couldn't make repair magic without our Repair Coaches. These are the folks who partner with our guests to find solutions to repair and restore cherished household items.

Here are just a few these magicians.


Chuk Gleason

What are your favorite items to repair?

Electrical & electronics, lamps, radios, etc.

Where/How did you get your repair knowledge?

30+ years of industrial electrical, manufacturing, troubleshooting experience of making things work the way they should. Or better! Mostly under the heading of things touching radio systems.

Why is repair important to you?

During my first job out of college I met an old design engineer who said things "Should not rust, bust, or collect dust." Great words to live by!

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Caitlyn Hill

What are your favorite items to repair?

Music boxes and clocks

How did you get your repair knowledge?

Practice! I've been taking apart things to see how they work for ages, and I eventually got good at putting them back together again.

Why is repair important to you?

Fixing things is making a stand against entropy. But from a less philosophical viewpoint, the disposability of our modern culture is not sustainable long term. Things can often be fixed and are instead thrown away, and I like that the repair cafe helps folks become aware that an item that stops functioning is not automatically trash.

If it already doesn't work, why not try to fix it? You're not going to make it worse.

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Tom Karches

Tom is Coach #1 at Repair Café NC. He was the first to register our chapter with Repair Café International and continues to be one of the most enthusiastic advocates for repair. "I find it very satisfying to fix an item for someone. I learn something every time."

What are your favorite items to repair?

TV's

How did you get your repair knowledge?

My dad would fix stuff and I would watch. I also learned a lot on my own

Why is repair important to you?

With consumer electronics, repair keeps e-waste out of landfills. I don't like waste.

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Bob Kulow

I worked as an engineer at a commercial radio station while in college. I am retired from Bell Laboratories after 30 years service. Amateur radio (my call is WA2UEH) and electronics have been a big part of my life since childhood.

Before moving to NC, I worked with a furniture refinishing business in Pennsylvania. They restored the cabinets of older console radios and I restored the chassis. So, the customer ended up with a 1930's or 1940's console radio that looked and played like new!

My favorite antique radio is a 1939 Philco console that my wife, Nancy, gave me as a wedding present 40+ years ago. It still works!

What are your favorite items to repair?

Pre-1960 radios. I can still get parts for them and repair them, unlike many modern radios. Most of the parts needed are in my spare parts stocks in the basement.

How did you get your repair knowledge?

Reading many books, learning from older, experienced people and experimenting were the primary ways. Picking up junked TV and radio sets during cleanup week and fixing them was my school-age hobby and taught me a lot. In high school I earned spending money by repairing radios and televisions.

Why is repair important to you?

These older radios are history that should be preserved. They have an elegance that is sorely lacking in today's plastic ones. Using older radios requires more user interaction than modern, computerized ones. They don't do the thinking for you. They are just more fun to use!

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Cathy Murphy

What are your favorite items to repair?

beaded necklaces, bracelets, earrings, replacement clasps, ear wires, chains, knotting/restringing pearls, small mending jobs

How did you get your repair knowledge?

I've had a small jewelry making business on the side since 1992. I've taken some workshops and have learned by doing. I restrung pearls for a local jewelry shop. I learned to sew my own clothes as a teen and made costumes for some folk dance groups.

Why is repair important to you?

I really dislike seeing waste - especially when something still useful is thrown away. I'm concerned about the ecological impact of growing landfills, and I try to be a better steward of our planet. The other problem is that there are people in need of items that are being thrown out. I like repairing items that can then be used and enjoyed again. I love helping folks learn how to repair what is broken, and to learn and share how to re-use, recycle, re-gift or donate more items rather than disposing.

I love the collaborative environment of the Cafe!

The volunteers consult with each other, as needed, and share ideas, tools and materials. I've been encouraged to learn more and step out of my comfort zone. I've done a couple things at home I may not have attempted, if not for my experience with Repair Cafe!

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