Instructors

Wim Blees, RPT

Wim started working on pianos in his dad’s shop when he was 12 years old. After he graduated from college and taught band and chorus for six years, he started his full time piano service business in 1977 in St. Louis, Missouri. Then from 2001 – 2007 he was the piano technician for the University of Alabama. In 2007 he and his wife moved to Hawaii, and in 2021 he retired from full time piano work and moved to Florida. Wim has given lectures at over 55 PTG seminars and convention on a wide variety of subjects including tuning, repairing, rebuilding and business. He has served on the PTG Board of Directors as the Central West Vice President and was a CTE for many years. In addition to writing numerous articles for the Piano Technicians Journal, he is the author of: the business of piano tuning: a guide to marketing, managing, promoting, buying and selling a piano service business.  in 2021 he was awarded Member of Note at the convention in Orlando.

Melanie Brooks

Melanie is a third generation PTG Member; after obtaining a BA degree in Economics and Business she worked  in the corporate arena for nearly a decade.

 

She returned to Brooks LTD joining her family business and in 2009 she bought the business from technicians Wally and Vivian Brooks, carrying it into a second generation .  Continuing to collaborate with technicians and rebuilders to create, service, and restore instruments with innovative and specialized products and services.

Chris Blees, CPA/ABV, CM&AA

Chris Blees took the role of President of BiggsKofford in 2007 after beginning his career with the same firm 1994. In 2003, Chris expanded the firm and launched the firm’s M&A and Investment Banking practice, now operating as BiggsKofford Capital, which has been involved in over 200 merger, acquisition, or sale transactions throughout the United States. Chris contributes to the national M&A community through his service as the Chairman on the Board of Advisors for the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors (AMAA), and where he acts as the lead instructor for the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor designation, taught through DePaul, Pepperdine and other universities’ executive MBA programs. He was also retained by Wiley Publishing to co-author a book entitled Middle Market M&A: Handbook for Investment Banking and Consulting. In addition to being a CPA and ABV, Chris holds the CM&AA designation, and multiple securities licenses. Chris remains active in many professional organizations, including having served for years on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, the UCCS Chancellor’s Leadership Council, the Alliance of M&A Advisors (AMAA), and Chairman for Western Colorado University (WSU) Board of Trustees.

Dave Conte, RPT, CTE, TEC

Dave is the piano technician at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Before coming to UT in 2020, Dave spent 28 years in Ft. Worth Texas, where he had a rebuilding shop and piano store. He attended the Little Red School House as well as the Steinway Technical school. He has also trained with Bosendorfer, Bechstein, Seiler and Kawaii.  While in Ft. Worth, he was one of the technicians for the Cliburn Competition, Ft. Worth Opera and the Dallas Symphony.

Dave joined the PTG in 1995 and became an RPT in 2001. He is an CTE and TEC. He has taught at various seminars and PTG Conventions. Dave became an Instructor in Piano Technology at Tarrant County College which required developing the curriculum for the class he taught there. He also founded the North Texas School of Piano Technology which was operating as one of the last “brick-and-mortar” hands-on academies left in the USA until his departure to serve at UT.

Leo Holder, RPT

Leo studied piano at a music conservatory in Europe throughout his youth before moving to New York in 1971, where he studied physics at NYU and piano technology at the Manhattan School of Music. He then attended North Bennett Street school with Bill Garlick and Dave Betts. In 1976 he became the piano technician at the Third Street Music school. Later he opened the New York Piano Center. He served as Vice President and President of the New York chapter. 

In 1993 he completed New York University Seminar "Professional and Legal Liability for Appraisers, and successfully completed a 15-hour course and examination on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the Congressionally recognized set of appraisal standards promulgated by The Appraisal Foundation. Amongst his many accomplishments, he prepared the Alma Tadema piano for auction at Sotheby's, which sold for $ 400,000.00, highest price paid on a piano at auction in the World (1979)

In addition to being an RPT Member of PTG, Leo is also a Member of the Appraisers Association of America.

Bill McKaig, RPT

Bill McKaig has been a piano technician since 1984 and became an RPT in 1987. He has  taught classes on both the state and national levels. He has a passion for rebuilding pianos  and specializes in custom action work and performance voicing. He enjoys mentoring and is  currently the president of the local PTG chapter.

Kelly Hollifield

Kelly is General Manager of Dampp-Chaser Electronics, manufacturer of the Piano Life Saver. Kelly joined the company in 2004, becoming General Manager in 2010 and a shareholder in 2020. Responsible for overseeing all aspects of the business, including technical support, customer training, human resources, production management and quality oversight, Kelly has a deep understanding of the Piano Life Saver. Her comprehensive knowledge of the product and its impact on pianos shines in her classes thanks to her experience in teaching and tenure in the piano industry. 

Dean Reyburn, RPT

Dean served on the ETSC since 1996 and acts as Advisor and CTE skill reviewer, and has received Member of Note and Hall of Fame awards. Dean has many years experience as concert tuner and Steinway and Yamaha technician. He attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in the 1970s where he studied piano technology with Virgil Smith, RPT. Dean is a self-taught Software Engineer and lead engineer on the CyberTuner project. Dean also runs Reyburn Pianoworks, which manufactures piano keysets, keyframes, and actions for rebuilt and new pianos.

Nate Reyburn, RPT

Nate trained in piano technology both with Dean (his dad) and at North Bennet Street School in Boston. Nate's passions are not only for piano tech but for making tools for the trade, including the Reyburn Rigid tuning hammer and the Reyburn CyberHammer, the industry's finest impact tuning hammer. Nate has produced the PTG's Golden Tuning Hammer award since 2013, the highest PTG award given. Nate, his wife Bethann and three daughters live in Kent City, Michigan where he tunes pianos and pursues the ever elusive perfect tuning lever.

Starr Taylor, RPT

Starr Taylor started tuning & rebuilding pianos in 1985. A machinist out of high-school, he apprenticed with Andrew Snowden and joined the PTG in 1987.

 

Starr is a full service provider and offers tuning, voicing, action work & soundboard installation. He enjoys Art, Motorcycles, & Traveling.

Tom Servinski, RPT

Tom lives a multi-faceted professional musical career. In addition to being a  Concert Artist Piano Technician and Restorer, he is also an avid Symphony Musician, conductor, Rock Orchestra Arranger/Collaborator, Clarinet Instructor, and Cocktail/Jazz Pianist.

An RPT since 1984, then became a CTE in 1986. Served as the SE Technical Exam director from 1988-1992, and President of the Florida State PTG for 2 terms.  His restored pianos can be found in many of the concert halls and recording studios throughout S. Florida. He is a Stanwood touch weight installer, and completed all of the Steinway and Yamaha factory courses. In his “spare time”, he is the conductor of the Treasurure Coast Youth Symphony and Academy Orchestra, and plays clarinet in the Atlantic Classical Orchestra. And on the side, he is an arranger of over 100 symphonic rock orchestra pieces collaborating with 2 touring tribute groups doing the music of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin.  Most recently, he just completed his first symphony “ Zeppelin Symphony No. 1” based on 4 Zeppelin songs, formatted into the Romantic Symphonic composition format.

Li Yeoh

Li Yeoh, Director of Piano Technology, joined the faculty at the Florida State University College of Music in academic year 2017/18. Dr. Yeoh directs the graduate degree program in Piano Technology, together with a series of piano technology courses for pianists, instrumentalists, and piano technicians. The Master of Arts in Piano Technology is a premier program worldwide and provides a real-world artistic collaboration between emerging students, world-class faculty, and guest artists.

Dr. Yeoh is a Master Piano Technician of America and a certified Damp Chaser installer. He has received the C. F. Theodore Steinway Technical Academy certificates at the New York Steinway & Son piano factory, the PianoDisc installer certificate at the Mason & Hamlin piano factory in Haverhill, MA and attended the Little Red Schoolhouse Academy at Yamaha Piano in Anaheim, CA.

A regular guest speaker and national clinician of the Piano Technician Guild and the American Guild of Organists, Dr. Yeoh appeared internationally as one of the premiere guest speakers at the 1st Mid Pacific Piano Technicians Conference in Honolulu, HI and the 18th Australasian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association Bi-Annual Convention and Piano Expo in Melbourne, Australia.

Michael Travis, RPT

Michael Travis, RPT is a 50-year member of PTG, now retired from full time piano service but enjoying it more than ever.  He has authored two series of articles for The Piano Technicians Journal, "Learning to Pass the RPT Tuning Exam," as well as the "PACE Tuning Lessons," and has served for many years as a member of ETSC and on staff at many PTG Convention Test Centers.

 

His service to PTG includes two stints as ETSC Chair, two years as SERVP, as well as Bylaws Chair and numerous PTG committees, as well as many years on the Washington, DC Chapter Board of Directors, including two as President and ten and counting as Newsletter Editor, and many more on the local ETSC.  His service to his chapter and to PTG have been recognized by numerous local and national awards, including the 2013 Golden Hammer Award.

Ricki Klōs, RPT, CTE

Ricki Klōs has been servicing pianos for more than 40 years.  She has been a Guild member since 1995, an RPT since 1998, and a CTE since 2011. She has served on numerous committees and in leadership positions at the chapter level, regional, and national levels.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors as RVP of Region 3.  She enjoys providing leadership opportunities and encouraging minorities in this profession.

Mike Carraher, RPT

Since 1979 Mike has worked full time in piano service and rebuilding. He has been a Certified Examiner for the PTG since 1981 and has served on numerous committees at the local and national level. Mike has received several PTG awards including Member of Note and Examiner of the Year. Mike developed the first repair jigs for the PTG Technical Exam, created Associate Days, which was the first pilot program in the North East for mentoring those aspiring to RPT certification, and continues to provide training and mentorship as a regional and National PTG instructor. He has also served as Chapter President in two different PTG chapters.  Mike’s innovations in shop procedures and equipment can be seen in many fixtures carried through Renner USA and his overall experience provides a firm basis for factory consultation for Hailun USA.

Luke Ehresman

Luke is the co-founder of Gazelle and a 20-year veteran of web-based software development. With both a Bachelor and Master of Computer Science, he has spent his career developing software solutions for both small and large organizations. His work at Gazelle has helped piano technicians in over 36 countries solve a problem the piano service industry long struggled with: creating a sustainable product with a long-term business model that helps you save time and grow your piano service business.

Keith Bowman, RPT

Keith has almost 40 years experience in woodworking and has worked full time in piano technology for over 30 years, including player pianos, harpsichords and historic instruments. He served as a PTG tuning and technical examiner for 20 years, and has received several PTG and industry awards including Member of Note, Trade Relations and a Presidential Citation. In addition, Keith has served as chapter president and has chaired or served on numerous PTG committees at the regional and national level. In the last 18 years, he has developed a product line of tuning levers, voicing tools and shop fixtures which are distributed world-wide through Renner USA. Keith teaches regionally and nationally on many subjects and has authored several articles in the Piano Technicians Journal.

Chris Palframan

With over 20 years experience, Chris Palframan has been an integral part of PianoWorks growth from a small garage operation to the largest piano retail and restoration facility in the metro Atlanta area.  

 

Chris joined PianoWorks when he was just a teenager and learned the trade from Don Bennet, RRT. Chris has completed hundreds of full piano rebuilding projects including new sound boards, pinblocks, bridges, and key sets. He has his bachelors of business from University of North Georgia, and now leads a team of rebuilders.

 

In 2018, Chris, Don and a third partner saw an opportunity to purchase Roseland Piano Co. thus enabling them to provide custom piano keys for rebuilders.  They are now able to fill a need for other rebuilders nationwide.

Josi Davis

Josi is a second generation piano technician now residing in New England. She specializes in upright hammers and action parts as a member of the Brooks LTD team, where she first worked from 2009 – 2011 and returned in 2018 after many years touring, recording and teaching.  First mentored by her father, longtime RPT and educator Bill Davis, Josi was introduced to the PTG at the 2009 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.  She found her love for shop work under the wings of RPTs Amy and Jim Tiernan at Doghouse Pianos, and the Connecticut PTG chapter, and her first upright hammer hanging was on the bench beside the legendary Wally Brooks.  Now, hundreds of upright hammer sets later and under the valued mentorship of Melanie Brooks and John Gallen, she has developed a custom method for upright hammer and butt pre-hanging and continues to master many other skills in grand and upright parts replacement and customization.  As a performer and songwriter, the piano holds a special place around which her favorite family memories are built.  It remains her primary writing instrument and her favorite curiosity.