Our People

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andy blessing- Master of Construction

Andy’s father ran a successful design build firm in the Twin Cities and therefore Andy grew up in the industry. He attended Hampshire College and the U of M graduating with a degree in Architecture. After operating his own successful design and build business and a brief stint in the music industry, he built the New Victorian Bed and Breakfast in St Paul and is now heading the Build side of Otogawa-Anschel with great energy and excitement. He lives in St Paul with his lovely wife and three little kids (who are also lovely). Favorite color: Orange, Favorite food: Experimental things that come out of his kitchen….

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scott barsness, CKBR – Designer / Internal Operations Director

Scott Barsness has been active in the residential remodeling industry for over a decade. He started swinging the hammer at the tender age of ten, building forts and tree houses in Minneapolis, where he grew up. Construction allows Scott to utilize his innovative problem-solving skills and creativity as a draftsman and designer. He is also responsible for the efficiency of all Otogawa-Anschel systems. An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys hunting, fishing and cookies. Scott is committed to the Green movement to help safeguard the environment for future generations (including his son and daughter) to enjoy.

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kayla vig – Designer

Kayla brings a wealth of knowledge to the Otogawa-Anschel team with over a decade in the interior design, furnishings, and remodeling industry. Her talents span both the commercial and residential spaces, but her passion is creating highly design contemporary spaces to live in.

She has her Bachelors of Science degree from the Art Institutes International of Minnesota. She feels strongly that the design process should be as rewarding for the client as it is for her.  Making sure to listen and understand clients while guiding them through the design process.

In her free time Kayla enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, camping, biking and rollerblading. Another past time she loves is indulging in gourmet foods at local restaurants  though her cooking skills are questionable.

 

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heather brierley, AIA Associate – Drafting

Heather brings an innate passion for design-build and her desire to further building systems using regenerative design principles.

With and AAS in Architectural Drafting from Hennepin Tech she worked as a drafter for an architecture firm for a few years while pursuing a BAS in Construction Management with a minor in Architecture from the U of Minnesota. She took this new knowledge to the jobsite, where she worked as a residential framer/carpenter building net-zero and energy efficient homes. In 2014 she received her Masters of Architecture from the U of M.

Heather is an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity with over 1,000 hours logged since 2005! “Habitat really helped me define what I wanted to do with my future. I don’t just want to be a Designer; I want to be a Master Builder; one that provides safe, affordable, quality housing.”

Factoid: Heather bought her car based on the sound and feel of the engine.

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carlyn kuchan – Design Support

Carlyn spent 18 years in the Chicago area before realizing Minnesota was the place to be. A graduate of the U of M College of Interior Design, she joined the OA team with her unique understanding of asymmetry and a penchant for stunning tile design and color work. She lives in the urban Uptown area where there is always something new to explore and provides quick access to the lakes. Favorite band: The Goo Goo Dolls, Favorite Activities: Rock Climbing and biking

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pete sieve – Project Management Assistant

Pete has ten years of consulting and management experience working with nonprofit developers in creating high-quality, sustainable, and historically preserved affordable housing projects. A professional musician, he plays guitar and tours nationally with Minneapolis-based artists Rogue Valley and Jeremy Messersmith. Pete is also a food writer for The Heavy Table, and is on an eternal quest to discover the perfect sandwich.

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scott grimm – Lead Carpenter

Scott is an accomplished carpenter of 25 years and brings a great sense of detail and pride to everything he works on. At Otogawa-Anschel, he enjoys working on projects that are unique and present daily challenges giving him the opportunity to participate in design solutions. Originally from Florida, he moved to Minnesota in 1982. His life with his wife and three kids is full and exciting. His hobbies include riding motorcycles and fishing.

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dan wandzel – Lead Carpenter

Dan has been building and remodeling homes since 1980, and has a bone-crushing handshake. He’s an avid hunter and fisherman, loves hockey, and officiates volleyball part time.

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Jen Durdahl – Office Manager

Jen is the upbeat center of our office. With boundless energy and ethusiasm, she keeps everything running smoothly. With a passion for environmental advocacy and grassroots businesses, Jen is excited to be part of the efforts that Otogawa-Anschel has made to improve the quality of our housing stock and the process we use to get there. When not crunching numbers at the office, she is raising her incredible children.

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Michael Anschel – Principal

Michael is a native and life long fan of Minneapolis. He has been involved in the arts from a young age, developing and running a program at the Guthrie Theater before even graduating from high school. With a growing passion for ceramic sculpture and science he deferred college to visit the Far East. His visit turned into residency, he lived in China from 1992-1995 and in Japan from 1995-1996. In China, in addition to learning Mandarin, he held a number of positions including TV show host, Foreign Language Editor for the Beijing Review, university and preschool teacher, and served as head of the English Department for the Japanese Embassy School in Beijing. He returned to the U.S. to finish his degree in Art with a Chinese Minor at the University of Minnesota.

The opportunity to apply his hands-on experience and materials knowledge from his work in ceramic and metal sculpture and his background in art history and architecture, presented itself in remodeling and renovation. After a few years of renovation work he was asked to design and build his first home addition. This particular challenge, to blend the traditional style of the home’s exterior with the homeowner’s contemporary vision for the interior, proved inspirational. The company refocused their direction to remodeling and has never looked back.

When not at work, Michael spends his free time climbing rocks and mountains, skiing, biking, and traveling to new places. Michael is an active member of the City of Lakes Rotary Club, and served on the board of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. A past member of MN NARI’s Board of Directors, MN GreenStar’s Board of Directors, and writer for Remodeling Magazine, Michael remains an active participant in the building community working to improve the industry and its connection to the community. Michael is a cellist of 36 years, and enjoys experimenting with new sounds and instruments with his international friends.

Michael attributes his success to the many wonderful teachers and guides he has had in life; His grandparents whose immigration, work, and successes continue to be an inspiration; and his parents and family, who are endlessly supportive.