The Railroadiana Collectors Association’s Board of Directors are member-volunteers who serve at the pleasure of RCAI’s Membership. No Board Member or Leader is compensated for his or her time and serves to advance the organization and grow the hobby. If you’re an RCAI member and interested in volunteering for RCAI or becoming a Board of Director, please contact us today.
Chad Harpole, President
Chad A. Harpole has served as President of the Railroadiana Collectors Association Inc. since January, 2022. Prior to his term has President, Harpole served as Vice President and Southeast Regional Director of RCAI starting in 2016.A native of Georgetown, KY, Harpole is an avid collector of railroad memorabilia from railroads serving Kentucky and the surrounding areas. Chad received his first railroad lantern as a gift for his 11th birthday 1992. Receiving this “first” lantern led Chad to start collecting all things railroadiana including lanterns, locks/keys, signage and his beloved steam locomotive hardware including whistles, number plates, headlights and builder plates. Railroads close to his heart are the Cincinnati New Orleans and Texas Pacific (CNO&TP), Southern Railway, Louisville and Nashville, Norfolk and Western and Chesapeake and Ohio among others serving eastern Kentucky, Louisville and the Cincinnati areas.In his career, Harpole serves as the Director of Government and Community Affairs for the nation’s largest producer of primary aluminum. In addition to his duties with RCAI, Chad serves on a variety of civic and non-profit boards. This includes serving as Vice President of Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Estill County, KY since 2016 charged with transforming tourism in eastern Kentucky with the restoration of C&O 2716 . Harpole is a 2004 graduate of Georgetown College and earned a Masters Degree from the University of Kentucky’s Martin School of Public Administration in 2006. Chad resides in Georgetown with his wife, Brandy, and young son.
Bo Brown, Vice President and Membership Coordinator
Bo Brown is the current National Vice President of the Railroadiana Collectors Association Inc. having assumed that position in January of 2022. He has been associated with the RCAI team since 2000. First, as Southeast Regional Vice-President until 2015. In 2018 he became RCAI Treasurer and held that position until 2022. Bo started collecting railroad antiques when he was 12 years old when at that time his grandfather who worked for Southern Railway for 40+ years gave him a Southern “shorty” lantern, a long neck oiler and a silver Southern thermos. Little did his grandfather know, those items he referred to as “railroad junk” would fuel a lifetime pursuit of collecting Southern Railway. Bo says, “If it’s marked from the Southern or its predecessors, I try to find one”. From his smallest item an ink pen nib to his biggest a 16′ x 2′ porcelain Freight Station sign, it all tells the story of his beloved Southern. In addition to the Southern he also collects memorabilia from two local short lines the Greenville & Northern and the Piedmont & Northern.Bo is a native of Greenville, SC where he and his wife Brynda currently live. When not on the trail of another relic he spends a great deal of time helping families in his community as the owner of The Howze Mortuary in Travelers Rest, SC. He is on the advisory board of the Bank of Travelers Rest; is the current Vice-President of the Carolina Heritage Railroad Association and works with his local Historical Society.
Judy DeBoer, Secretary
I was first exposed to railroads when my husband and I honeymooned in Banff & Jasper National Parks and visited the Spiral Tunnels in Canada.
I have served as Secretary of RCAI since 2019. I am a native of Michigan where I live now, but have lived in Colorado, Wyoming and now spend time each year in Arizona. We have taken several train trips in the United States, Canada and Europe. For over 40 years our collecting interest have been primarily dining car items, along with paper items such as posters, menus, brochures, and postcards.
My husband (Andy) and I were both associated with a small museum in the former UP Depot and Dining Lodge in West Yellowstone, Montana beginning in 2004 through 2017. While on the board I did most of the displays for the museum. The museum had a large exhibit of our China, 2006 – 2008, from the 5 railroads that served Yellowstone. A second exhibit, 2015 – 2016, featuring items from our collection was titled “Meet Me at Old Faithful Inn” – Union Pacific Yellowstone National Park and the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition San Francisco 1915.
I’m retired from a HR position which I held for 35 years. Before that I worked as a supervisor for a large department store in Detroit and a fabric store in Colorado
Joseph Hudson, Treasurer
Joseph Hudson has been serving as Treasurer and Membership Coordinator since March of 2022, previously he has served as Southeast Regional Director. Joseph also oversees recording and uploading our Zoom webinars to our YouTube channel. A native of Greenville, SC, Joseph has been collecting railroadiana for 11 years. What started with just a few timetables and paper items, his collection has grown to lanterns, locks, keys, passes, step boxes, headlights, tools, signs, large hardware, and locomotive decorations. While his collection mainly focuses on railroads from the county where he lives, such as the Southern, the Charleston & Western Carolina, The Piedmont & Northern, and the Greenville & Northern, he more broadly collects from other railroads that ran in South Carolina, such as the Clinchfield, Seaboard Air Line, and Atlantic Coast Line. He especially enjoys finding items from local short lines such as the Blue Ridge Railroad and the Buffalo & Union Carolina Railroad.Outside of railroadiana collecting, Joseph is the Music Pastor at Cleveland First Baptist Church in Cleveland, SC where he has served for over 10 years. He also works at The Howze Mortuary in Travelers Rest, SC as a part time associate. Joseph is heavily involved with the Travelers Rest Historical Society where he is on the board of directors, and is also involved with the Carolina Railroad Heritage Association. In his free time, Joseph enjoys fishing and spending time at his family’s property. For any questions about your membership, feel free to contact us.
Meg Coughlin, Northeast Regional Director
States Represented: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington, D.C.
Meg Coughlin has served Northeast Regional Director since 2000. She is a native of New York State and currently resides in Central New Jersey. Meg’s interest in trains started with vintage train trips in the late 90s and the collecting hobby around the same time. Her interests are in railroad dining car and passenger items and ephemera.In her career, Meg is a pharmaceutical researcher. In addition to RCAI, she is a very active volunteer with a local 501 (c) (3) in Princeton, New Jersey which supports college scholarships for women. You will see Meg at the annual Gaithersburg Show.
Jamason Conn, Southeast Regional Director
States Represented: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia
Jamason Conn has served as Southeast Regional Director since summer, 2022. Jamason is a West Virginia native and currently resides in Charleston, WV. Jamason has been collecting railroadiana now for more than fifteen years. What initially started out as a few lanterns and locks, has now turned into a rather large collection. In the past few years he has been very active in collecting in steam locomotive hardware, especially number plates and builders plates. Being from southern West Virginia he developed a natural interest in the Chesapeake and Ohio, Norfolk and Western, and West Virginia short line/logging railroads.In his “real job,” Jamason is a project manager for a large commercial construction company. Jamason is a graduate of West Virginia University Institute of Technology and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economic management and economics. He is an active volunteer with steam restoration projects including the restoration of C&O #1309 at the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Maryland. You will see Jamason at many shows and railroad events throughout the southeast including the annual Gaithersburg Show. If you are an RCAI Member living in the Southeast Region or have any questions for Jamason you can reach him here.
Brian Nicodemus, Great Lakes Regional Director
States Represented: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania
Brian was born and raised in a small town in Indiana and still resides only a stones throw from the former Erie right of way in Akron, IN. Brian graduated from Indiana Institute of Tech with an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering. After a 10 year career as an electrical engineer he moves on to his true passion in the bowling industry starting up his own pro shop business which he still does today. In addition to his pro shop, Brian also represents a major bowling ball manufacturing company. Brian has been a member of the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) for 17 years competing part time on the Regional and National Tours and even had a win of a major tournament along the way.
Brian’s railroading interest started early with HO scale trains and then evolving into a love of railroad photography. Brian has traveled all over the country to shoot trains from the Appalachians to the Rockies, with several pictures being published in well-known national railroad magazines. Eventually, Brian decided to buy one railroad lantern for decoration. Shortly after, a new addiction was born! What started as one has turned into a house full of everything from lanterns, locks, bells, signs and everything in between. As an Indiana resident, his collecting interests are from roads that passed close by like the Erie, Wabash, Monon and Nickel Plate Road. Brian would tell you though that one of the best parts of the hobby are not the items you collect, but the great people you meet along the way!
Ron Wagoner, Midwest Regional Director
States Represented: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma
Ron Wagoner has been collecting railroad memorabilia for over 60 years. Ron says his interest in railroadiana began when he saw an ad in the Boy Scouts of America’s publication Boys Life magazine from the Union Pacific Railroad. The magazine said to write them and they would send you free color lithographs of trains. Ron wrote the address in the ad and been collecting ever since.Ron’s focus in collecting has been pre-Amtrak (1971) passenger train items especially dining car china, silver, and menus and other paper with great graphics. Ron is retired as Regional Transportation Manager for Best Buy stores for twelve years. When not collecting railroad items, Ron enjoys European train travel and searching antique malls for his next big find. You can reach Ron here.
Ron Kaminski, Northern Regional Director
States Represented: Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming
Diane Hoffmann, Southwest Regional Director
States Represented: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas
Back in the early 1960s, Diane and her family traveled every summer from Streator Illinois to Los Angeles via the Santa Fe Railroad. It was tremendously exciting for her, a 10-year kid to run up and down the aisles thru the automatic doors to the next car until the Conductor caught up with me. But the real treat was to go to the dining car where she, a young farm kid, ate off lovely dinnerware served on a linen tablecloth which was accompanied by freshly polished silver plate. These years were Diane’s introduction to Santa Fe Poppy, Mimbreno, and Adobe china.Fast forwarding to the 1990s, she has always had an interest in fancy restaurant china which she scoured antique malls in search of. There she found a box of chipped and damaged Santa Fe Poppy which brought back many childhood memories. From here the real hunt began in earnest and she was rewarded by having a mall owner tell her about a fabulous Chicago Railroad Show. Attending and seeing all these wonderful railroad china patterns in ONE location was overwhelming for Diane. Gushing with compliments to the many china vendors she talked to at the show, she was told, “You have to go to Gaithersburg,” one of the largest and longest running railroad shows in the United States.What more is there to say for Diane? In the late 1990s, when Rick Wright was President, she became a member of RCAI. In the early 2000s, when Bob Jones was President, Diane succeeded Craig Neros as RCAI Treasurer. After her “retirement” as Treasurer, Diane has proudly served as Southwest Regional Director since 2014. You can reach Diane here .
Jason Sanford, Western Regional Director
States Represented: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Utah
Jason Sanford is the current Western Regional Director having being elected July 1, 2022. After growing up in Florida, Jason headed the call of Manifest Destiny and headed west in 1996. Jason has lived in Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Although he currently lives in Utah, Colorado will always be home. With a passion for western railroad history in general, Jason started collecting in 2009 and has been through a couple of collections until finally settling upon where his heart has been the entire time, pre-1900 Denver and Rio Grande Railroad railroadiana. Jason collects lanterns, locks, keys, class lamps, china, silver, and iron hardware. Jason is the co-owner of Western Railroad Americana Antiques.When he isn’t collecting you can find Jason raising three daughters and riding bikes of all kinds: from road bikes to gravel bikes, from mountain bikes to motorcycles, bikes of all kinds! Jason calls Sandy, Utah home. If you are an RCAI Member living in the Western Region or have any questions for Jason you can reach him at here.
Tom Ulph, International Regional Director
Representing Canada and all International Members
Tom Ulph has served as the Canadian/ International Regions Director since 2015 and has held a continuous membership in the RCAI since 1985. He resides in Calgary, Alberta with his wife Laura.Tom has been collecting railroadiana since 1973 when his father brought home a CP Rail Bygones Collectors Catalog. Tom describes his passion of collecting as a collection of discarded historical artifacts from Canadian railway corporations. As a collector in many areas, he has a keen passion for heavyweight passenger car trim hardware and lighting. As well, he is particularly fond of off-the-track areas such as; railway mountain hotel furniture, golf tournament trophies, cigar boxes, colonization, immigration and irrigation items from the development of western Canada.Tom retired from the US headquartered EPC Engineering company Fluor Corp. in 2008 after 31 years of service. Tom attends several shows and railroad events throughout western Canada promoting the benefits of the RCAI.
If you are residing in Canada or live outside of the United States region please feel free to contact Tom with any questions regarding membership in this exceptional organization. You can reach Tom here.
Wes Ross, Express Editor
Wes Ross has served as the Editor of the Railroadiana Express since 2014, and has been a member of the Railroadiana Collectors Association since 1977. Wes holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and his Ph.D. In Clinical Psychology. Wes was appointment as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service where served for 30 years.Wes was a founding member of the Bluegrass Model Railroad Club which later became the Bluegrass Railroad Club. Over the years, he has have served as President, Secretary, Treasurer, Board Member, and Editor of Bluegrass Railroader. Currently Wes is Co-Editor of the newsletter and Secretary.Wes has been active with the National Railway Historical Society since 1973 and has participated in many NRHS-sponsored activities. In 1988, he joined with a group of individuals from the Paris and Maysville, Kentucky, area with the idea of running an excursion train between those two cities. The organization became the Kentucky Central Chapter, N.R.H.S. He currently serves as President of the Kentucky Central Chapter. With the National N.R.H.S., he has served as Co-Chairman of the National Convention in Chattanooga, TN, as Regional Vice-President for the Ohio Valley Region, Director, District 5, and currently serves on the Board of Directors as an Emeritus member.
Together with my wife of 60 years, Shirley, Wes is a diversified collector including a specific interest in China, silver and glassware. Wes posses a large lantern collection, many railroad postcards, a large library, timetables, and an almost complete collection of Kentucky Central Railroad passes. Wes is also a modeler having an interest in both HO and O gauge models. Shirley has a number of G gauge locomotives and cars. I also have a large collection of Marx models.
You can reach Wes here.