We have built our in-house team of designers and craftspeople to take a project from inception to completion; their experience and out-of-the-box thinking ensure that your project is completed in style, on time, and on budget. Additionally, our trade partners and suppliers are specialists in their field and meet our high standards of practice. All projects are managed by Jef Forward. We'd love for you to meet our team. Let's Talk! 734.761.8403
Jef Forward, President and Creative Director
Jef brings a passion for the design and construction industry, and above all, helping our clients love their homes in the process! In his spare, time, Jef enjoys spending time with the family, reading and tinkering with objects and technology.
Ruby, Vice Paw-Resident
Ruby is the current Vice Paw-Resident of Forward Design Build. While she works from home occasionally, she does her best to be available to greet new clients. Ruby enjoys kicking back with a bone from time to time and taking naps in the middle of the office. Click here to learn more about Ruby.
Monica Hough Forward, Estimator
Monica brings a direct no-nonsense approach to her work, yet always makes it fun! She attended EMU in 1992 and received her builders licence in 2015. When she gets home from work, she loves spending time with her family or going on a long run.
Susie Arhangelos, Office Manager
Susie joined the Forward team at the beginning of 2017. Before she became a full-time stay-at-home mom to raise her son, she worked as an office manager for MLive.com. Now that her son is older, she's excited to be part of a team again. While not at work, she loves being with her son and spending time with friends and family.
Chad Weiler, Project Coordinator
Chad guides our homeowners through the remodeling process- from the first phone call. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University. In Chad’s free time he enjoys playing hockey, working on his home, and spending time with his wife.
Catherine Fillmore, Project Coordinator
Catherine brings to the Forward team years of experience in project coordination. She is passionate about home renovation and helps our homeowners actualize their ideal home. When not at her dream job, she makes pottery as a member of the Ann Arbor Potters Guild and serves on the state board for Destination Imagination.
Lynnette Brice, Business Manager
Lynnette handles our books and client statements. When she’s not at work or watching hockey, she enjoys gardening or traveling - though she doesn’t get to go as often as she’d like.
Tim Whitford, Production Manager
Tim has always worked in construction. He began working here in 2012 as a carpenter and quickly became the production manager. He loves spending time with his grandson and working in his garden.
Cynthia Harrison, Sales and Design Manager
Melissa Armstrong, Marketing Director
Melissa is an experienced writer and content marketer and holds degrees in Art History and Transmedia from Syracuse University. When she's not at work, she loves to learn new skills, to travel, and (most of all) to antagonize her old Bulldog, Frank.
Matt Nicholas, Project Developer
Matt is an artisan and a builder since his childhood. He studied Construction Management at Eastern Michigan University, then developed his skills as a complete journeyman carpenter and builder. His appreciation for architecture and design, his technical knowledge of building assemblies and experience with industry processes combine as a collaborative link between our design and our build processes. In his leisure time he enjoys photography, creating in the workshop and time spent with dogs.
Ryan Beaber, Estimator
Ryan graduated from Penn State in Architecture in 2014 and started working here a year later in April as a carpenter. He enjoys building houses more than designing them! While he’s not building houses, he enjoys running and doing yoga.
Bill Barbour-Keir, Project Designer
Bill always knew he wanted to be an architect; he never really considered another course of study. So - no surprise - he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University. He is passionate about working with people, and loves the inherently personal, client-centered work of residential remodeling and custom home design. When he's not living the professional dream, you can find him in the garden, hanging out with his rat terrier mix Daisy, or playing a variety of sports. If you can't find him, he's probably traveling the world.
Ann-Marie Clark, Project Designer
Ann-Marie graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design. She started her career in Washington D.C. and for 7 years worked at a high-end residential design firm where she practiced architectural design, interior design, interior furnishing design and project management. A native of Michigan, Ann-Marie moved back in 2013 and worked at SmithGroup JJR in Detroit, a world-wide architecture and design firm with a focus on the commercial sector. Ann-Marie brings Forward Design Build over 13 years of experience in both residential and commercial design and has worked on multi-million dollar projects across the country. While not at work, Ann-Marie is on the leadership committee helping to plan and design the Event on Main, an annual fundraiser for Mott's Children's Hospital. She also enjoys attending plays and visiting the DIA.
Maudie Collier, Project Designer
With a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from EMU and nearly six years’ experience in the field, Maudie is a clear asset to the Forward team. She chose a career in interior design for many reasons, but three stand out: she loves to problem-solve, she’s great with people, and she’s got a deep artistic streak. Her other passions include custom painting projects, cooking and Crossfit. Her French Bulldog, Dexter, has already settled in as Design Assistant and playmate to Ruby.
Ashley Howard, Project Designer
Ashley graduated from the University of Michigan in 2015 with a Bachelor's in Architecture. Ashley loves playing with her dog, Rue, and painting in her free time.
Miranda Frye, Project Designer
Miranda is a pro when it comes to providing our clients with creative designs and project guidance throughout the process. She graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado in Interior Design and has over 6 years of experience in home renovation. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and spending time with her family in her free time.
Carly Leasia, Project Designer
Carly has an architecture degree from the University of Michigan, a Masters degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute, and four years of high-end residential design experience in New York City. Now that Carly has returned to her roots, she brings her enthusiasm and passion for residential design and high-end furniture to the Forward team. As excited as Carly can get about a chair or closet, she also enjoys playing board games, eating nachos, and boxing in her spare time.
Millicent Murphy, Designer
Millicent graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2017 with a degree in Interior Design. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, reading, and spending quality time with family, friends and her Puggle, Emma. Fun fact: if she hadn't gone with interiors, she says that she probably would have chosen to study historic preservation.
Tim Frincke, Project Manager
Tim grew up in Ann Arbor and studied at Washtenaw Community College. He has more than 15 years of experience in residential finish carpentry, remodeling, and building work. He had his own business for 6 years before he came to Forward in the fall of 2013. He enjoys woodworking, playing sports, and spending time with his wife and two children - Ella and Axel.
Rob Reilly, Project Manager
Rob’s first project with Forward was a 1200 square foot second-story addition in 2001. He won an award from the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission for the Waite - Kellogg residence built in 1837. He enjoys cooking and gardening in his free time and being with his wife and daughter.
Nicole Ridenour, Project Manager
Nicole graduated with degrees in statistics and bioarchaeology from Western Michigan University and Northern Illinois University. In a former life she was a data scientist at IBM, but her passion has always been working with her hands and creating things. Over the past 20 years she has renovated many houses including several historical homes. In her free time, Nicole loves volunteering at her sons’ activities and making/building things.
Rob Walker, Project Manager
Rob has worked in carpentry for over 35 years and has worked here since 2013. When he’s not building houses for Forward-or himself-he enjoys spending time with his 3 daughters and is a dedicated member of the Saline Area Lions Club.
Jeff Bishop, Carpenter
Jeff joined the Forward team in the fall of 2016. He has more than 20 years of experience with remodeling and tile work. He enjoys spending his free time in the outdoors.
Jon Frincke, Carpenter
Jon has been with us since 2014. He went into masonry right out of high school and eventually found his love of carpentry. He enjoys playing hockey, ping pong, and golf. He recently got into making cutting boards with spare wood from his projects.
Brian Schmidt, Carpenter
Brian is an artist and a carpenter. He's probably best known for his concrete countertops and unique furniture pieces in wood, concrete, and metal. Brian brings many years of experience and an artist's touch to the Forward Design Build team!
John Scott, Carpenter
John joined Forward in 2018. He has worked in both commercial and residential construction, including as a hardwood flooring craftsman. He studied mathematics and natural sciences at Washtenaw Community College; he is an avid reader and works as a community organizer in his spare time.
Clyde Ylitalo, Carpenter
Clyde received a Journeyman’s certificate through Detroit Local #1234 and has over 26 years experience in the field! When he’s not at work, he enjoys hunting and fishing, 5k runs, and spending time with his family.