Leadership team

The Garden State Division leadership team works for its members to provide educational and fun activities.  This is your team!

If you need to contact us, please use the form on the "Contact Us" page to send an email to the leadership team.

Mark Moritz


Starting at age 6, I was interested in trains, and with a Lionel set at age 8, I was launched into model railroading. I made a transition to HO scale when in high school. With pauses for higher education and young children, I re-engaged with model railroading when my boys were young and we built a 4 x 8 layout in the basement. Now on my second layout since then, I am modeling Morris County railroads in the 1920s, in a full-basement design.

Active in the NMRA since 2003, I have been on the board of directors since 2015, served as vice-president, and now am serving as president.

Jim Homoki

Vice President and Whistle Post Editor

Jim has always had an interest in trains and modeling. He has been on the GSD Board since 2012 and has served as Editor of the Whistle Post since 2015. His railroading interests are reflected through memberships in numerous historical societies, including a run as President of the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for nine years. He is also a fan of RPM meets and model railroad operations. His large HO scale basement layout features PC and CNJ equipment of the early 1970s.

Bob Dennis


In 2009, my oldest son, Christopher, gave me a membership in the NMRA as a Christmas present. A present that has been giving me hours and hours of pleasure, ever since. I already had a layout that I built in my garage that took two years to become operational (sort of...). As a lone wolf, I did most things wrong, so I decided to tear it down and start over. With the help of my fellow Staten Islanders, the “tear down” was done in less than three hours, of course, the build back has taken 11 years and isn’t finished yet.

In 2012, I was asked to become a Director of the GSD, which I was pleased to do. After a year, I became the GSD’s Treasurer, a position I am pleased to continue to hold. 

Jim Walsh

Secretary and Clinic Chairman

Since his older brother had Lionel trains, Jim realized that HO trains were more realistic, particularly the track. One Christmas, Jim received a Mantua Union Pacific Mikado and several freight cars. Since then he has always been interested in model railroading. After receiving a copy of Linn Westcott’s book HO Railroad That Grows, Jim started work on his first model railroad. Growing up on Staten Island, he did not see many real trains, and his inspiration came from model railroad magazines.

Jim first joined the NMRA in 1979 and when he moved to Middletown, NJ, he joined the Red Bank Model Railroad Club. In 1985 he changed jobs and relocated to Sussex County, leaving the club and the NMRA. Between his job with some business travel and raising two sons, Jim was busy but he stayed engaged in the hobby through magazines and then the Internet.

With his sons away at college, Jim renewed his interest in model railroading and joined the NMRA again in 2011. He became active in the Garden State Division, joined the Board of Directors in 2014, and later was elected division Secretary. He recently volunteered to be the division Clinic Chairman and since 2014, he has taken photos at our in-person events. Jim also writes a “Tools and Tips” column in the division’s newsletter, the Whistle Post

Steve Ascolese

Director and Achievement Program Chairman

Like many of us, my first experience with model trains was the American Flyer set around the Christmas tree. The pine scent of the tree and the smell of ozone from the electric locomotive was special. A few years later, my dad and I went to his cousin’s house. His son had built a Lionel layout in their basement. He had the big transformer, which he hooked up not only to run the trains but also to vary the brightness of the lights in the buildings. I expressed my interest to my parents who bought me a Lionel HO scale train set when I was 13.

In 2000, I joined the NMRA and spent time reading the NMRA Bulletin and other magazines. I attended Garden State Division meetings and my first NMRA National Convention in Milwaukee in 2010. That convention inspired me to get more involved with building a layout, building models, and scratch building structures. I entered my first model of an N scale small oil depot into a contest in the Mid-Eastern Regional convention in Mount Laurel, NJ in 2015 and won a first-place award.

During this time, GSD officers encouraged me to become the Achievement Program Chairperson, which I am still today. In 2020, I placed my layout in storage due to a move to a new home in NJ and look forward to rebuilding an operating railroad again.

Andy Brusgard

Director and Membership Chairman

I grew up in Jersey City, NJ in the 1950s. Today, Jersey City is not noted for trains but in the 1950s it was different. Except for four city blocks along the Hudson River waterfront that the Colgate Company owned, everything else was owned by railroads. Growing up in that “playground”, how could I not develop a fondness for trains? Model trains started with a paper route. One customer was a local hobby shop and my delivery tip was the prior month’s copies of RMC, MR, and Trains without the cover! The cover was sent back for credit as unsold copies. As years passed, I grew in the hobby building Varney, Penn Line, Bowser, Mantua, Tyco, Athearn kits. Today, I prefer to bring back to life one of those “Old School” models. But, I also enjoy working and building with “New School” technologies.

After I joined the New York Society of Model Engineers, I learned of the NMRA. I joined the NMRA in 1970. At NYSME, I have served in a number of positions including President, now serving as a Director, and recently received the honor of being elected a Life Member.

I became a Director in the Garden State Division in 2008. Currently, I serve as the Membership Chairman and e-mail Clerk. Please let me know when you change your e-mail address through the Contact Us page.

“Knowledge has no value unless shared with others.”

We are here for that reason. You are here for the same reason. Think about it!

Tom Casey


I was an active participant in arranging for and participating in the kick-off meeting to reinvigorate the GSD at the Ramapo Valley Railroad Club (RVRC) in Ho-Ho-Kus with NER representatives.

I became involved with the NMRA in the early 1970’s when I joined the RVRC. As the RVRC was a 100% NMRA Membership Club, they required NMRA membership to become a RVRC member.

While the GSD lapsed into a dormant state, I continued to be active with the RVRC. I became a member of the GSD Board of Directors during its reinvigoration and have been an active member of the Board since then. I’m pleased the GSD is now a vibrant division. I held a couple of clinics during the GSD meets on kit-bashing and have written several articles for the GSD’s Whistle Post on various topics. 

You’ll most often see me at the Welcome / Sign-in Table at our meets where I ask you to sign (or initial) in and verify that the email address we have for you is correct or correct it. I’ve attended NMRA national conventions in Boston, Long Beach, Portland, and Hartford.   

Ciro Compagno


After reading an article about one modeler’s passion for his local railroad, Ciro asked himself what was my local railroad? To answer this question, it set in motion to better understand the historical significance of his local railroad – Staten Island Rapid Transit. This little-known railroad was B&O’s entry to Gotham City. Today, he is building a proto-freelance, HO scale, model of this Class 1 branch line from Cranford, NJ to St. George, Staten Island in the 1950s. Operations is a central focus.

Ciro has been an active Board of Directors member for the Garden State Division since 2004 and is presently a Director. He has held several roles including President and Secretary. He was recently elected as the Southern Regional Director for the NER.

Paul Harbord


Paul has been a model railroader since his youngest years. Originally in the realm of Tinplate, and switching to 2-rail O scale in his 20's. He currently models the New York Central West Shore and Susquehanna railroads in the New Jersey area in the transition era. He is a member of the New York Society of Model Engineers in Carlstadt, NJ, and the Garden State Model Railway Club in North Haledon, NJ. He is also a member of the TCA, and METCA.

Paul has been a NMRA member since 1981, and been involved in the division since 2006. He became a director of the Garden State Division in 2017. You will usually see him running the presentation electronics during division meets.

John Mikesh


John has had a life long interest in model railroading starting with a Lionel train in his early childhood. He has been a member of the NMRA since 1998, while working in the manufacturing end of the toy and hobby industry. He started attending Garden State Division events in 2014 and became a director in 2019. John has been a member of the Train Collectors Association (TCA) and was one of the founding members of the Pocono Mountain Garden Railway Society established 2010.

John's primary scale is HO and follows Northeastern railroading. He is particularly interested in Northern New England regional and short line railroads of the late 70's to the early 90's. He does a lot of kit bashing, scratch building and detailing of their equipment and structures. John is interested in Railroad Prototype Modeling (RPM) for paper mill and grain belt related rail cars.