Meet the Staff
Mark Johnson
Mark R. Johnson, Editor

Home state: Minnesota
Carol (wife, 26 great years); Cole (son); Loren (son); Krysta (daughter-in-law)
Charlie, a female chocolate Labrador retriever
University of Minnesota; University of Arizona
Years in the publishing biz:
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin:
The passion this state has for the Green Bay Packers and the cabin lifestyle is fantastic, and when you combine the two – heaven on earth.
Favorite cabin activity:
Swimming or kayaking with my wife (closely followed by riding my mountain bike or road bike)
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
Pancakes in the morning; a steak on the grill in the evening
Earliest cabin memory:
I remember at about 4-5 years old, I’d fall asleep in the bow of my grandfather’s runabout during every boat ride.
Other interests:
Long-distance cycling; wilderness camping, hiking and canoeing with my wife and kids; listening to great audio books with my wife while traveling to the cabin; cheering on the Golden Gopher basketball and football teams

As a kid growing up in Minnesota, Arizona and Alabama, I was very fortunate to have cabins and outdoor activities in my life. In Minnesota, my maternal grandparents had a cabin in the Brainerd Lakes region, and my paternal grandparents rented cabins in the Arrowhead region. In Arizona, I camped with my uncles in the White Mountains. And in northeastern Alabama, my stepdad introduced me to largemouth bass fishing. To top it all off, I enjoyed some great years as a Boy Scout (I didn’t earn the coveted Eagle Scout rank, but my sons both did). Those formative experiences, plus 3 years working on the University of Minnesota Daily newspaper and 10 years working in publishing, primed me for my role with Cabin Life magazine. I’ve been very fortunate to edit Cabin Life for 13 years now. I can relate very well to Thomas Edison, who said, “I’ve never worked a day in my life. It was all fun.”

Julie Kuczynski
Julie Kuczynski, Assistant Editor
Home state: Wisconsin
Ideal pet: Great Dane
Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Years in publishing: 12
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin: Finding new places to explore. Whether in the woods on a trail or on a river in a kayak, getting away from it all is only a short drive away.
Favorite cabin activity: Fishing off the pier or out in a boat
Favorite things to eat at the cabin: The cookies out of Grandma’s cookie jar, dirt cake (made from Oreos and cream cheese, not actual dirt!), and homemade bread
Earliest cabin memory: Sleeping in the attic bunk room with my family
Other interests: Hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, tennis, yoga, reading, film, antiques, wandering around the Internet, and traveling  

I grew up visiting a family-owned lake cottage in northern Wisconsin. It seems there was always something to do there: pick raspberries, clean fresh-caught fish, go horseback riding, stare at the Milky Way at the end of the pier, swim at the beach, read a good book, take the dogs for a walk, catch night crawlers with Grandpa, see how many people we could fit on the couch … the list goes on and on, as do the memories. So, it is no wonder that Cabin Life is a perfect fit for me! I started my publishing career in college by working in the book industry, mainly on murder mysteries. I graduated as an Evans Scholar from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in sociology and English with a creative writing emphasis. Since then, I have tried my hand at various titles and genres including biographies, gift books, children’s books, and more. My other magazine experience includes working on the staff of American Snowmobiler magazine and most recently for BirdWatching magazine.
Lil Weber
Elizabeth M. (Lil) Weber, Art Director

Home state: Wisconsin
: Pat (husband); Brooklynn (daughter); Mitchell (son)
Ideal pet
: Springer spaniel. Our current dog, Mac, is our fourth springer!
: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Years in
the publishing biz: 23
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin
: Love the terrain, lakes and people
Favorite cabin activity
: On Memorial Day weekend, we always kick off the summer with a big group of family and friends. It has turned into quite a tradition. This year marks our 15th year together.
Favorite things to eat at the cabin
: Southwest chicken brats
Earliest cabin memory
: Learning to fish
Other interests
: Hiking, tennis, boating, yoga, listening to music, reading and hanging out with family and friends

When I was a child, my family rented cabins all around northern Wisconsin during the summer. Each year we would pick a new spot, and the weeklong adventure would begin. With seven of us, there was always a lot of activity. I love the outdoors, so this was always the highlight of my summers. Now that I’m an adult, going to the cabin still holds a special place in my heart. It is a true escape! We always count down the days until we are cabin bound. It never gets old.
Emily Hare
Emily Hare, Editorial Assistant

Home state: Wisconsin
Dan (husband, 5 years)
Cabella (black Lab), Solita (long-haired cat)
 Marquette University
Years in
the publishing biz: 6
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin: 
I love my home state! People here are so down-to-earth and friendly, and I love experiencing the four seasons (although winter, oddly enough, is my least favorite).
Favorite cabin activities:
 Outdoors: 4-wheeling and bonfires. Indoors: Board games like Scrabble, Scattergories, Pictionary, and Sequence, and card games like Cribbage and Rummy 500. There’s nothing better than spending quality family time with no schedules or distractions!
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
 Deep-fried turkey; venison bacon, snack sticks, and jerky; Grandma Irene's potato dumplings and gravy; s’mores!
Earliest cabin memory:
When my parents first acquired their cabin property, I was probably 11 years old. I remember helping my dad transform the kitchen and dining room into an open-concept eat-in kitchen and add more sleeping quarters in the basement and garage. The modest one-bedroom cabin barely contained our large family on weekends, but it seemed so big to me then.
Other interests:
 Sports (especially the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers), reading, fishing, swimming and just being outside!

Born and raised in northern Wisconsin, I knew little of the big, wide world until college. My high-school job as a part-time sportswriter for my hometown newspaper led me to pursue a career in journalism, so I moved to Milwaukee to earn my degree at Marquette University. While in college, I worked in the sports department of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, experiencing what it was like to work for a larger-circulation newspaper. I thought that I would always work in newspapers until I was offered the opportunity to work for Cabin Life magazine. I have always enjoyed spending time outdoors and at my parents’ little cabin in the North Woods, so Cabin Life is a perfect fit!

Kelly Katlaps
Kelly A. Katlaps, Graphic Designer

Home state:  Wisconsin
Family: Ulvis (husband); Zach (son); Sydney (daughter)
Stanley, our English bulldog – pretty popular guy!
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Years in
the publishing biz: 12
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin:
Close to family, changing seasons and, of course, great sports and fans!
Favorite cabin activity:
Waterskiing and boating around the lake
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
Pudgy-pies and corn on the cob
Earliest cabin memory:
Learning how to put a worm on the hook and playing card games when it was raining
Other interests:
Tennis, golf, reading when time allows, volunteering for my kids’ activities and watching my son play hockey

I come from a family that is very social, so there was always an event or trip happening. There were quite a few summers when we rented a cabin in Eagle River, Wis., for a week with at least one or two other families – however many people we could squeeze in. I was a swimmer growing up, so I guess I always preferred anything to do with the water – skiing, boating, fishing, etc. Later I married my husband, who is from Riga, Latvia, and, along with our son, we lived there for 4 years. Each year, Latvians celebrate the Summer Solstice with a long weekend party at a cabin. During the day, we'd ski, fish, hike, play tennis or whatever else we could find to do. But at night, it's a tradition to make and wear a floral wreath around your head and dance a lot (actually, the guys wear wreaths made of leaves)! We had a lot of fun times there. So, no matter where you live in the world, there are many happy cabin memories to be made!

Steve Meni
Steve Meni, Advertising Sales Manager

Home state: Illinois
Family: Amy (wife), Doolin (son), Darby (daughter)
Eastern Illinois University
Years in
the publishing biz: 14
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin:
You get a reasonable amount of city culture and major league sports but you’re never very far from a lake in the woods. 
Favorite cabin activity:
 Spending all day on the lake and ending it with an exhausted serenity around a fire that night. 
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
Fresh cheese curds from a small shop where you can watch them being made.
Earliest cabin memory:
Catching bluegills at my grandparents' cottage when I was 5. 
Other interests:
 Music, movies and spending as much time outdoors as the season permits.

Growing up, I spent summers at my grandparents' cottage on a small lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It was a 30-minute drive on a dirt track that got progressively worse the closer you got to the place. There was no phone – only two snowy channels of TV and an outhouse. But it gave me a lifelong appreciation of the woods, lakes, saunas and the glorious combination of the three. Being out in the woods has a rejuvenating effect. With all the distractions in our lives, I think it’s more important than ever to get away from it all. I’m still trying to convince my kids of that. But they’re getting to the age where camping is more fun and less of a sitcom plot. I’ve spent my career in advertising and I find it fascinating to hear my clients' stories and learn their business.  I’m excited to be a part of Cabin Life, as having work that aligns with your interests and passions is as good as it gets.

Steve Dake
Steve Dake, Advertising Sales Representative

Home state: Wisconsin
Ideal Pet: Siberian Husky
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Years in
the publishing biz: 2
Favorite things about living & working in Wisconsin:
Cheese, beer and the Green Bay Packers!
Favorite cabin activity:
 Gliding around the water in search of a sandbar and some rays or some intense fishing action!
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
All things cooked over the fire: fresh caught fish, pudgy pies, steak, burgers and bacon.
Earliest cabin memory:
The smell of a smoldering camp fire and roasting marshmallows over a glowing bed of hot coals.
Other interests:
Exercising, baseball, wilderness survival, fishing, hunting, camping, snowmobiling, bonfires, DIY projects, exploring and trying new things.

While I was growing up, my family embarked on regular adventures to Wisconsin's great North Woods and annual fishing trips to Canada's Ontario waters. Much of my youth was spent in the woods, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and exploring. As a result, I've developed an emotional connection with the wilderness and a real appreciation for all it has to offer. I'm excited to join the Cabin Life team and look forward to working with individuals who share similar passions. Many of the products and services advertised in Cabin Life enhance the overall outdoor experience. I'm pleased to be the link that helps promote these businesses and this wonderful lifestyle.

Danielle Barr
Danielle Barr, Digital Content Specialist

Home state: Illinois
Family: Alex (husband)
Pets: Hutson (rescue pup), Bennett (English Lab)
Education: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Years in the publishing biz: 5
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin: Living in a city where I can walk to tons of places like ­ restaurants, coffee shops, the library, and even a movie theater; but still having the option to take just a short drive to hiking trails and parks.
Favorite cabin activity: Early morning coffee by the lake.
Favorite things to eat at the cabin: Pudgy pies around the campfire!
Earliest cabin memory: Waking up before sunrise to fish.
Other interests: Reading, blogging, staying active, long walks and dog park trips with my husband and pups, and the Green Bay Packers (despite the opinions of my Illinois-based family).

Ever since I can remember, I've been jotting down poems, writing short stories and reading novels similar to the ones that I someday hope to write myself. I've worked in the magazine publishing industry since college and have had the pleasure of working on a variety of topics: from cookbooks to home and garden to weddings. Writing will always be a passion of mine, but currently I'm fully consumed in the digital side of the magazine industry – ­ something I love! I grew up in Illinois, but moved to Wisconsin for college and have never once thought about moving back. I love how I can live in a city, but still enjoy a down-home feel with friendly neighbors and community activities. In my spare time, I'm the primary contributor for a local wedding blog. I think one of the best things in life is a weekend cabin getaway, ­ especially in the winter when you can relax around a wood-burning fire. I love to cook (not necessarily bake), have a love/hate relationship with running, and love spending time with family and friends.

Linda Kast
Linda Kast, Publisher

Home state: Illinois
Ray (my best friend); Kelly (No. 1 son); Nathan (The Rebel)
Ideal pet: One that doesn’t shed
Education: Northern Illinois University; Humboldt State University; Elmhurst College
Years in the publishing biz:
36 (way more than half my life)
Favorite thing about living & working in Wisconsin:
All summer long, I can go to work in the morning and still have time to get home, change clothes, and go fishing before sundown.
Favorite cabin activity:
Undoing schedules (fishing with my three men comes in second)
Favorite things to eat at the cabin:
Anything off the grill, especially corn on the cob
Earliest cabin memory:
My first excursion to a cabin came when I was 12. We went to Little Turtle Lake, Minn., where I spent two weeks fishing and picking leeches off my little sister’s toes.
Other interests:
Camping, hiking, mushroom hunting, and backpacking with my husband and kids; sitting around a campfire at night and watching the stars

Growing up in Chicago, the city-girl stigma was hard to shake. We always went to the beach; the dunes of Indiana and Michigan were my favorites. I was a Camp Fire Girl and went on many a camping trip, but I never knew anyone who actually owned a cabin, cottage, or lakehome until high school. There, I met several girls whose families owned cottages in Michigan, where they went to fish, swim, ride in the pontoon boat, and just hang out. I was hooked, and now, along with my husband, I’m always drawn to folks who own cabins, cottages, or lakehomes where we can visit and just hang out.

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