Meet the People Behind Payne & Payne Renovations & Design

Dave Payne


  • BS in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University

Dave, a Cleveland native, has been working in the residential construction industry continuously since his college graduation. Dave continues to educate himself in a variety of industry and business continuing education, and is most proud of a set of coursework he completed in 2016 through a collaboration between Entrepreneurs Organization and MIT’s Sloan College of Business. Dave loves to work with clients and his outstanding team to assess our clients’ homes and goals, and to be part of the team that creates and executes the vision we collaborate to produce.

Dave met Dean Tompkins while the two studied Mechanical Engineering at OSU in the nineties. Dean & Dave quickly learned that they had unique and differing skillsets which teamed them well through the grueling coursework and studies necessary to complete their education at a high level of success. After graduating, Dave joined his father, Mike, uncle, David, and brothers, Mike & Eric, at Payne & Payne Builders. Dean joined the company soon thereafter. We’ve worked together, in residential construction, for years and have built and renovated hundreds of homes and renovations projects.

Close Up: Dave can’t sit still and loves to be outside, whether its exercising, hiking, fishing or working on his property. Dave is blessed to have the greatest friend in the world in his wife, Sarah, and three wonderful daughters, whom Sarah and Dave drag all over the country with their strong affinity for travel. Dave is also committed to his involvement as Board Chair for the Make-A-Wish Organization and to be on the Board of Directors for the Notre Dame School system.

Dean Tompkins

Vice President

  • Executive Committee Secretary Greater Cleveland HBA
  • Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering The Ohio State University
  • HBA of Greater Cleveland 2017 Builder of the Year

Dean grew up in rural Bucyrus, OH before attending college where he met Dave Payne with whom he developed a lifelong friendship.  After college Dean started his career as a quality and process engineer for 4 years until Dave called to recruit Dean into his family homebuilding business.  That was in 2002 and Dean has been building and renovating homes ever since.  Dean often refers to it as the second best decision he ever made (first being to marry his wife Lara).  Renovating became a passion as it combines his love of architecture and proportion with the desire to constantly improve things.  Since moving to Cleveland, Dean couldn’t even imagine any other city being home.

Dean is also very active within the industry.  He was asked to join the HBA board of directors in 2015 and then was voted into the executive committee in 2017 of which he will be president in 2019.  Dean also represents Custom Builders USA, a national purchasing organization, on their “Power 30” steering committee where as a leader in the industry, his input is sought after for direction of large purchasing deals.

Close Up: In his free time, Dean enjoys traveling to new places and spending time with his wife and three boys. He is an avid sports fan and can usually be found watching or playing football, basketball or baseball with the kids. When he isn’t on the go, he can be found at home creating new recipes in the kitchen or enjoying the outdoors.

Blaine McKelvey

Business Development and Marketing Manager

  • Bachelor’s of Science in Business Management

Blaine was born and raised in the greater Chagrin Falls area and graduated from Kent State University. In high school and college he worked in various capacities as a general laborer installing hardwood floors and remodeling real estate offices. The exposure to real estate stuck and he earned his real estate license during college. After graduation he worked for a local real estate company called Smythe Cramer. After working as a real estate agent, commissions department supervisor and branch manager, Blaine needed a change of scenery. Fascinated by how things work, he pursued a career in manufacturing where he spent the next 14 years managing different aspects of several manufacturing companies. With real estate and construction still in his blood, Blaine decided to seek a career in construction and renovation and is now affiliated with Payne and Payne Renovations, where he is happy to call home performing business development and marketing activities.

Close up: Outside of work Blaine enjoys feeding birds, gardening and cooking meals for family and friends. While the results are limited, he also enjoys exercising and time spent outside.

Christy Duffus

Office Manager

  • AS Graphic Design from Westmoreland County Community College
  • Certificate in Business Management and Accounting

Christy grew up in the small town of Irwin, Pennsylvania where she attended College for Graphic Design and Business Management.  After graduation Christy established her own Graphic Design business focusing on Album Design and Marketing material. Christy used her creativity and Graphic Design background to produce marketing material and custom photo albums for clients.

In 2011 Christy relocated to Ohio following her husband who accepted a job transfer within his company. Since arriving in Ohio Christy has held an Office Management and Accountant position.  Christy also operates Vikings Gymnastics, a non-profit organization, where she sits as the President since 2014. Christy joined Payne & Payne in 2018 to pursue her business career.

Close Up: Outside of work Christy enjoys being outdoors with her husband and 15-year-old daughter.  In her free time, Christy, can be found attending her daughters Gymnastics competitions, canoeing the Allegany river, or snowboarding.

Sarah Payne

Office Manager

  • BS in Psychology from The Ohio State University
  • Ohio State Scholar-Athlete

Sarah joined the Renovations team after taking time out of the workforce to be home with her young children.  She has worked in both residential and commercial real estate and loves the constant energy and creativity found in renovations.  She and her husband Dave have built or renovated four homes since their marriage in 2000, and she takes pride in helping a home reach its fullest potential.

Close Up:  Sarah enjoys time in the mountains or on the water, family adventures in their Airstream, skiing, hiking, and creating art (and also repurposing old things into new things that Dave actually appreciates having in the house!) but mostly time spent with Dave, her three daughters, two dogs, family and good friends.

Kurt Schneider

Project Developer

Kurt grew up in Lyndhurst, OH and was a graduate from Brush High School. Upon graduating from high school Kurt entered the workforce and started his career in remodeling and renovations.  Within his 16 years in construction remodeling and renovation work he was able to establish himself by starting from the ground level and working his way up into project management. Kurt’s extensive remodeling background has given him the ability and understanding of how to renovate homes and buildings that were built in different eras.  Kurt has a strong passion in remodeling and renovations which shows in his professionalism and interaction with homeowners. Kurt joined the Payne & Payne Team in May of 2017 and envisions himself as a cornerstone of what we do.

Kurt aspires to play a role through Payne & Payne Renovations to contribute with the rebuilding of the City of Cleveland which he feels has endless potential. While Kurt’s career has taken many twists and turns, the exposure and training he has received has developed him into a well-respected and knowledgeable industry contributor.

Close Up: In his free time, Kurt enjoys spending time with his significant other Sara and his 7-year-old daughter Olivia. When Kurt is not working you will find him working on many projects on his 1910 home that he has been renovating for over a year. Kurt is a rabid Cleveland sports fan.

Jared Huey

Project Developer

  • BA Business Administration from Kent State University

Jared, a lifelong Northeastern Ohioan, grew up in Willoughby then attended High School in Chardon.  He started his construction career while attending Lakeland Community College and working for local developer as a laborer; running equipment, cleaning jobsites, and assisting the trades.  Not yet realizing that construction was the path for him, Jared continued to work for the developer while finishing his BA in Business Administration commuting to Kent while working full time on the job site, all the while focused on a career in Sales and Marketing. After graduation, Jared quickly realized that his true passion was construction and started doing remodeling and deck projects while working evenings and weekends as a Fork Lift Operator at a Marina in Fairport Harbor.

Commercial construction was the next step for Jared, he worked for a Downtown Cleveland Real Estate Firm doing projects ranging from Gas Stations to Historic Restorations continually growing his role from Carpenter to Superintendent.   He takes pride in having a hand in some of the many historically significant restoration projects in Downtown Cleveland. 

Close Up:  Jared lives in South Russell with his wife, Katie their Labradoodle, Bodhi, and a bunch of crazy chickens on Katie’s family’s 1860 farm.  They enjoy spending their time restoring the property, gardening, and finding quick adventures that make the weekends too short.

Mike Caito, AIA, LEED AP


  • BS in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati
  • Member of the American Institute of Architects
  • Chairman, University Heights Architectural Review Board
  • Chairman, East Regional Design Review District and Opportunity Corridor, Cleveland
  • Architectural Consultant, City of Painesville Downtown Historic Review District

Since graduating the University of Cincinnati in 1994, Mike has established himself as one of the most prominent and respected architects in all of Northeast Ohio. Before coming to Payne & Payne, Mike was a partner at City Architecture where he worked on some of the most visible and complex new construction and remodeling projects both in residential and commercial construction. His strong ability to listen and connect with people coupled with his incredible skill and creativity provides our clients the best design and experience. His hand-sketched plans and elevations are truly works of art.

Close Up: He currently resides in University Heights and is a member of their Architectural Review Board. He enjoys art, being active in the community, and traveling. He is a Cleveland sports fan and finds himself spending a little too much free time at major sporting events throughout the year.

Jill Calo, NCIDQ

Senior Interior and Kitchen Designer

Jill takes the time to get to know her clients and their design esthetic by asking the right questions. She believes the space needs to be functional first for the client based on their needs and wants, at the same time creating a beautiful space.  From the initial meeting, Jill will draw the floorplans, render it in a 3D program, and select all materials for the space. Jill is not afraid to mix styles and loves to think outside the box and create unexpected spaces that you don’t see everyday.

Since joining Payne & Payne in 2015, there has never been a day that she wasn’t excited to go to work. Being able to translate her passion into creating beautiful, functional spaces and homes for her clients to spend their lives in is a process that is beyond rewarding for her and sometimes, she has to pinch herself.

Close Up: Jill grew up in Chardon and now lives with her husband, Jim, and white boxer, Jackson, in Willoughby, OH. They are expecting their first child, a girl,  in March 2018. When Jill is not designing, she enjoys weight lifting, hanging out with her two older sisters and parents who are still local, and talking to her identical twin sister, who lives in NC, three times a day. Jill also loves girl’s nights with friends and neighbors.

Kristen Hennie, NCIDQ

Senior Interior and Kitchen Designer

  • NCIDQ certified, National Council for Interior Designers Qualification
  • MBA in Marketing, Grand Canyon University
  • BS in Arts and Humanities, Indiana University
  • AS in Interior Design, Scottsdale Community College

Kristen  has 10 years of residential and hospitality interior design experience. She takes great pride in the details, as she believes it is the details that take a design from ordinary to extraordinary. She loves working one on one with clients to learn how they live, and gain a comprehensive understanding of their wants and needs. This relationship ultimately results in a truly custom design that is both beautiful and functional.

Because interior design is constantly evolving, Kristen believes continued education  is vital to stay current on the latest and greatest products and industry innovations. Attending trade shows, traveling, design publications, CEU courses, and vendor relations are just a few ways Kristen remains progressive in the industry.

Close Up: Kristen and her husband Mark moved to Cleveland from Scottsdale, AZ in 2011 and currently reside in Westlake. They welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Grace, in September of 2017.  Kristen enjoys any activity that is outside in the sunshine, including hiking, running and gardening. She also loves design, painting, and traveling- activities that are often interwoven and sources of inspiration.

Morgan Lepore

Interior Designer

  • BS in Interior Design, Kent State University

Morgan has always had a passion for architecture and design. Her grandmother and great grandmother have both inspired her. They were remarkable designers, and she feels honored to be able to follow in their footsteps. Morgan loves walking into a space and having a vision of the potential it could be. She believes there is quality in every detail. Morgan also believes if you are passionate about something and implement your ideas and values on a high level, your energy will be contagious. Design is personal; being able to listen to clients describe their vison and make their dreams become a reality is the most rewarding part of her job.

Close Up: Morgan is originally from New Castle, PA and moved to Cleveland in 2016 with her younger sister and two dogs. She comes from a large Italian family, that values time and tradition. She loves spending time with her grandparents; allowing  her to learn and experience traditional values. A Sunday cooking in the kitchen, with family brings everyone closer together. Morgan also loves to travel as much as possible to experience different cultures and lifestyles. While she was in college, she had the opportunity to live overseas in Florence, Italy. This opened many doors, allowing  her to travel to many different countries and see first-hand historical architecture.

Don Phillips

Project Manager

Since 2007, Don has been a valued Payne & Payne team member. When he joined the team, he brought over 3 decades of diverse experience and background in residential construction. Don has done everything from concrete work to trim carpentry to supervising multimillion-dollar projects and everything in between.

Don’s building philosophy is: “People put a lot of thought and passion into improving their home, I think it’s important not only to give them the result that they envisioned but allow them to enjoy the road getting there.” Don uses his many years of experience and wide range of skills to reduce the stress on the homeowner so they can enjoy the process.

Close Up:  Don and his wife, Debbie, grew up and created their life together in Northeast Ohio. They raised two wonderful daughters and are now first time grandparents. Don enjoys many hobbies including woodworking, welding and photography, but his favorite pastime is enjoying summer days on his patio with his family and friends.

Dave Marino

Project Manager

Dave Marino started in new home construction as an apprentice carpenter for a framing company, learning the essentials of structural framing while building new homes and additions.  Looking to increase his skills, he moved to a custom cabinet shop and then to a fire and water restoration company.  Before joining Payne & Payne he ran his own remodeling and addition business that allowed him to be involved in all phases of construction and management.

Close Up: He finds building to be a very rewarding experience, and has always enjoyed getting to know homeowners and sharing in their enthusiasm and vision for their home.

Matt Zelinski

Project Manager

Matt has been in the construction world since 2002 both working in the field and running his own business. He joined the Payne & Payne team in 2009. His attention to detail and drive to get things right has made him a strong member of our team.

Close Up: Outside of work Matt enjoys spending time with his family and being outdoors. His favorite part about the job is getting to work directly with the team of trade partners and craftsman to build a high quality and high performance home that he’s proud of.

Kent Hamilton

Project Manager

  • AS in Construction Management/Construction Systems Management, The Ohio State University
  • 10 Hour OSHA Safety
  • Schluter Systems Workshop
  • ACI Concrete Testing
  • Nuclear Gauge Certified in Soil and Asphalt Compaction

Kent grew up in rural Woodsfield, Ohio before attending college at The Ohio State University. After college Kent moved to northern Ohio and into new home construction. Kent has held various construction positions throughout his many years in the industry.

Kent joined Payne and Payne Renovations & Design in May of 2018. He greets every day excited to start a new adventure. Kent takes pride in providing an outstanding customer experience and manages every project like its his own home.

Close up: In his free time, Kent enjoys spending time outdoors fishing and shooting sporting clays. He is also an avid woodworker and classic car enthusiast. Kent lives in the Medina area with his significant other, Jessica, and their two dogs.

Dale Verbic

Assistant Production Manager

Dale joined the Payne & Payne team in 2016, and continues to develop his skill set through hands on experience and training on the job, while also studying at Lakeland Community College. He enjoys working in the construction industry, and looks forward to continuing to advance and grow in the home construction and renovations industry.

He loves being a part of the Payne & Payne team and playing a role in the teamwork process required to remodel homes.

Close Up: Dale is a Cleveland native and currently lives in Willoughby.  In his free time, he enjoys being active and spending time outdoors with friends, seeing live music at local venues, and appreciating nature. Traveling is a major passion of his and hopes to see every continent at least once. He has already been throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. He hopes to visit Africa and South America next!