Our Team

Our team members are diverse in their skill sets, but share a strong attention to detail and a history of professionalism. From fine carpentry to pressure washing, from licensed electrical work to gutter cleaning, our team has the skills and experience to meet your needs.

Each team member has been vetted and every employee has undergone a pre-employment background check. You can be assured that your home will be cared for by a respectful technician, and that your project will be done right the first time by trustworthy and skilled professionals.

Joann Infante

customer support specialist

Joann is the vital link between our customers and our busy team of field employees. She comes to House Specialties as a second career, after decades of work in medical laboratories. Our customers—and our team—value her focus on helping people and her ability to follow-through. If Joann doesn’t have the answer, she’ll get it.

Lightning Atkinson

business owner
senior field technician
licensed electrician

Lightning grew up flipping houses with his dad…before flipping was a word. His parents would buy a run-down house in the nicest neighborhood they could afford and spend their evenings and weekends fixing it up. They would sell the house a few years later and do it again. Lightning learned the basics of carpentry, plumbing, drywall, HVAC and electrical as a teenager. In the 25 years since then he has refined his skills and worked under a master electrician and at a carpentry company.

Lightning’s career journey before founding House Specialties is an eclectic set of professional experiences including audio/video installation, sound systems for live events, personal development, business coaching and strategic planning, podcast production, management, team development, operations implementation, and entrepreneurship.

Spencer Jackson

field technician

Spencer’s career path has been diverse. He has worked in metal manufacturing where he was trained to weld together different alloys. He spent more than 20 years in the medical manufacturing field, where he worked daily with radioactive material to produce therapy products for the oncology field.

Most recently he worked as a technician and trainer for a large app-based home fixit company. The common thread through everything he has done is attention to detail. Spencer is aggressive about details and completing the job correctly the first time. He has years of experience working on homes. His favorite thing about working for House Specialties is “the level of care we take with our clients’ homes…and how organized this business is”.

Alex Wellington

field technician

Alex learned how to fix things from his father while growing up on their farm in south Georgia. He remembers when their house was first wired for electricity and how that changed life on the farm. Since then, Alex’s career in quality assurance has taken him all over the world inspecting recreational watercraft, army helicopters, military facilities and even space satellites. 

With a high attention to detail and extensive woodworking skills, Alex is known among his family and friends for building dulcimers and violins by hand. He brings a lifetime of home repair experience that spans many decades, disciplines, and locations. He’s also an avid square-dancer.

 

Mike Harris

field technician

Mike’s professional background has allowed him to hone his attention to detail and customer service skills. Before House Specialties he worked in the audiovisual industry supporting live events. He also has years of experience as a camera operator for televised live sports. If that wasn’t enough he is also a freelance photographer specializing in portraits and wedding photography. In working for House Specialties Mike’s attention to detail has been appreciated by homeowners all over the North Shore. He and his wife own a home in Skokie where they live with their 2 kids. When he’s not working on your home or his, Mike loves mountain biking.

 

Bill First

master carpenter
field technician

His unassuming personality doesn’t reveal the depth of skill and life experience Bill carries with him. Since 1998 he has designed and built custom wood furniture of the highest quality for discerning clients through his business WoodWorks. His meticulous attention to detail and artistic sense have made him a successful furniture designer. He owns a home in the West Ridge neighborhood of Chicago that is full of beautiful furniture and he teaches furniture building classes at the Evanston Art Center. Bill is also a sought after professor at Columbia College where he teaches furniture design and a variety of photography classes. His students comment on how much he has helped them—both on school-related projects and also in launching their careers. Bill brings his years of carpentry experience and attention to detail to every project he works on at House Specialties.

Jane Davis

office support

Jane’s career experience includes decades of purchasing, procurement and contracting experience on a regional level. In addition she has a lifetime of experience in real estate transactions, remodeling, project management and staff development. In her semi-retirement she supports House Specialties with her customer service and organizational skills. 

Moxley

shop dog

Moxley has been with House Specialties from the very beginning. He is in charge of eating saw dust and romping around the yard. When he’s not working, Mox can usually be found sitting at the feet of whomever will stand still long enough.

 

Is 20 years too long to wait for a back door that closes correctly? Yes, but we did. Our 100 year old basement door stuck so badly that we only opened it twice a year, and my husband had to kick it open. The carpenters from House Specialties were able to shave off and adjust that door until it opens and closes smoothly.  They also installed some exterior outlets, and put one of them on a timer for our Christmas lights. The crew cleaned up after themselves and were professional every step of the way. House Specialties is now our go-to company for home repair. 

Lynne Mapes-Riordan, Evanston, IL

I had a long "honey do" list and House Specialties took care of almost all of it in a short and very affordable visit. They did a great job with some minor repairs, gutter cleaning, Ethernet wiring, and are giving us a quote for some shelving and other repairs.

Quick, efficient, got the job done. I'll definitely be calling them back!

Brad Farris, Chicago, IL

House Specialties is the drama free, professional experience that we've been looking for. They came out when they said they would, did the work we asked them to do, charged us exactly what they quoted, and cleaned up before they left. And on top of all that, they were just super friendly and kind. We will definitely be calling again.

Brad Harbaugh, Chicago, IL

I didn’t realize how many small annoyances about my house I had come to accept until Lightning walked through it with me and offered to fix them all. The broken drywall behind the door knob, the sagging step on the porch, the green mildew on the front siding, the door that didn’t close all the way...even the ugly plastic grocery bag that has been stuck in a tree branch for the past 3 years. House Specialties took care of all of it and more. I feel a real sense of relief and even joy as I walk around my house and things work. The House Specialties team respected our family and home, communicated well, and did great work.

David Sandell, Skokie, IL

House Specialties tackled my "to do list" with ease, precision, and care. The quality of work exemplified fine craftsmanship throughout the entire time they worked on the projects. While the work was being done I was kept apprised and asked for input or clarification. When the projects were complete, House Specialties cleaned up thoroughly. Another plus, House Specialties was prompt on the job, communicated digitally alerting me of the time of arrival. I highly recommend House Specialties for home improvement projects, and will call them again when more work needs to be done. This company follows COVID 19 protocol.

Patricia Tomich, Evanston, IL

This was literally the best experience I've had with any handyman/contractor. They came out and talked me through several options (correcting some SERIOUS issues that my home inspector uncovered when we bought the place), offering suggestions that made my ideas better. They were prompt with everything and really patient as I kept flip-flopping on the work to be done (we probably had 3-4 revisions to the quote). I like the easy-to-use online platform they use for all the quotes, notifications, invoicing, etc. Most of the contractors I've used in the past who say something like, "Eh...it's about $1,500 of work" and that's the quote...they write it on a pad of paper and that's the invoice. These guys are professional, but also personable and available.

Jeremy E, Chicago, IL

What a great day of getting a whole list of projects taken care of by the team from House Specialties. Work included: long overdue tile grouting in two bathrooms; various electrical issues solved; vacuuming out and replacement of a gable vent that had been damaged by birds; and a few other jobs that had been on our list for a while. Hard-working, cleaned up after themselves, and checked in with us when they noticed something we hadn't mentioned, or had an idea of how to save us a little money along the way.  When it comes time to sell our home, this is absolutely the team that will get us ready for listing!
(Appropriate COVID-19 measures in place the entire time Lightning and Mike were in our home.)

Eileen Heineman, Skokie, IL

As we were preparing to put our house on the market, we contacted House Specialties and bought their “pre-listing package.” We were shocked by the huge difference power washing made in the overall appearance of the house—it absolutely sparkles. We are delighted that when a prospective buyer pulls up, they will have an overall impression of an attractive, well-maintained house. It won’t be a “wow, it’s been power washed” response, but rather “this is a nice looking, well-maintained house.” The floor plan creation was also great – prospective buyers can only get so much information from pictures – a floor plan augments the pictures with facts. Throughout the process the professionals at House Specialists were responsive to our needs and very easy to work with. We’ll be using their services at our new home.

Jane A, Skokie, IL

Attention to detail. That’s what this company is great at. They built custom wooden framing at my storefront office to support digital signage in my front windows. Their carpentry work was rock solid and perfect down to the 1/8 of an inch, and the paint job looked like a custom car. They accommodated my schedule and worked with masks on for two days in the heat. They were quiet and respectful of our ongoing business and beyond clean. When they left my office was cleaner than when they arrived! Two thumbs up for House Specialties.

I highly recommend and will be using Lightning and crew again & again.

Steven Schwartz, Niles, IL

We hired Lightning and his crew to relocate a crowded electrical box in our basement. They did a fantastic job of rerouting the conduit and working around all the other mechanicals. The job took two days, and they let us know in advance that several circuits were going to be disconnected overnight. Before they left at the end of the first day they ran extension cords to power our basement freezer and other essential items. It’s that consideration, and the quality of the work, that makes me recommend House Specialties without hesitation.

Jim Hart, Skokie, IL