My “internet reach” is vast beyond my wildest dreams. That’s in part because of my obsession in forging mighty collaborations rooted in “reciprocal altruism.”

Might you consider becoming one of my internet broadcaster nanosecond partners.

This means that you would send out one broadcast per week, fortnight, or month devoted to
“Soldiers Home News” (and nothing else) and I would send out one broadcast per week, fortnight, or month devoted to “Bryan Kennedy for Congress News”(and nothing else).

You would craft your broadcast for me to send out.
I would craft my broadcast for you to send out.

We would start with a group of anywhere from 10 to 100 recipients predisposed to like Godsil for Kennedy and Kennedy for Godsil broadcasts.

Here is some endorsements of my internet work.

The attached file is a “Milwaukee Magazine” article on my internet work., p. 11 is an article from the “Bay View Compass” about my work.

Milwaukee Residents Speak on Godsil:

Jim Godsil is a Milwaukee treasure. He has worked tirelessly to preserve Milwaukee’s heritage. He has taken the lead in uniting diverse neighborhood groups through e-mail, picnics and simple, individual face-to-face contacts.

Jim has promoted historic home bed and breakfast tourism in the city; fought for an aesthetically valuable design for a planned Harley Davidson museum; contributed greatly to the fight against unneeded, unwanted and obscenely obscene freeway expansion in the area; and is helping lead the effort to preserve the historic structures in a Civil War era veterans hospital.

He is an intelligent committed advocate of urbanism, diversity and creativity.
Milwaukee’s life is richer because Jim Godsil is in it.

Gretchen Schuldt

In the short few months that I’ve had to get to know Jim Godsil, I’ve found him to be an absolutely tireless advocate for the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, the restoration of historic homes, and heritage tourism designed to realize a connection between job growth and historic preservation in Milwaukee. His ability to make connections where they did not previously exist amazes me and I’m happy to be part of his network of people who care about Milwaukee’s future.

Michael Strigel
Executive Director
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
1922 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53726
608/263–1692 ext. 11 Fax. 608/265–3039

James Godsil, a co-founder of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, is now focusing his efforts on galvanizing support for preservation of the Veteran’s Administration all denominational Soldiers’ Chapel. His interests extend beyond preservation and include promotion of our ethnic diversity, cultural heritage and architectural history as the back bone of economic development that promotes our rich history for present and future generations.

Annemarie Sawkins, Ph.D
Associate Curator, Haggerty Museum of Art

Jim Godsil is an important community activist. He’s Jane Jacob’s most ardent disciple in Milwaukee. He has had a big impact in Milwaukee. His mentor Ted Seaver helped kill 4 Spadina type Freeway projects in Milwaukee.

 John Norquist— former Mayor of Milwaukee and President of the Congress for the New Urbanism From: “John O. Norquist” <>

For the last several years I have watched and supported the efforts of Jim Godsil to find and nurture the often-natural connections among those interested in promoting urban centers as vibrant working environments as well as those seeing our cities as repositories of cultural, architectural, and social history. Jim’s background in the trade’s with “hands on” experience restoring the structural and aesthetic integrity of Milwaukee’s historical homes and buildings is nicely balanced by his lifelong understanding of the role of compromise and collaboration in bringing social support to all members of a community. Perhaps most importantly, Jim is tireless and persistent in strengthening these “natural connections” among those of disparate factions, ideologies, and yes, classes.

Bruce Jacobs
President and CEO
Grede Foundries, Inc.

The Historic Preservation staff at the Department of City Development is familiar with and appreciative of Mr. Godsil’s roles as community organizer, preservation advocate,and roofing craftsman. About 18 months ago, he founded the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, an advocacy group that has brought significant attention to preservation issues in Milwaukee. He has organized citizens to appear at public hearings on behalf of preservation, and keeps many in the community updated on the issues through frequent e-mails and public events.

Mr. Godsil is a skilled roofer. In this role he has done sensitive construction work on scores of architecturally and historically significant buildings in Milwaukee. His interest in mentoring younger workers has resulted in others making the decision to direct significant talents to the building arts.

Mr. Godsil is truly one of Milwaukee’s most visible preservation practitioners.


Martha L. Brown
Acting Commissioner


“Jim has worked very hard to become a restorationist on Milwaukee’s East
Side. He has created, promoted and sponsored other artisans through business
referrals and is really the “go to” individual when a restoration challenge
arises for an older home in the Milwaukee area.” ----Michael Schulte, Ex-President Shorewood Village

“I do know you to be a man of integrity, skill and understanding …. I wish there were more Jim Godsil’s in the world to promote craftsmanship and the skilled tradesman.” ----Brian Pionke, Director Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission

 “You have been working extremely hard over the last 30 

years to acquire a pool of qualified craftsman who can restore our pre World
War II architecture…(and) Your efforts for providing Milwaukee and our
Country with a source for skilled craftsman are extremely important to the
roofing and sheet metal trade.” ----Ted McNamara, Vice President of Christiansen Roofing

“Mr. Godsil is a leader in the community of restorative artesians whose goal is to preserve our pre-World War II housing stock. For the last 30 years Mr. Godsil has trained hundreds of young men and women in the Milwaukee area in the roofing and restoration fields.” ----Norman Dunkelberger, Centaur Restorations, Inc.

 “You have expertly trained many young tradesmen over the years. We always recommend your firm whenever the opportunity presents itself. Pass this on to whomever and they can call if they have any questions about the reputation of Community Roofing.” ----Norm Terapak, President Terapak Realty 

“I have known James Godsil for over 30 years. He is a man of high integrity in both his personal and business affairs. As I have recently had the opportunity to use his business services, I can attest to the excellent service and honesty Mr. Godsil demonstrates as a business person.” ---- Alexander Minash, Co-Founder ESHAC, Inc.

“Jim Godsil has been a pillar in Milwaukee’s contracting community for decades, has worked for thousands of customers & is know throughout the North Shore for his many talents” ----Barry Snider of Snider and Company

“His workers are proficient, professional and get the
job done. He is an excellent roofer himself.” ----Carol Brill, Ex-Director ESHAC, Inc.

“For the past thirty years James Godsil has been a
active and concerned citizen and businessman in our community.” ----County Supervisor Gerry Broderick

“I would also like to be on record commending the
work of Jim Godsil, of Community Roofing, who has an outstanding
reputation in the Milwaukee community for his long involvement in
repairing and restoring houses.” ----Harvey Taylor

“Mr. Godsil is a long respected business owner and
community leader…Mr. Godsil is a leader in his field…Community Roofing
has received city-wide recognition for the quality of work it does and it’s
commitment to treating it’s employees well…” ----Dr. Louis Fortis, Publisher of Shepherd Express

“As such Jim is the best contact in Milwaukee when sensitive work is required…(and)… Mr. Godsil’s organization has deep roots in the Milwaukee community” ----Ward Fowler, Alterra

“Godsil’s company, Community Roofing, and the
companies with which he partners, are a driving force in preserving not only
architectural masterpieces but also older homes in neighborhoods that are on
the brink of destruction.” ----Chris Ward

“He is a man of his word…and… empowering
hundred of young persons into the trades.” ----Bill Sells

“I am more than eager to support your [Godsil] good deed of sponsoring Jan for citizenship here. Knowing how you have acted so responsibly in the past, I am sure you would not move ahead and say you are capable of doing this financially if it were not so. Milwaukee is a city that has done much restoration of older buildings and will continue to do so in the near future. Having been a part of such restorations, I know the importance of skilled labor in this area and how hard it is to find it here. I can see how Jan would be a great asset to the community. Peace and blessings.” ---- +Rembert G. Weakland, Archbishop emeritus of Milwaukee

Brief Bio Sketch

I have helped raise 4 wonderful children: Rachel(1967);

 Megan(1981); Joseph(1984); Bridie(1988)

I am an old war-horse from the Civil Rights and
Anti-War Movements of the 1960s through until today.

I marched with Dr. King in the Chicago Open Housing
Marches, Gage Park, SCLC Summer 1966.

I and Community Roofing roofed a Habitat home
on Walnut St. with President Jimmy Carter
and Habitat for Humanity.

I was President of St. Louis University’s Great
Issue Series, 1966, and brought Dick Gregory, Eugene
McCarthy, Saul Alinksy, Dorothy Day, W.H. Auden, Saul
Bellow and more to campus.

I was a Fulbright Fellow in Tunisia, 1972, where I
studied “symbolic violence and the manipulation of
culture by the state.”

I was a doctoral candidate at U.W.M. during the 1970s
and again during the 1990s, and publilshed a
manuscript “From Party Nations to Class Coalitions
Wisconsin Ethnic Conflict and Cooperation 1850–1940.”

I have a Masters in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University,
where I worked with Citizen Action Programs and
Model Cities Programs in several cities of the Midwest,

I am one of the founders of Eastside Housing Action
Committee(ESHAC) and Chairman of the Board, 1978–1980.

I am founder President of Community
Roofing & Restoration,” since 1975.

I am one of the founders of the Milwaukee Preservation
Alliance(MPA) and Urban Anthropology’s “Backstreet
Tours of Ethnic Milwaukee,” and the Bay View Neighborhood

I am starting an on-line magazine, and would be happy to consider some of your writing for distribution. I am seeking a brilliant web wizzard to offer her/his services for a share of the revenue. It looks like James Carlson and the fine young Americans of Bucketworks are going to take this venture to a much higher level than I had known possible, i.e. Wiki Web Site for the Milwaukee Renaissance. The backdrop to the site will be rotating scenes of Milwaukee beauty by local artists. The site will be very simple and clean. People will be able to purchases “culture goods and services” from a nickel to a hundred grand. The site would be like the Northwest Territory was in the 19th century in the sense that it is open for homesteading for anyone who would make good use of it, follow the golden rule and the golden mean. Developing a Holiday Gift Catalogue of goods and services created by citizens of Historic Milwaukee is a hoped-for next step, in cooperation with Bucketworks, i.e. MilwaukeeRenaissance@Bucketworks. Serving as a vehicle for social enterprise and small business development; contributing to the transformation of Milwaukee from a working class to a creative working class and knowledge worker city; drawing upon the sub-optimized labor power and creativity of students, elders, stay at home family members, and citizens frustrated with their current jobs and seeking moonlighting opportunities: these are other objectives of the Milwaukee Renaissance.

Selected Articles Featuring James Godsil

(1) Shepherd Express coverage, not including lead article July 26, 2001
(2) Journal Article on sponsoring a Native American Roofing crew
(3) Whitney Gould article on testimony to save historic home on Layton Blvd.
(4) Georgia Pabst article as co-founder of Milwaukee Preservation Alliance(MPA)

Shepherd Express Metro Life on Milwaukee’s Left Bank
… Jim Godsil, public intellectual and owner of Community Roofing, feels that
one does not need to be an artist to be a bohemian. Bohemianism … shepherd/24/27/cover_story.html - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

Shepherd Express Metro Milwaukeeans Speak Out About the War
… He was interviewed by Shepherd Express publisher Louis Fortis, human rights attorney
Larry Albrecht, and James Godsil, historic preservationist and restoration … shepherd/24/15/cover_story.html - 21k - Cached - Similar pages

Shepherd Express Metro News & Views Boris & Doris on the Town
… Other notables attending were Molly Herrington, 14th district aldermanic candidate;
“social entrepreneur” Jim Godsil; Molly Christofferson; Terri Johnson; and … 25/01/news_and_views/boris_and_doris.html - 16k - Cached - Similar pages

Shepherd Express Metro The Faces of Change
… interests beyond roofing. Under the guidance of company founder Jim
Godsil, they launched their own business venture. Now with the … shepherd/24/30/cover_story.html - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

Shepherd Express Metro Boris and Doris
… dedicated to community preservation. The event was pulled together by
master e-mailer and preservation advocate Jim Godsil. Hot dogs and … 24/30/news_and_views/boris_and_doris.html - 12k - Cached - Similar pages

Brothers build company from ground up

Tannette Johnson-Elie

Three American Indian brothers have overcome personal problems and worked long days to gain a foothold in the local roofing business.
Four Winds Contractors
Photo/Elizabeth Flores
Marcos Padron (right) works with Wayne Edwards (left) and Neal Tipton. Edwards and Tipton, who are brothers, own and operate a roofing business called Four Winds Contractors with another brother, Joe Tipton. The brothers have overcome many challenges to make their business successful.
The ability to put a roof together that doesn’t leak is like turning in a 50-page essay without a typo. It’s being able to focus your mind on what you do and the work. I’m in awe of Wayne Edwards and his brothers. They get the job done quickly and they get it done well.
- Jim Godsil,
president of Community Roofing

In the process, they’ve helped change attitudes by succeeding in a venue far from the world of tribal gaming - ventures that many people seem to think benefits all Indians.

Wayne Edwards, 34, and his brothers, Neal Tipton, 26, and Joe Tipton, 24, run Four Winds Contractors, a small south side residential roofing company that is one of the more established Native American-owned roofing firms in the city.

“People ask us all the time, ‘Do you get money from the casinos?,’” Neal Tipton said as he packed up after completing a job near Astor and Kewaunee streets on the city’s east side.

“I’m bothered by that stereotype. We can do other things other than work at casinos.”

The brothers belong to the Ojibwe Nation, which they say is a poor tribe that does not receive any proceeds from casino gambling. They started Four Winds three years ago with little more than an old, beat-up truck and a few basic tools. The business has grown to a 10-man operation with four trucks and a new warehouse at 5th St. and Lincoln Ave.

“We had barely any money,” Joe Tipton said. “We just kept on building. We got our first job and we used the money to buy more tools.”

Edwards and his brothers have worked 15-hour days trying to make their fledgling roofing business a success. It’s starting to pay off. After two years of not being able to pay bills, they are now turning a profit. Still, most of the profits are invested back into the business.

The brothers are busier than ever, coming off of a rough winter that caused plenty of roof damage.

“We’re currently 12 weeks back,” said Edwards. “More and more people want us to do jobs.”

Getting to this point has not been easy.

Like many small and minority business owners, the brothers have struggled to raise capital, which makes it tough to grow a company. It’s even more difficult for roofers, who must pay for costly insurance and licensing because of the danger of the work.

Edwards and his brothers have literally hired people off the street, many of whom are ex-gang members and drug addicts. Some of them are now making $10 to $15 an hour.

“We pay them really well because it gives them an incentive to work,” Joe Tipton said.

The brothers are willing to help because they’ve had their own problems.

All three have abused alcohol, and Edwards is a former crack addict. And all have been associated with gangs.

“I know what it’s like for a lot of these guys. I got so bad that I was living in abandoned houses,” said Edwards, who has been drug-free since 1997.

“In roofing, a lot of guys drink. They go out and party and don’t show up for work the next day. The good thing about us owning a company and running it is we’re always there.”

Growing up on the city’s south side, Edwards and his brothers learned roofing and insulation from their father, who drank heavily and gambled.

“We were so poor, we had to trade pants. One year we had to wear socks for gloves. We always had food,” Neal Tipton said. “I give my father credit for teaching the boys a trade. I think it was his way of giving us something.”

While there are a number of minority roofing contractors in Milwaukee, many of them are one- or two-men outfits that operate in sort of an “informal economy” in which money is taken under the table, said Jim Godsil, president of Community Roofing. Four Winds works as a subcontractor to Community Roofing, a majority company that has been in business since 1975.

“It’s a very challenging industry,” said Godsil.

“The ability to put a roof together that doesn’t leak is like turning in a 50-page essay without a typo. It’s being able to focus your mind on what you do and the work,” he said.

“They get the job done quickly, and they get it done well.”

American Indians seem to have found a niche in the roofing business, and some believe they have an affinity for working in high places.

Learning to handle heights

For example, many American Indian tribes that live near mountainous regions of New Mexico teach their children to do certain dances that help them to maneuver in high terrain, said Kathy Cain, executive director of Milwaukee Indian Economic Development Agency Inc.

“They (American Indians) for some reason aren’t afraid of heights,” Cain said. “Early on, children are taught hoop dancing. It gives them the ability to get around safely in high prices.”

Edwards and his brothers said they were proud that American Indians have become known for their roofing work.

“Most of the roofers I know who are agile and adept at roofing are Native Americans.,” Edwards said. “Most Native Americans will do steep, scary areas without an hesitation. It’s pride.”

Although business has picked up for Edwards and his brothers, much of their work still comes through word-of-mouth.

They hope to make their company grow to the point where they can one day handle large construction projects like the Midwest Express Center and Miller Park.

In the meantime, they will concentrate on serving their community and providing jobs - and hope - to young men who desperately need it.

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on June 5, 2001.

Last edited by g.   Page last modified on March 29, 2005

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Emergency Digital. | Hosted by Steadfast Networks