Inside the OCC Team
Rick Petko, a native of Bath, PA and a motorcycle enthusiast, joined Orange County Choppers as a fabricator and builder in July 2003. At an early age, Petko started riding – mini-bikes, go karts, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, dirt bikes and then eventually Harleys. Besides his love for bikes, Petko is also a huge Nascar fan and started his career working at the racing school at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania and then worked for the Hooters Pro Cup Team before joining OCC.
Eventually, he moved on from racing and made a home for himself alongside Paul Sr. and the crew at Orange County Choppers. Petko’s love for speed and for making something out of nothing made him a great addition to OCC’s growing team. His true passion for bikes is in old school bikes, especially old flat head styles. Since working for OCC Rick has had his hand in some of Orange County Choppers most memorable projects like the POW/MIA bike. The POW/MIA project wasn’t just his first build at OCC it also held special meaning for him because his cousin’s name is on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and was also placed on the rear fender of the bike.
Petko now resides in Stroudsburg, PA, where he built himself a workshop to work on projects of his own.
Christian Welter, an OCC employee since 2002, attended the American Motorcycle Institute, from which he graduated in 2000. He is a mechanic in the shop and does a majority of the wiring and assembly work on all choppers. He also plays the drums in the OCC band. Christian says his favorite bike build was the band bike, not only because he’s in the band but he because he also had a hand in designing and building it. The most challenging project was the Siemens Electric Bike – because of the bike’s extremely high voltage, he was shocked…often. In his spare time Christian enjoys racing motocross, snowboarding, listening to music, and playing with his German Shepard, Jersey.
Jason Pohl, a native of Mendota, IL and active outdoor enthusiast, joined Orange County Choppers as Senior Designer in early 2004. He started his career at Incredible Technologies, based in Arlington Heights, IL as an Artist/Animator of videogames, where he worked on a digital pinball prototype licensed by OCC and was responsible for the modeling and designing of all choppers featured in the game. Upon completion of the project, Paul Sr was so impressed with his work, he approached Jason to join the team.
Since joining OCC, Jason finds the most challenging part of his job to be taking 2-dimensional conceptual drawings and modeling and reshaping them into fully functional 3-dimensional parts. Jason’s initial plan was to join the U.S. Marine Corps after finishing high school, however, he was awarded the August Holland Scholarship and decided to attend the Illinois Institute of Art, where he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts.
Jim Quinn, a local resident of Montgomery, NY, serves as Orange County Choppers’ Lead Engineer and Machinist where he is responsible for collaborating on all bike designs and the machining of all in house bike components. Prior to joining OCC in 2004, Jim served as the Director of Engineering at Imperial Schrade Corp. for 18 years, where he secured 14 patents for knife design.
After Schrade went out of business, Paul Sr approached Jim to join the OCC team. Since joining Orange County Choppers, one of his most challenging projects (and biggest accomplishment) has been turning a 500 pound aluminum slab into a 60 pound rear wheel for a helicopter themed bike. Jim holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.
John Koerner, an OCC employee since 2006, went to Alfred University for engineering, and is now a shop Machinist. So far, John’s favorite bike build has been the electric bike built for Siemens and the most challenging project he worked on was the Meteorite Men bike because the build was so complex. If John had to pick his most memorable experience here at OCC, it would be when the shop moved from Montgomery to Newburgh, though it was a ton of work moving everything from shop to shop, everyone came together to get it done. In his spare time, you can find John drag racing, playing with remote controls, or playing ice hockey.
Mike Tampone is OCC’s CNC Programmer and Machinist. He attended trade school for CNC programming and has always had a passion for mechanics. Mike’s favorite bike builds thus far have been the Meteorite Men Bike, because he had never seen anything like it before, and the Lawless Electric Drag bike, because of the possibility that it will break current speed records. Mikes most challenging projects are those that have dealt with 3-D structuring, which can be a very challenging and time consuming part of making custom bikes.
Ralph Estrada has been an Orange County Choppers employee since 2003. He is responsible for painting and some of the auto body work on OCC’s custom made bikes. His most favorite bike build was the Fire Bike, because it was one of the first bikes he worked on. When he’s not working, Ralph loves to spend time with his family and likes to ride his GSXR-750.
Phil Nask has always had a passion for cars and auto body and now is self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades, responsible for bodywork and bike assembly here at Orange County Choppers. His favorite project thus far has been the Lawless Electric Drag Bike because he loves drag racing and the potential for this bike to break current speed records. Phil’s most memorable experience working with the OCC crew is when he had the chance to drag race against Paul Sr. He lost by 1 car’s length, but seems to think he could beat Sr next time.