Sam Paschel. CEO
Even though Sam’s parents took away his dirt bike when he was 8 years old for laying it down in some gravel, his passion for motorcycles only grew. To that end, Sam joined Zero to change global transportation as we know it by propelling the world’s best electric motorcycles to the forefront of every rider’s mind.
As a skilled leader and innovative brand builder, Sam has over 20 years of industry experience with top consumer brands such as Skullcandy, Burton Snowboards, and Giro Sport Design. While working at Burton and Giro, Sam held a wide range of management and leadership positions in marketing, engineering, and product development, driving each business to new levels of innovation and profitability. Most recently, Sam served as the Chief Commercial Officer for Skullcandy, where he oversaw product development, marketing, and commercial activities.
He is a graduate of Swarthmore College with a BS in engineering, and can be found on a Zero carving the Northern California switchbacks he loves when not at his desk.
Abe Askenazi. CTO
Abe is a passionate engineer and motorcyclist who did his Master’s Thesis on “The Dynamics of Motorcycles.” Abe worked at Buell Motorcycle Co. for 15 years, where he rose to the position of Sr. Director of Analysis, Test and Engineering Process, reporting to Erik Buell and actively participating in Harley-Davidson Inc.’s Senior Leadership Group. He provided increasing levels of leadership to multi-functional teams in the delivery of 26 high performance motorcycle models across four different platforms, resulting in the production of over 130k vehicles yielding over $1B in sales.
In 2010, Abe was recruited by Zero Motorcycles as VP of Engineering to head the development and product management of a full line of industry‑leading, on- and off-road electric Motorcycles. In 2011, Abe was promoted to the role of Chief Technology Officer and led his team in delivering the first mass-produced electric motorcycles capable of exceeding 160 km on a single charge, with batteries that last up to 480,000 km, and with powertrains that are completely maintenance-free.
Abe has numerous patents for motorcycle components and has published a textbook and multiple articles on analytical engineering.
Mike Cunningham. VP of Sales For the Americas
Mike Cunningham has been a fixture in the powersports industry as both a dealer principal and as a sales leader for a variety of international powersports brands for what seems like a generation. And as Zero Motorcycles’ VP of Sales for the Americas, Mike brings his wealth of motorcycle industry connections, insight, and experience to the global leadership team. Constantly driven to be a part of the most transformational teams and products in the industry, Mike is a lynchpin for the overall sales operations at Zero. Tireless in his passions as much as in his work, Mike also continues to make time to ride when not spending time with friends and family.
Curt Sacks. CFO
Curt comes to Zero Motorcycles having previously served as Chief Financial Officer for both GigOptix, Inc. and Endwave Corporation. He has over 20 years of progressive financial and management experience working both at public and private companies and with large established corporations and smaller-scale operations in their rapid growth phases. Curt’s experience in leading the development and implementation of processes in dynamic environments is well-suited for Zero Motorcycles’ tremendous global opportunities. He is focused upon building and leading a world class Finance and Administrative team.
Alex Acket. COO.
Passionate about cars, Alex moved from France to Detroit in 1998 to follow his dream to work in the Automotive Industry. His interest in motorcycles grew deeper as he rode his Honda CRF250 through the Michigan trails. In March 2022, Alex joined Zero Motorcycles as an EVP of operations, now COO, with the ambitious objective to quantum leap the motorcycle industry and riding experience by scaling up Zero Motorcycles.Alex’s background in Automotive is unique and comprises a wealth of experiences in various functions. Alex learned the fundamentals of supply chain management and continuous improvement at Valeo and Faurecia during the first 14 years of his career. Later, Alex made a bold move to Sales and Program management taking over the $2.5 billion Ford Global Account, Faurecia Group’s largest customer. Additionally, he managed the FCA and GM accounts, developing the business for Faurecia Interiors and leading its digital transformation. To further develop his skill set, Alex made another radical change and became General Manager of Faurecia Group‘s largest plant, while launching two Greenfield plants in the Southern US. Finally, before joining Zero Motorcycles, Alex spent two years in the electrical vehicle industry as VP of Purchasing and Program Management for Canoo (GOEV). Alex is a graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. When he is not working, he loves cooking and spending time with his wife and three kids.
Umberto Uccelli. VP, Managing Director, EMEA
Umberto leads all of Zero Motorcycles’ European operations. With a career spanning over 20 years with some of motorcycling’s most iconic brands, he brings valuable expertise in sales, marketing and international expansion. Uccelli’s motorcycle industry knowledge, passion for the sport and pioneering vision fuel Zero’s continued growth in the vital European market. “I’m inspired by the opportunity to apply my experience with traditional motorcycles to help build the future of motorcycling,” Umberto said. “Zero’s technology is exciting, the bikes are thrilling to ride and the team is very strong.”
Brian Wismann. VP of Product Development
Brian joins Zero Motorcycles with an extensive background in design, product development, and electric vehicle technologies. As Director of Product Development and an industrial designer for Brammo, Inc., Brian spearheaded development of the Brammo Enertia and Empulse electric motorcycles. In 2015, Brian was selected by Victory Motorcycles to lead their first-ever international racing effort at the Isle of Man TT. He followed this success with two class wins for Victory at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. With enthusiasm for electric vehicles, emphasis on project management and processes, and a passion for performance, Brian ensures that every Zero product is designed and engineered with our customer in mind.
CHRIS METCALFE. VICE PRESIDENT MARKETING.
Chris is not one for half measures. When he first rode a Zero he immediately sold his gas motorcycle and knew he had found his next great challenge. No stranger to building brands and changing minds, Chris has over 15 years experience as a taste-maker for several high-visibility consumer products in personal electronics and action sports. Singularly focused on telling stories and building loyal fanbases with award-winning, world-class production, Chris leverages his wide network and inspires his team to deliver consistent and compelling content. When not at work Chris can be found riding his customized Zero SR/F or enjoying the variety of outside activities Santa Cruz has to offer with his wife and children.
Jay Friedland. VP of Strategy and Sustainability
Working with Congress as well as consumers, industry, and environmental leaders, Jay helped drive the inclusion of over $14B in US government funding for plug-in vehicles, including the 10% US Federal Tax Credit for electric motorcycles, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Jay also serves as the Legislative Director of Plug In America, advocating for policy which broadly supports electric and plug-in vehicles. A self-described serial entrepreneur, he has built successful companies as well as developing key industry alliances between companies both large and small.