Friday, August 01 2008 | Comments (0)
OCC works on a project for plumbing-and-heating technology company, Viega Corporation, but staffing issues cause problems, hindering progress and creating tension.
Paul Junior, Mikey and Steve Moreau are at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, which was then still under construction. Viega Corporation, "one of the biggest and oldest manufacturer of plumbing supplies," is doing all the plumbing for the stadium and wants to show off their work to the OCC guys--especially their new no-weld, "ProPress" system for joining pipe.
While they ponder the intricacies of large scale pipe fitting projects, members of the Colts drop by to say hi to Mikey and Paulie. Even though the Teutuls are Giants fans, they are content that Mikey, at least, hates the Patriots. Ryan Diem, the Colts right tackle, feels that is enough for a common bond between them.
Back at the shop, Jason Jim Quinn, and Paulie sort through a shipment of ProPress pipe fittings from Viega to see if there are fittings they can use on the bike design they've already roughed out.
Junior also gets with Rick to discuss teh tank design. Its a sleek tank, but complicated and Paulie feels it will probably take Rick two or three days to fabricate. While Rick gets to work on the tank, Pauli starts to work on an extra wide fender. It's so wide he has to notch out sections of the sides so it will fit into the frame.
Jason asks for advice on how to trace the seat pan so its even all the way around. He's been laying his paper on the seat area and tracing underneath. Rick shows him that he can just lay the paper on top and rub it with a flat piece of metal and the pattern will be transferred to the paper perfectly. Jason is impressed, "You make that look so easy. You just rub this on the metal?"
"It'll leave a mark, it's always dirty."
Jason tries to learn from Rick whenever he can, "He know about every trick in the book when it comes to fabricating bikes ... and the best thing is he's really humble about his talents, unlike a few other people around here. If you know what I mean."
Jason gets the metal cut and Paulie bends it into shape. They both agree it's one of the stranger looking seats they've designed--"It looks like a broken paper airplane!" Jason remarks. But it goes with the low-slung, sleek "racer" look they're going for on this bike.
Rick continues to struggle with the oddly shaped tank. It's got a high "hump" but also dips low in back and moves from being very narrow in back to wider than average in front. "Some tanks are harder than others and this one is definitely one of the harder ones." Rick thinks it will take him another two or three days to put it together. It will have at least ten pieces to weld together when its done.
Tim Arnold, a Viega district manager, arrives to show Paulie and Paul Senior how the ProPress system works. Paulie's been wanting to see it in action. He feels that would give him more ideas for the bike design and they hope to use the process to put some of the fittings on the bike.
But the next day as Paulie begins to work with the fittings, he gets worried about how well copper will stand up to the rigors of bike riding. He talks to Senior about liability and safety issues involved and they both agree that using copper is too risky for the struts and other weight bearing parts.
Jim Quinn comes over to ask Paulie what else he needs to do for the bike. He knows they have to wait for the rep to come by before they can finalize their design ideas. He's upset to learn that the rep was there yesterday and he wasn't included in the meeting. As OCC's head engineer, his ideas on how to use copper safely in the design would be vital to the build.
Jim vents that it's just as well he wasn't included in that phase of the design. He would have needed Jason's help and, because OCC is so short handed, Jason has been spending more time in fabrication lately. "Which half the time I get dragged into also."
Jim feels he's being dragged in "a billion different directions with less help than ever." As Paulie and Jason watch, Senior pulls Jim aside to help with a bike he's working on. "Uh oh," Jason says, "We just lost JQ to 'project senior'" Senior takes more of Jim's time, making him even more frustrated. "The bottom line is the work is really starting to pile up around here. Something's got to change cuz this just isn't working."
The tank is done. and it looks like all the extra work Rick put into it has paid off, it's one of the sharpest tanks he's done. Junior pays Rick a left handed compliment by telling him, "You know a lot of times I'm not real happy with the tanks, but this one is just real good."
Ron calls Junior and Jason into the office to see Senior, which worries Jason, "You never get called into the office for anything good; not around here." Senior says that Jim is upset that he now has to do all the designing on the computer which was Jason's job. Jason has to go back to designing and leave the building to Paulie. Paulie points out to Senior that this leaves him without any help and Senior agrees to talk to JQ about letting Jason stay for a bit.
Jason feels blind-sided by this as he feels he's been keeping his end up on design and has no idea what Senior is talking about. But he agrees to go back to design. While they were in the office though, parts from Viega arrive and Jason is needed to help unpack them. As Jason was hoping, JQ comes out and Jason gets to confront him, "Senior said you said I'm not doing my job ..." JQ insists that's not what he said.
Before they can really talk it out Senior jumps in and cuts the argument short, telling Jason to just get back there and design. "OK, I'm just trying to figure out how I was wrong."
"No one said you were wrong," Senior replies, but Jason heads back to the computer to sulk. Senior goes back to him to explain that it isn't personal, and he isn't in trouble, and he isn't being taken off the other build, he's just needed a bit more in design at the moment. Jason still feels like it could have been communicated a bit better, but Senior, seeing he is still feeling slighted, gives him a big hug and sort of apologizes, which makes Jason feel better.
Meanwhile, Paulie tries to manufacture some foot pegs using the steel and copper fittings Viega has sent him. He likes what he comes up wiht and finds that if he just uses some reinforcement the copper is strong enough to work.
Senior gets one of the other workers, Ralphie, to help Paulie out. Ralph is glad to help, but has been watching all the high tension exchanges that day and just cuts and welds metal and tries to stay out of the conflict.
Senior talk to Steve a bit about their need for more help. He explains that there are already ads out there, but Senior asks him to expedite the process. Tempers are flaring up. OCC needs people fast.
Jason is able to get back on track and design the struts and the wheels for the Viega bike. They can't use actual Viega pipe in the wheels, but Jason thinks he's captured the feel of their product pretty well and kept the wheel structurally sound. He feels better after Senior talked to him, but he is still feeling uncertain about JQ. "But ya know, at the end of the day here it's just a lot of people stressed out with a lot of work to do and a lot of deadlines to meet and the s*** is startin' to fly."
JQ comes in the office to see if the wheel design has been finished and approved. Junior and Jason tell him to start cutting, "rock and roll, Jim."
Jim is happy, "Whohoo! I have approval. I can start cutting wheels."
Jason is glad that part is done, "Now that things are approved and Jim can get to work maybe people will chill out a bit and we can go back to being one big happy dysfunctional family."
Mikey, meanwhile, is preparing to build another one of his special projects. this time he feels the spirit of Viega is best represented by using piping to build a "tater cannon". Mikey "can't learn to do things the easy way" so he just welds his copper tubing together the old fashioned way with a blow torch and flux and solder. Paulie notices Mikey fumbling with "sweating" the pipe and starts to help out and, as Mikey notes, "the project became not mine, but ours."
Paulie hasn't done much of this kind of welding and feels the result is pretty messy (providing a clear counterpoint to the ease of joining pipe using the Viega ProPress system). It doesn't help that neither of them has any plumbing expertise and when it comes time to test the pipes for leaks it shows: the cannon won't hold air pressure. It's back to the drawing board for the potato cannon.
The bike is coming together and the tank, struts, and fenders are ready to go. JQ comes to Jason to see if the last major part, the primary cover, is designed and ready to cut. Jason says it is, but JQ immediately sees that the design is incomplete. Jason hasn't drawn in the bolts needed to hold the cover on and the bolts will break up the designs border. Jim tells him this nicely, but Jason is sensitive and takes offense, and Jim is already on edge, leading to a fight between the two over the design.
JQ feels its part of the same issue from the day before, if he isn't included in the planning and design meetings he doesn't know what to do and sometimes the designs are unworkable. Jason doesn't see that his omission matters, but he agrees to redo it. He realizes they are all over loaded and the Jim is having a rough week, though he still feels Jim could have been nicer about it.
Paulie goes out to where Jim is fighting with the water jet, which isn't cutting the a piece the way it should. He's cursing the machine and trying to adjust things and Paulie lets him vent. Paulie agrees Jason will just "draw stuff anywhere" and not even think about whether it will even work. But the real issue isn't Jason, it's that OCC is growing fast and there is less time for each bike. The machine shop needs to grow to meet the new demands. Jim is going to need more help to keep up with both the custom and the production bikes.
Paulie, Ron, Steve, Jason, and JQ meet to discuss the issues and how they can do things differently. Junior feels it comes down to changing the way they do things to fit the new level of production, "We're looking at a hundred extra bikes easy, over last year. That alone is worth gearing up for."
The bike is ready for tear down and the parts are stripped and sent off to Orange County Powder Coating for painting and then to Nub Graphix for some pin-striping and touch up.
The fight between Jim and Jason goes on though as Jim isn't happy with Jason's new primary cover design: he just took his old design and added a ring of bolts around it. He feels Jason is slacking off. Jason doesn't understand what Jim's problem is. He thinks they have a great working relationship and are good friends and this whole fight has blindsided him. In some ways the whole fight is about art vs engineering. Jason makes cool designs, but Jim knows that sometimes you can't both make the bike work and keep the pretty design. In this case, the bolts would break his original design up and ruin the effect. The two never really agree and Jason decided there is no point in arguing and goes his way.
The bike is ready to assemble and everyone dives in to get the project together. Mikey is almost done with his project too. He's resealed all the joints on his copper tubing and it finally holds enough pressure to fire. The target is the usual one, Senior's office door. After a quick check to make sure no one is actually behind the door, the two brothers shoot off a round that punches a clean hole through it, making a surprised Senior jump a foot up out of his seat.
His first reaction though is to tell them to try a "pole" and they re-gear to shoot a broomstick, which impales the door clean through the center. As they get ready to fire again, Senior puts up a target: a photo of Rick. The next several shots are less accurate though, one almost hits the window and one goes over the office into a rafter. Rick's picture seems safe for now.
They've been gradually increasing the pressure as they go and finally, at 100psi, they decide to try one last potato. This time the shot hits Rick's pic straight on and the project is dubbed a success.
The tins come back from Nub finally and everyone agrees he's done a stellar job of tweaking the plain, two tone design with some pin-striping and other details. A couple parts are still lacking, but the bike is beginning to look sharp.
Christian and Rick work on the assembly and Junior, feeling there is little he can do to help them, goes to help Jason with some designs. Senior notices Paulie's absence from the lift though and chews him out for slacking off. Another fight ensues, and Paulie thinks it's just his Dad's style to pick on him whenever he's frustrated about something else, which doesn't make him any less angry at being screamed at.
Finally complete, Paulie take it for a test ride. He's thinks this is one of the coolest bike they've done and he hopes that Viega loves it as much as he does. The unveiling is near the Viega headquarters in Wichita, Kansas and everyone is impressed. The CEO insists that "you can't receive a chopper without firing it up. The streets have been cleared so that Senior can ride it at the head of a parade of bikes on the way to the headquarters building. Another job well done for OCC.