Our Team

Dave Bellizzi

Dave took over The Riding Academy of NJ in March of 2017. He was the SIte Administrator for the Academy since 2011. Dave has an extensive background in training and transportation safety. He was a Navy SEAL, insurance salesman, financial planner, sales trainer, marketing consultant, seminar leader, Safety & Training Director for a school bus company, defensive driving instructor for the National Safety Council, auxiliary police officer and an accident investigator. Dave has been teaching the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) courses since 1995. He attends all the MSF conferences and works closely with the MSF Staff to maintain quality assurance for the Academy. AKA "Super Dave", Dave has personally trained over 5,000 people to ride a motorcycle and has taught for all the major motorcycle schools in NJ. He is frequently interviewed by The Record newspaper's Road Warrior when John Cichowski writes articles about motorcycles.

Mike Dobias

Mike has been an MSF instructor since 2000. He was the Program Coordinator for FDU's motorcycle program. Mike has been a ballroom dance instructor, had his own landscaping business and currently manages the Bottle King Liquor Store in Dumont with his wife. If you go to our Facebook page, you'll recognize Mike as the one who is sitting in the lotus position in all the class photos. "Mikey" rides all year long because he doesn't want to own a car. He enjoys the Zen of two-wheels.

Don Daves

Don has been an MSF instructor since 2007. He was a scuba instructor for several years. He is currently an insurance broker who handles all the insurance for the Academy and not only can Don help you with your motorcycle insurance questions, he can help you with all of your insurance needs. "Mr. Don" is also a Road Captain for the Bergen County HOG Chapter.

Sal Ferraro, Ph.D

Sal has been an MSF instructor since 2008. Besides loving to ride and teaching people how to ride, he is also an avid skier and a ski instructor. Sal has an extensive corporate background and is well-versed in computers. He fixes all of the Academy's computer problems. "Doc" is currently a professor for Montclair State University.

Joann Rivera

Joann has been an MSF instructor since 2009. She has an engineering background and loves photography. She has a pretty good mechanical background that she got from her father, who is the head mechanic for the Paterson Police Department. "Jo" does many of our private lessons and has a phenomenal reputation with all of her students. Her ability to speak Spanish is a great asset to our students.

John Gurrieri

John has been an MSF instructor since 2009. "Probie" is an an avid rider with well over 20 years of riding experience. When he's not riding, he's either shooting at the firing range with his son or spending time with his daughter shopping. (He's gotten pretty good at finding bargains and deep discounted sales). John truly loves to teach people how to ride and looks forward to each and every class he teaches.

John Ferrarella

John has been an MSF instructor since 1998. "The Captain" is a retired fire captain for the city of Paterson. He is also a certified EMT and a certified EMT trainer. John had his own home security business for many years. Now he moonlights as an EMT at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Alan Tecchio

Alan has been an MSF instructor since 2004. He has a pretty diverse background. He currently works full-time as a restaurant/catering real estate salesman for J.C. Kapas Real Estate Co. and writes a monthly motorcycle column in NJ's Metropolis Nights Magazine (metnights.com) called MotorMouth. He also contributes articles for other national motorcycle magazines. As a result, he often tests new motorcycles and gear which gives him a valuable, modern moto-perspective. Through the 80's and 90's when not riding, "The Tech Man" was the lead singer for the heavy metal bands Hades and Non Fiction and still can be found on rock club stages singing for the bands Watchtower, Mike LePond's Silent Assassins, The Frost Metal Coalition and Level Fields.  

Blaise Diana

Blaise has been an MSF instructor since 2004. He has a strong background in teaching which he got from watching his parents run a dance studio. His father handled the business side and his mother, who was a Rockette, did all the teaching. Blaise currently works for a major telecommunications company as a technical field trainer. He has the knack for making complicated concepts easy to understand.

Josh Arias

Josh has been an MSF instructor since 1999. Like Joann Rivera, he also has an engineering background. In fact, they both used to work for the same engineering company. Josh now has his own eco-green environmental company.  Josh was an avid track racer in his younger days. His ability to speak Spanish also is a great asset to our students.

Flo Dyson Palumbo

Flo has been an MSF instructor since 2013. She's been riding motocross since she was a teenager. She enjoys riding motorcycles, sports and gardening. She is also a masseuse and does Aura healing. Flo wanted to become an MSF instructor right after she took the BRC2 course at the Academy. Her passion is to teach new riders how to become safer riders and have fun at doing it. She teaches exclusively for the Academy because she only wants to teach for the best. 

Tina Johnson

Tina is our Administrative Assistant. She handles all phone calls, Facebook posts, online inquiries and class paperwork. Tina is the voice of The Academy.