Meet the RMC Staff
Otto M. Vondrak
Otto is a native of New York State, and a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) graphic design program. He is a lifelong model railroader from his start with a Lionel train set at age five, and later getting into HO with a Bachmann freight set in 4×6. Childhood trips to New York City with his father riding early Metro-North commuter trains on the Harlem Line cemented his love of railroading. He is a member of the National Model Railroad Association Northeast Region, and a co-founder of the RIT Model Railroad Club. He enjoys kitbashing and scenery, as well as track planning and proto-freelancing. Otto is also a collector and amateur historian of vintage model railroad packaging and products.
As a published author, his work has appeared in Railroad Model Craftsman, Railpace, Railfan & Railroad, CTC Board, Trains Magazine, and a number of books on railroad history. He joined the staff of R&R as associate editor in 2011. He is also an active volunteer and president of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. He has been working for WRP since Railfan & Railroad and Railroad Model Craftsman were acquired from Carstens Publications in 2014.
When he’s not in the office, Otto enjoys the outdoors and photography, and is an active program leader in the Boy Scouts. He looks forward to building his next layout… After he meets the next deadline!
Contact Otto M. Vondrak here.
Harry K. Wong
Like many of us, Harry’s interest in trains began during his childhood. After seeing a Western Pacific freight rumbling past the plate glass windows from a department store as a young boy, the die was cast. Harry grew up in Northern California within view of Southern Pacific’s busy Overland Route. At age 12, his first completed model locomotive was an HO scale SP SD45, correctly detailed with full lighting package.
Harry graduated from the University of California at Berkeley as a Computer Science Major. To this day, his interest continues with modern railroading in both his railfanning and modeling activities. Harry ‘s online coverage of Railway Prototype Modeler (RPM) meets and the National Train Show are familiar to many hobbyists. Harry is a strong advocate of RPM, and is a key principal behind the annual San Francisco Bay Area Prototype Modelers Meet (BAPM).
Prior to joining the staff of Railroad Model Craftsman, his work has appeared in the pages of sister publication Model Railroad News, and in Mainline Modeler, Pacific Rail News, CTC Board, and in historical society magazines for the Rio Grande and Southern Pacific. He also provides assistance to a number of model railroad manufacturers with product research and development. Harry joined the staff of RMC as an associate editor in 2015, and looks forward to contributing exciting features for years to come.
At home, Harry enjoys the presence of his wife and offspring, and looks forward to the construction of his next layout based on Southern Pacific’s operations between Oakland and Ozol, Calif., of the late 1970s.
Contact Harry K. Wong here.
Prior to coming to White River Productions, Justin was a reporter and photographer for the Flathead Beacon, a weekly newspaper in Kalispell, Mont., as well as a correspondent for Trains Magazine. His work has appeared in railroad publications like Railfan & Railroad, Railroad Heritage, NRHS Bulletin, Railroads Illustrated, Railroad Explorer, and Railpace Newsmagazine.
Justin got his interest in railroading from his dad and two uncles who are also lifelong railroad enthusiasts. Justin is an active railroad photographer who loves to shoot anything from modern Class Is to historic steam locomotives and streetcars. He is particularly fond of the Bangor & Aroostook, Alcos, and anything having to do with Canadian railroading. Justin also has an interest in model railroading but has not started building a layout because he’s an apartment dweller, although he admits that’s mostly an excuse for being unable to narrow down what he wants to build. Currently, the leading layout ideas are a shelf-layout depicting Maine’s Portland Terminal Railroad in the 1970s or an N-scale depiction of Canadian National’s branch to Gaspé, Quebec set in the 1990s. Besides railroads, Justin enjoys skiing, traveling and reading about history. He currently resides in Whitefish, Montana—not far from BNSF Railway’s former Great Northern Railway yard—with his wife Ashley.
Contact Justin Franz here.
Todd joined the team as an intern in 2004. He has a degree in Graphic Design and has studied pre-press operations. His growing interest in trains is fostered by the constant creative opportunities he enjoys in the studio working with our staff. In addition to busy days of slide scanning, fine tuning photographic images, illustrating, and creating page layouts, Todd enjoys his spare time by performing music and sharing the world of trains with his son Andrew.
Contact Todd Gillette here.
In the mid-70s, he was transplanted to Southern Oregon, home of Southern Pacific’s colorful Siskiyou Line known for its “Cadillacs” and “Tunnel Motors” along with its famous US&S Style B lower quadrant semaphores.
After working as an editor for several computer magazines from the mid 80s to the early 90s, Mike launched Model Railroad News in 1995 and continued publishing the magazine through 2011 before joining the White River Productions family. Mike currently holds the position of Advertising Director and currently oversees advertising for Model Railroad News, Passenger Train Journal, Railfan & Railroad, Railroad Model Craftsman, Railroads Illustrated, HO Collector, O Scale Trains, Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, Railpace Newsmagazine, and Trains & Railroads of the Past.
Contact Mike Lindsay here.