Our Leadership

Ford Pearson - Owner and CEO of HLB

Ford PearsonFord Pearson oversees all strategic planning for the firm. Prior to his election as CEO, Pearson was an advisor to the HLB board for more than 15 years. Pearson's professional experience encompasses a broad range of strategic and tactical endeavors in a wide variety of industries including service, transportation, finance, commercial banking, travel, and product development. Previously, he was chief operating officer for Wheels Inc., a privately owned fleet management company where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In this role, he was involved with all facets of Wheels domestic and international businesses, helping lead the company to be recognized as the industry's premier service provider. He received an MBA from University of Chicago and sits on the board of Northwestern University's Initiative for Sustainability and Energy.


Sam La Banco - Director of Mechanical Engineering

Sam La BancoSam returns to HLB engineering after seven years. He led the mechanical engineering department as director of mechanical engineering from 2000 thru 2004.

Sam has 30 years plus of successful engineering and product development experience, encompassing corporate environments at Motorola, Outboard Marine, and Baxter Healthcare also independent product development firms Beyond Design and HLB. Sam has managed numerous product development projects; at OMC he undertook internal combustion power development programs, marine steering and control systems. While at Baxter his focus was in bio-diagnostic instrument systems, and medical disposables. Sam has led numerous projects for consumer and medical product industries throughout his career. His innovations and leadership have resulted in product development efforts characterized by acceleration of time-to-market, improved performance and cost reduction. He is considered a hands on Engineer having been exposed to a broad spectrum of subject matters.

Sam holds 9 patents, and led the team that was the recipient of a Design News Magazine Design Excellence Award for their work on an innovative nasal cannula device.

BS, Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University

Member - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Member – American Society of Plastic Engineers
Chairman – American Power Boat Association Safety Committee


Vincent Bowman - Director of Industrial Design

Vincent BowmanVince has over 30 years of successful industrial design and product development experience with industry leading design, branding and strategy firms.  He has built and managed multiple teams – the largest being at LAGA where he assembled and led their Industrial Design Group consisting of 10 industrial designers. He and his teams have successfully completed projects for Bosch, Baxter, ITW, Snap-On, Avery Dennison, Ingersoll Rand, Kraft, SC Johnson and others. 

Vincent’s expertise covers a range of specialties ranging from research, human factors, functionality, aesthetics, branding, strategy and manufacturing implementation.  He is a highly skilled innovator utilizing sketches and drawings to develop and refine concepts and ideas. Furthermore, having worked as a model maker early in his career makes him comfortable in a shop environment and quick to build prototypes.
His broad experience base provides a solid foundation on which to collaborate and create successful product development concepts.  His work is characterized by an in-depth understanding of the entire product development process coupled with an extraordinary degree of thoroughness and creativity.
Over 50 patents have been assigned to Vincent and his products have won numerous awards.
B.S. in Product Design from the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology
Member - Industrial Designer’s Society of America