Our Team


Ford Pearson - CEO

As chief executive officer for HLB, Ford Pearson oversees all strategic planning for the firm. Prior to his election as CEO, Pearson was an adviser 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. He received an MBA from University of Chicago and is on the board of Northwestern University's Initiative for Sustainability and Energy

Director of Engineering: Sam Labanco

Mechanical Engineer, BS Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, 30 years of engineering experience, 12 patents.

Sam’s early engineering career was in the manufacturing divisions of a medical device business at Baxter and the marine engine business at Outboard Marine. These experiences were followed by 25 years in product development where he solved hundreds of complex engineering and design problems. He excels at collaborating with all product development and manufacturing personnel in order to create high value products that maximize the productivity of the manufacturing and assembly processes.

Director of Industrial Design: Vincent Bowman

Industrial Design, BS Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, 30 years of design experience, 50 patents and multiple iconic designs.

Vincent’s understanding of design is broad based as he is a student of architecture, a model maker, a talented illustrator and an expert user of multiple design software programs.  He has a deep understanding of human factors and branding aesthetics.  His model making experience has provided a foundation for an understanding of manufacturing processes, especially the production of plastic products.

Director of Product Development and Manufacturing: Richard Riback

Product Design and Manufacturing Engineer, Mechanical Engineering/Computer Science, University of Colorado, 12 patents.

Richard has 30 years of extensive and varied experience in virtually all phases of product development. He has a deep and broad understanding of multiple engineering topics. He is able to develop an understanding of complex and technical engineering challenges and then lead the development of unique, creative, and successful solutions. He has successfully worked to overcome the challenges that accompany the start up of new and/or redesigned manufacturing and assembly processes.

Mechanical Engineer: Alexey Tarelin

BS in Engineering Mechanics and Masters in Mechanical Engineering from National Technical University, also know as “Kharkiv Polytechnical Institute” located in Khakiv, Ukraine.

Alexey is a proven innovator in the product development arena. He brings a diverse set of skills and experience to his innovation work. He performs DFM, DFA, FA, and FEA analysis. He utilizes multiple engineering and design software including Solidworks, Siemens NX, AutoCAD, ANSYS, Matlab, Adobe Suite, Balsamiq, and ERP Visual Job Shop. He is a key contributor in HLB projects that have complicated interdependent mechanical functions and state of the art integrated operating and reporting systems.

Mechanical Engineer: Jeff Benning

BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a minor in Computer Science.

Jeff has in a few years accumulated a broad base of mechanical engineering experiences. He has also become a proficient user of multiple CAD and analysis software as well as multiple programming languages. He has developed smart products and robotic manufacturing lines. He is a key contributor in HLB products that have complicated interdependent mechanical functions and state of the art integrated operating and reporting systems.