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Background Information

Employment History

Designer and Owner
Los Labs Automotive Firm Inc

Electronic Engineering Technology Student
Purdue University


Los Labs Automotive Firm Inc



Purdue University

Web References (15 Total References)

INK – Information, News, Knowledge about African Americans and the Black Community :

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LOS Labs Automotive Firm's Carlos Hickman sets an example for young and old alike

INK – Black community news for and about African Americans in Indiana and the Midwest :

inknewspaper.com [cached]

LOS Labs Automotive Firm's Carlos Hickman sets an example for young and old alike [Read more of this story] Read More →

Installer Central

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"The Spectrum line is for shops who want to offer the custom look and fit of fiberglass in a high percentage of SUVs but don't want to take the time and expense of creating them from scratch," said Carlos Hickman, designer and owner of Los Labs.

Black community news – LOS Labs Automotive Firm’s Carlos Hickman :

inknewspaper.com [cached]

LOS Labs Automotive Firm's Carlos Hickman sets an example for young and old alike

Carlos Hickman, founder of LOS Labs Automotive Firm
Carlos Hickman, owner and founder of LOS Labs Automotive Firm, is a study in contradictions. Even his location is a clash of opposites.
"We try to develop new trends and styles here," Hickman says.
I do not," Hickman explains. "Most people work to live. I live to work."
Hickman's personal drive and philosophy, and the life experiences that molded them, are what make him a worthy role model for young people, as well as for other entrepreneurs of any age. The 30-something Hickman is especially interested in being a positive example to the many young Black males who see crime, rap music or sports as their only avenues to financial success.
"You don't have to do the 'streets, beats or cleats thing'," Hickman says.
As a teen, Hickman found social life to be yet another challenge. "Girls back then liked the guy who was the athlete, the street hustler or the guy who was great with music. I was never one of those guys," Hickman says. "I wasn't hip. I didn't have money, so I didn't have great clothes. I didn't have a car. It was a lot of 'didn't haves.'"
All those early challenges made Hickman determined to succeed through hard work. After graduating from Northrop High School, he attended Purdue University where he majored in electrical engineering. For a time, he worked for defense contractor Lockheed Martin, and in August of 2001, Hickman was prepared to leave the Midwest for a job in Seattle with airplane manufacturer Boeing.
However, one month later, Hickman's plans changed forever. On September 11, 2001, the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil shook the nation. While the entire economy was in shambles, the airline industry was particularly devastated. The Boeing job was now questionable at best. In the meantime, Hickman decided to try to make a living out of something that had previously been mainly a hobby.
"I'd been doing automotive installs on the side for years," Hickman says. "I always had a love and a passion for it."
Hickman flashes a broad smile and a hint of embarrassment when he recalls his first auto assignment: at age 15, he talked his sister into letting him work on her car stereo.
After a short time working primarily on commission, Hickman decided his skills could be put to better use working on his own. Combining his education, experience and an $800 loan for tools and rented garage space, Hickman went out on his own.
"I didn't want to be the guy who showed up to work one day to find out that his job had been outsourced to Asia. I wanted to control my own destiny," he explains. "If I was going to fail, it was going to be at my own hand."
With no actual experience running a business and no formal business plan, Hickman hit the road - literally. If he saw a car on the street that looked like it could use his skills, he'd approach the owner.
"I would actually run up to people in the middle of the intersection to try to convince them that I was the guy to fix up their stereo. If the driver was young and looked like someone who took an interest in their car, I would go talk to them. Hickman recalls.
Using his college connections, positive word-of-mouth, submissions of his work to national auto magazines, and meticulously building relationships with manufacturers, vendors and suppliers, Hickman grew his business from a drive-by sales pitch to an award winning company employing about eight installers.
Although Hickman is currently focused on growing his business, he does envision getting married and raising children someday. At present, his custom automotive work provides a stimulating creative outlet for him. In addition, he is putting the finishing touches on a book of poetry and other writings. While Hickman definitely has his serious side, he also has a quirky sense of humor. In fact, he even got up the nerve to perform as a stand-up comic while attending college. "I don't have enough sense to be scared," he chuckles.
Hickman believes success in business demands a suspension of fear and a commitment to give it your all.
"You need to be fanatical about it," Hickman advises.

Los Labs: About Us - Articles & Publications

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What begas as a hobby for 15-year old Carlos Hickman has, years later, been demonstrated with much certainty and validity at Fort Wayne, IN, shop Los Labs Automotive Firm. No, not the last three letters of his first name, and no, not an affiliation with any city beginning with the previx. "Los", meaning Logic Operating Systems, is a term that Hickman created to describe the art of building unique circuitry for OEM integration electronics.

Carlos Hickman, Founder / Owner / Lead Installer of LOS (Logic Operating Systems) Labs Automotive Firm in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has created the prototype for a conversion kit that he designed for use in various model years of the Dodge Dakota and Dodge Durango.
Hickman, also an electronic engineering technology student at Purdue University, caught the attention of Bob Sheaves, CEO of catNET, an engineering consultation company hired by an auto manufacturer. Sheaves had heard about the work that Hickman was doing at LOS Labs and came to him with a lucrative business proposition. Click here for full article...
Carlos Hickman of Los Labs recently transformed this vehicle into a showstopper by remolding and reassembling the entire center dash (which alone took a month), separating and relocating the climate control components, fabricating custom fiberglass kick panels for the dashboard to house a 6.5-inch widescreen LCD, relining the interior in blue suede, and glassing the entire trunk to house two JL Audio 12W7 subwoofers, 2 1000/1 JL amps, a Sharp Aquos 10-inch LCD screen, and 2 JL Audio TR535-CXi 5.25-inch coaxials. Click here for full article...

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