Carson Lev

CEO & President

Growing up in Southern California, Carson Lev was immersed in hot rod car culture at an early age. His friends and schoolmates were the children of race car owners, builders and drivers. His early teenage years were spent hanging out at Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s customizing shop and the studio of automotive artist Kenny Youngblood. Through the early influence of “Big Daddy” and “Blood”, a passion for hot rods, car design, illustration, pin-striping and lettering was nurtured and encouraged. As his automotive passion grew, so did Carson’s foundation of friends and contacts in the Hot Rod Community, resulting in many life-long friendships. Through High School and College he continued to build hot rods, letter race cars, attend car shows and races of some kind nearly every weekend.

Graduating in 1977 from California State University at Long Beach, with a degree in Industrial Design, Carson pursued a career in Biomedical Product Development but still managed to stay active in the automotive field. His strong interest in car culture and Automotive Design resulted in his taking a break from the Medical Product Development field to work for Dick Cepek Off Road, as the Director of Product Development, Marketing and Advertising. He also began consulting on numerous automotive aftermarket projects.

Carson combined his interest in computer technology and design by founding Compression Engineering, an Advanced Product Development and Design Firm in 1994. Located in Orange County, California, projects were completed for Medical Product Manufacturers, and Automotive Design and Manufacturing clients utilizing state-of-the-art computer technologies. Suddenly, all the old friends in the Hot Rod community were becoming customers. An experimental project with Boyd’s Wheels and noted designer Chip Foose, led to a new computer based machining process to produce custom billet wheels. It also resulted in Chip and Carson becoming close friends.

Through Compression Engineering Carson began his first association with Mattel Inc., successfully completing projects for the Hot Wheels division. A deal was struck to bring Carson to Mattel, where he successfully served as Director of Engineering, Director of Design and ultimately Director of Hot Wheels Licensing, where he achieved first-year milestone sales in excess $4 million. As Director of Design Hot Wheels, Carson was responsible for the successful growth of the Hot Wheels Racing and Collector product lines, the creation of the Hot Wheels Licensed Automotive Program, the Hot Wheels Exhibit at the legendary Petersen Automotive Museum and the 35th Annual Hot Wheels Hall of Fame Event hosted by Jay Leno. Additionally, Carson managed the construction of the full scale Twin Mill and the Deora II, the only Hot Wheels toys to be turned into fully functioning full-scale vehicles.

In April 2005, Carson left Mattel after ten years of service to work with licensing giant Equity Management, Inc. as Senior Vice President / General Manager. He was responsible for the company’s General Motors Licensing programs, including Service Parts Organization and Accessories. He also directed EMI’s expanding die-cast program, chairing a new committee to provide strategic planning and vision for the company’s die-cast operations. However, with the rapid rise of Chip Foose, now starring weekly on TLC’s hit show “Overhaulin’,” Carson felt the time had come to start his own licensing agency. Redphin Productions, LLC was created as the exclusive Licensing Firm for Foose Design, Inc. and has since added Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, Troy Sumitomo of Five Axis and Mike Lavalle of Killer Paint to their expanding roster of clients. Lev’s unique combination of management experience and extensive real world, practical knowledge of the car
hobby give him a unique perspective on the current state of the licensing industry.

Carson has hosted and been a featured guest on numerous hot rod and automotive related television and radio programs. He was also inducted into the Die-cast Hall of Fame in 2008.