at the wheel of the vehicle that's advertised to be "like nothing else"-the Hummer.
"I bought one of the first that rolled off the assembly line," Loccisano says. He's not exaggerating. After getting interested in the automotive world thanks to mechanical engineering projects at Lehigh, the then-sophomore launched a lucrative business customizing early Hummer models for celebrity clients, including multimillionaire executives and at least one A-list Hollywood star.
"I had a classic case of adult ADD, self-diagnosed," Loccisano says.
Operating from his bedroom with virtually zero overhead, Loccisano quickly established himself in the very limited market that existed. It wasn't long before Arnold Schwarzenegger, another early Hummer owner, came calling, asking about air-conditioning. An executive at Microsoft wanted to add a CD player. Loccisano's response was, "Sure, I can do that."
Aided by access to technology, people, and professors at Lehigh, Loccisano's business grew right along with the popularity of Hummers, which love 'em or hate 'em, were making a big splash as the attention-grabbing, gas-guzzling SUV of choice.
Clients would ask if he worked with Lehigh, and he'd laugh and say, "Not really; I pay tuition there." After graduating, Loccisano turned down a number of "neat" jobs to stick with the business, and went on to do work with Porsche, GM, Ford and American General, the manufacturer of Hummers.
He amassed a fleet of 20 trucks, which he leased to companies operating around the globe, including in rough-and-tumble spots like the oil fields of the Middle East. Requests poured in for outfitting the vehicles with everything from stereo systems to armor plating. His only competitor was the company that furnished Presidential limousines.
In 1998, he started law school on a whim after talking to some Lehigh friends. By 2001, law degree in hand, he was ready for a change. He decided to sell the business and give a legal career a shot. After a few years at a Boston law firm, he signed on with Schlumberger, the multinational engineering company, in 2005 as an intellectual property attorney.
"When I was interviewing for positions in law firms and companies, I was told 'You're pretty sociable for an engineer.' A big part of that I attribute to Lehigh," Loccisano says, "and the social setting that sits on top of a serious engineering program."
While Loccisano's weekdays are now spent hunched over patent filings and business contracts, he hasn't lost his love for cars. "If nothing else, my Lehigh engineering degree gets a workout designing and building race car parts during the off season," he says.Young Alumni Council member Mark Malseed '97 contributed this article, which appeared in the April 2007 Young Alumni Newsletter
Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007