Ricky Bolin, photographed by Sean Berry

Business

I Can’t Stop Thinking About Ricky Bolin’s License Plate

As a teenager, the current general manager of Hatco (which produces Stetson) had the plate “HA T750." That’s wild.

I’m not sure if I believe in karma or soulmates. But I do believe in fate. There are too many cool stories. Take one shared by Ricky Bolin, general manager of Garland-based Hatco Inc., which produces a million hats a year for brands such as Resistol, Charlie 1 Horse, and—arguably the most famous hat in the world—Stetson. When he was just 15 years old, he bought a used car off of a friend that came with the license plate “HA T750.” “It was a direction. It had to be,” says Bolin.

This was one of the many anecdotes Bolin told me while we sat together in his office, which overlooks Hatco’s sprawling factory floor and the nearly 270 employees handcrafting hundreds of brims, crowns, and liners. You can read all about them in D CEO’s May issue feature, published online today, but the plate story is the one that stuck with me.

Anytime I see a word clearly spelled on a license plate, I think about Bolin. I also think about the plate’s owner. Is the person behind the wheel of that Honda Civic with the license plate “AR T379” destined to be the greatest artist of generation? (Or at least an artist of some generation?) Does the car emblazoned with the word “NE T” hold a future Dirk Nowitzki? I don’t worry myself too much about the plates that say “BOYTOY” or “ZMBIES.”

Whether or not you believe every step you take or car you drive is a part of some greater life journey, Bolin does (at least when it comes to that one specific instance), and he’s currently making innovative moves to help Hatco become a leader in the industry once again. HTSOFF2HM.

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