For increasing numbers of individuals involved in Homeland Security, law enforcement, search and rescue, first responders, U.S. Military, Coast Guard, offshore oil and gas, and commercial fishing, the first company they think of for survival gear is Mustang Survival.

Mustang Survival's group of companies has a manufacturing facility in Elizabeth, Wirt County, WV.

One of the definitions of survival is "enduring in spite of adversity". At a time when most manufacturing business has gone overseas, Mustang Survival has managed to thrive and continue to produce a quality product made in the United States. With 121 employees, they are now Wirt County's largest private employer.

A small company, Wirt Inflatables, founded in 1978, produced inflatable rubber products at the site, until their purchase in 1999 by Mustang Survival. They have worked to expand and improve their product lines. Some current products they manufacture include anti-gravity suits for fighter aircraft pilots, various inflatables for the U.S. Navy and Marines, flight deck vests and inflatables for aircraft carrier deck crews, swift water rescue dry suits, and flotation vests for the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and search and rescue organizations.

In order to remain competitive in today's market, new and faster equipment was needed to increase productivity. Much of the equipment utilized by the company had been in service for many years.

How Rural Development Helped

Mustang Survival applied for and received a $250,000 loan to purchase new equipment from Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council's revolving loan funds. MOVRC operates the largest Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) in the State and has just received an additional $750,000 from USDA-Rural Development to relend to eligible businesses.

The Results

Mustang Survival purchased the equipment, including a new Gerber Automatic Cutting machine. The computerized machine greatly reduced the amount of time needed to cut the special fabric for survival gear.

The outlook is rosy for the company, as they continue to focus on manufacturing high quality U.S. made products, while providing sustainable employment in rural Wirt County, WV.

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