JACKSONVILLE - Mustang Survival, Wirt County's largest private employer, has been acquired from its parent company by a Jacksonville, Fla., group.
The Safariland Group announced the acquisition of Mustang Survival Monday evening on its company website.
"We are excited to be bringing together two companies that are both committed to saving lives as a part of their core mission," Scott O'Brien, president of The Safariland Group, stated in a press release. "Mustang Survival's history of lifesaving marine and aviation equipment has presented unique growth opportunities for our company, especially as we aim to broaden our suite of products that help save lives."
During a 2012 visit to Mustang Survival’s plant in Elizabeth, company president Jim Hartt, left, and RF Lead Eddie Waganman look over some of the products being worked on in the company’s Radio Frequency Welding Room in Elizabeth. Mustang Survival was purchased this week by The Safariland Group, from Jacksonville, Fla. (File Photo)
Safariland Group, a leading manufacturer of protective products and equipment primarily for law enforcement and the military, has acquired Mustang Survival and its related entities, according to a company press release.
Mustang Survival is the North American market leader in lifesaving equipment for recreational, military, law enforcement and industrial users in the marine and aviation environments.
Mustang Survival is a Canada-based company that also operates facilities in British Columbia and Washington. The company moved into Wirt County in 1999 when it purchased Wirt Inflatable, which started in 1978.
It's too early to say how the changes will impact Mustang's facilities in Elizabeth and Spencer, but company officials are optimistic, Geoff Grover, vice president of business development, said Tuesday from Mustang's head office in Vancouver.
Mustang officials are excited about the acquisition because Safariland is focused on growth, Grover said. Mustang has been a family-owned business for many years, and while that has many positives, the acquisition by Safariland will provide more security for the future, he said.
Mark Whitley, executive director of the Jackson/Roane County Development Authority, said Roane County officials and Little Kanawha Area Development Corporation had been working with The Safariland Group for months as it was in the process of acquiring Mustang Survival. The work left Whitley excited by the acquisition.
"We learned much about Safariland and are optimistic about the diversity of products they offer and the future opportunities for the Wirt and Roane County facilities. Local management also expressed to us their excitement about future opportunities with Safariland Group," Whitley said.
For more than 45 years, Mustang Survival has been transforming innovative ideas and technologies into high-quality and practical lifesaving products, such as inflatable personal flotation devices, flotation clothing, dry suits, anti-g suits and a wide range of products to protect serious users in extreme environments.
Many products created for military use, security and rescue, professional and recreation are put together at the Elizabeth facility, formerly known as Wirt Inflatable Specialists, along West Virginia 14 and at the facility in the former Goodrich Building in Spencer.
Mustang is Wirt County's largest private employer. The Elizabeth facility employs around 100 people, while the Spencer facility employs around 60.
Mustang President Jim Hartt, who will continue in his current role, commented, "Joining forces with The Safariland Group represents an important step in the global expansion of the Mustang Survival brand. We expect to leverage their resources to further drive our innovation in new product development and to take our products to a new level of performance as we expand the reach of our safety equipment to new customers, markets and applications."