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Who’s behind the tools at HURST Jaws of Life? It’s machinists like Vance Shannon, who is carrying on a family tradition with both his choice of work and his past-time interests.

“My dad and grandpa were both machinists, so I’m sort of following in their footsteps,” said Vance, who came to HURST Jaws of Life last spring from Pioneer Motor Bearing. Vance is intrigued by how things work, and he’s pursuing a degree in programming and design so he can one day design the parts he’s making.

With work during the day and classes in the evening, Vance dedicates his late afternoons to his one-year-old daughter – and trying to keep up with her. “She’s pulling up and ready to walk. You can’t take your eyes off her,” said Vance, with no complaint for his daughter’s daring trials at standing independently.

Vance likes daring activities himself, at least as a spectator. He’s a drag racing fan.

“My dad has taken me to the drag strip since I was a kid, and I still love to go,” he said. “I love the speed and the noise. It’s a great time.”

Speed is a recurring theme in Vance’s story, as the parts he is machining ensure HURST Jaws of Life rescue tools bring speed and power to first responders who use them in the field. Vance is enjoying his new home at HURST and says he’s impressed by the equipment at the Shelby, N.C., plant. “We’re getting new machinery all the time, and it really helps us do our jobs better,” he said.

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