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Charles Thomas is no stranger to the important role manufacturing plays in bringing together engineering ideas with performance products.  He worked for Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, for nearly 30 years before seeking a career change.

“I wanted a team atmosphere,” he said, drawn to the reputation and size of Shelby, N.C.-based HURST Jaws of Life.

“Jaws of Life is kind of like Kleenex; it’s known everywhere,” he said of the company he joined 18 months ago as supervisor in the manufacturing facility. “I like that it saves lives, and these are good folks making it. From the engineering department and throughout, these are great folks. It’s a close knit team.”

Charles oversees the machinists that create and shape parts such as cylinders and pumps that next go to the facility’s assembly line, where they’re built into tools including the HURST Jaws of Life S700 E2 Cutter, a battery-powered cutter that lets first responders make mincemeat of the high strength steels on today’s passenger cars. 
 
Teamwork is a way of life for Charles. He coached sports teams for his three children and has always been a sports fan, from youth sports to his favorite college team, Alabama.

“I only pick the winners,” he laughs, then looking around the HURST Jaws of Life manufacturing facility at his co-workers and the tools they’re making, gives a little nod, as if to reaffirm that once again, he has picked a winner.