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Who’s behind the tools at HURST Jaws of Life®? It’s people who love a good story, like Chris Jaques. As the president and general manager, Chris is tasked with listening to employees, dealers and first responders to lead the company that makes the one and only, HURST Jaws of Life.

“I like stories that are straight and honest; I see it most at FDIC where we can spend all week talking to firefighters and first responders about their hands-on experiences,” said Jaques, just back from this year’s annual event in Indianapolis. “We get the best kind of grounds-up intel on what first responders want next in their tools. And then I get to help align the resources that allow HURST to deliver these solutions – all the way from the need at the end user level to seeing a product coming off a line.”

From product concept to production, Chris has scaled both sides of the spectrum during his career. A Metro Detroit native, Chris earned his bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Western Michigan University. He was a product engineer for 10 years for HURST sister company, Gast Manufacturing, before moving into product management and operations with Gast and JUN-AIR. He soon traded in scenic Lake Michigan for the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to become the general manager of HURST Jaws of Life. Headquartered in Shelby, N.C., HURST serves North, South and Central America, Mexico, Canada and beyond. Chris was named president of IDEX Rescue two years ago to oversee the full family of brands that serves first responders across the world.

Chris says that in his 20 years with the company, he’s seen a recurring theme: passion.

“We’ve got passion all around us,” he said. “From our leadership and fantastic dealer network to the firefighters who dedicate their lives to saving others. You can’t find that level of passion in just any industry.

Outside of the HURST Jaws of Life walls, Chris is passionate about creating his own story and spending time with family. His wife and two sons have grown to love the Carolinas and the community they now call home. A cyclist, it’s nothing for Chris to take a 20-mile ride on his road bicycle or 10 rugged miles on his mountain bike on the nearby trails that are plentiful around HURST’s HQ.

“We’re all in this for one reason: to build the best rescue tools in the industry,” Jaques said. “To make a product that can save a life? That’s an incredible experience.”