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Who’s behind the tools at HURST Jaws of Life? It’s people like Manufacturing Engineer Kaleb Taylor. When he turns to check on his equipment, the bold writing across the back of his bright blue t-shirt catches the eye: HURST Machining, Heavy Metal Heroes.

The heroes in this story are many: the people – like Kaleb – who make the tools, the first responders who use them, and, well, the tools themselves. “We’re not making widgets,” says Kaleb, who joined the Shelby, N.C., company about five years ago.

Kaleb didn’t know what he wanted to do for a career, but he was intrigued by the drafting classes he took in college and he’d always liked to build things. So today he stands behind his work station, contributing those skills and that interest to the team who conscientiously builds the tools that will help first responders save lives.

At home, he spends a lot of his time standing behind the sidelines, cheering on his son and daughter in football, baseball, cheerleading and t-ball. The rest of the time, he’s sitting. Sort of. He likes to race dirt bikes, and he’s claimed several Top 5 finishes. The biggest finish, though, is when he sees a HURST Jaws of Life tool that he helped make cross into the shipping department. “I get to see the tools from start to finish,” he says. “It’s great to watch it come to life."

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