View all articles

Who’s behind the tools at HURST Jaws of Life? It’s guys like Rodney Porter, who says for him, it’s all about family.

“This right here is like working with family,” he says as he gestures around HURST’s Shelby, N.C., manufacturing facility. “If my friend needs help, I leave this project and go help him, and vice versa.”

Each person who walks by yells hello to Rodney, who shouts a greeting back from where he’s working in the machining area. As he talks he’s deburring small metal pieces from the cylinders whose shape will be critical in the making of eDRAULIC tools.

“I’m not a perfectionist. I just really want to do the best I can,” he says as he takes another look at the work he’s just done.

One of 16 children, Rodney was born and raised in West Virginia and moved to North Carolina to work with HURST Jaws of Life 30 years ago. After two years, he moved back to the Midwest for a few years before coming back to the Carolinas, and back to the place where he first found his work family. For nearly three decades, he’s called HURST and North Carolina home.

He isn’t short of travel destinations; he has a daughter just across the state border in South Carolina and another in Hawaii, while his son lives in Utah. His anchor, though, is his wife. “I am nothing without my wife,” he said. “Family is what I’m all about.”