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Toledo-based Seavival gets traction with patented first-responder kit

"Be prepared."

That's what Seavival tells its customers. And, in a tough economy, it's a lesson the Toledo-based emergency equipment company has learned for itself.

The company has developed a patented first-response kit that has attracted quite the attention. If a contract with the U.S. military is approved, it could mean an additional 100 jobs for Northwest Ohio.

It's been slow road to success, says Seavival CEO Brian Friedman. He has dedicated more than 40 years to emergency medical kits, starting while in high school as a hospital volunteer in Miami, Fla.

Today, the company is on the brink of massive growth. "(The military contract) could be a potentially big thing for us," he says.

There's good reason for Friedman's enthusiasm. The company's staple product, The Professional, can hold up to 1,800 cubic inches and can be mounted on a vehicle (including a motorcycle) or used as a backpack. He says there's a big demand for such a product. The other portion of Seavival's business is selling the systems, or the contents of the emergency medical kits.

The five-year-old company currently employs only a few, but more positions may be added. Soon.

Seavival is now working with the Toledo Fire Department for testing and validation, Friedman says, adding that in addition to the military, customers might include marine and industrial organizations, as well as fire and rescue operations.

The company received some marketing and strategic assistance from the Regional Growth Partnership. Seavival has also recently partnered with the University of Toledo technology innovation group. The company also works with the international division of the Ohio Department of Development, seeking a customer base abroad.

"But we could use a lot more help," Friedman says. "Small companies like our ours are totally incapable of maintaining the cost of marketing for an international effort without help from the state."

Source: Brian Friedman
Writer: Colin McEwen

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