Survival Systems USA, Inc. (SSUSA) was incorporated in 1998 and is headquartered in Groton, Connecticut. Currently, the Corporate Headquarters is co-located with the Groton Training Center. SSUSA has grown from a 2-person operation, with annual revenues of less than $250,000 to a corporation that employs approximately 30 personnel, spread across 3 locations and operating internationally. Annual revenues in 2009 were in excess of $10 million and are expected to exceed $11 million in 2010. Company initiatives continue in all areas - equipment, training, remote training, maintenance, contracting, and client support.
Initial SSUSA contracts came from the US Air Force and US Army in 1999, when these services contracted directly with SSUSA for equipment leasing services at Fairchild AFB and Camp Humphreys, Korea. Since those initial military contracts, SSUSA growth has continued in both the military and civilian training markets with both equipment and training services. SSUSA's former parent company is Survival Systems Holding, Ltd. (SSHL) with a 28 year history of simulator manufacturing for international customers under the Survival Systems Limited (SSL) brand. SSUSA continues the relationship today, acting as the primary agent for US military acquisitions of SSL equipment.
Military growth skyrocketed starting in 2002 when the US Navy committed to a lease/purchase arrangement for 3 Modular Egress Training Simulators (METS™) and overhead lifting systems. In 2003, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) contracted with SSUSA for the Modular Amphibious Egress Trainer (MAET) and corresponding training services. Through this contracting effort, SSUSA delivered four MAETs and eight Shallow Water Egress Trainer (SWET) chairs; developed 100% of the Programs of Instruction (POIs); and hired/trained 100% of the staff at all locations - in excess of 40 personnel. Contracted for in April 2002, the MAET and SWET programs commenced in August at all four locations and continue today, staffed and operated 100% by SSUSA personnel. 2003 also saw the expansion of the SSUSA footprint into Army Aviation; SSUSA began training services for the US Army Aviation Training Program at Fort Rucker, AL. As in the USMC contract, SSUSA developed and implemented all of the POIs at that location - these POIs were subsequently accepted into the Army's ASAT system for use at remote locations by Army personnel.
In 2009, the USMC requested a Submerged Vehicle Egress Trainer (SVET) to be added at the Okinawa Training Facility and training for underwater escape from vehicles began at that facility. In 2008, USSOCOM contracted with SSUSA for the acquisition of 2 METS™, a SmartJib™, and the environmental suite of equipment that would allow their training facility to become the first military facility in the world to be able to replicate all of the environmental conditions which could be faced by aviators in a ditching scenario (wind, waves, rain, day/night, thunder/lightning). This facility is currently staffed by SSUSA personnel.
Commercial growth continued at GTC with 2008 marking the 10th year in operation of that facility. GTC offers multiple POIs to include, but not limited to Aircraft Ditching, Emergency Breathing Devices, Sea Survival, Land Survival, and General Emergency Duties. Clients at this facility now include the New York Police Department, Pfizer, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation along with active duty military. GTC offers training utilizing the wide body METS™ Model 40 and can replicate in excess of 45 different aircraft - both fixed wing and rotary. GTC personnel provide surge operations support at all SSUSA facilities worldwide.
GTC sponsors the Mobile Training Team (MTT) - accommodating SWET training at client locations around the world. MTT is currently the approved water survival provider for the Airborne Law Enforcement Association and the Helicopter Association International. Additional ongoing MTT courses include those for the Army National Guard, Reserves, and other active duty military organizations. Additional expansion from GTC training occurred in 2007 when Shell Exploration & Production Company (SEPCO) contracted with SSUSA for a METS™ Model 5, SWET, lifting system, and corresponding training services for Kenai, Alaska. Through this contracting effort, SSUSA developed 100% of the POIs specific to the cold weather environment of Alaska. Other commercial POIs, such as those offered at GTC, are also available at the Kenai Training Center (KTC). In 2009, SEPCO and SSUSA finalized the donation of the METS™ to the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA). CLCA, in conjunction with SSUSA, now offers training year round to any entity in AK requiring Cold Environs Survival Training. Staffing encompasses AK residents, along with SSUSA personnel, on a rotation basis.
Military sales continued at a steady pace and by June of 2009, SSUSA was conducting business at all eight US Navy Aviation Survival Training Centers, four Marine Corps locations, Fairchild Air Force Base, and for USSOCOM at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The equipment and training services at Fort Campbell marked the company's growth into the newest field of underwater escape training - high-fidelity, full environmental situational training - complete with 6' waves, 100 mph wind, rain, lightning, thunder and other effects. Personnel at this location are deployable and can respond to identified US Army needs at any location worldwide.
Throughout the growth of the firm and its various programs, SSUSA has maintained its focus on the corporate purpose - "to enhance and preserve lives." At all locations, regardless of the POI, SSUSA maintains, and often exceeds, a 90% completion rate, with an injury rate of less than 0.1%. In programs that are often considered high risk, and in programs which have an inherent risk of drowning or compressed air injuries, SSUSA has had ZERO fatalities and ZERO compressed air injuries. Completion statistics include swimmers and non-swimmers as SSUSA's programs of instruction are egress-centric, not swim-centric. Our instructional methodologies have proven successful with swimmers and non-swimmers alike.
In 2008, SSUSA established itself as a small, female-owned, minority-owned business when its President, Maria C. Hanna, purchased the majority shares of the company. Ms. Hanna has been with the company since it began operations in the US and has been the primary point of contact for all US Government contracting. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University, and in addition to her corporate responsibilities, is also current in all operational positions within the company. Her personal value system mirrors the corporate core belief that SSUSA personnel are the foundation of the company's success; subsequently, in 2009, the remaining shares of SSUSA were converted to the company's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) - with all SSUSA personnel benefiting. Today, SSUSA continues in its growth and development of new programs. The latest effort involves the US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Facility procurement, which has just recently closed, with SSUSA as a member of the successful winning team. The project has an expected completion in 2011.
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