Navy SEAL putting skills to work in private sector

MINGO JUNCTION – A retired Navy SEAL is putting his skills to work now in the private sector, teaching workers to follow the same sort of safety protocols that kept him safe during a 21-year military career that often found him in dangerous situations behind enemy lines.

Frank Hoagland launched his business, S.T.A.R.T. LLC – it stands for Special Tactics and Rescue Training – in 2003. Two years later he started getting some government contracts, but it wasn’t until 2010, after his last deployment with the CIA, that he was able to focus on growing his business.

“From 2003 to 2011, I was averaging over 200 days a year overseas,” he said, “so it was awfully hard getting a business off the ground.”

Now that he can devote his full attention to it, however, that’s changing.

“What we want to do is to make sure we get Ohioans to work,” he said. “It’s people helping people. If we can help people get jobs, that’s a big win for all of Ohio.”

S.T.A.R.T. is located at 797 Cool Springs Road, Mingo Junction, a remote location which affords Hoagland and his staff ample room to carry out their training and testing activities without inconveniencing neighbors.

“I had a program manager ask me what I know about safety,” said Hoagland, who spent 19 of his 21 years in the Navy as a SEAL. “I told him I couldn’t jump out of an airplane at 30,000 feet or launch from a torpedo tube out of a submarine two atmospheres below the water line without knowing something about safety.”

He offers everything from avatar training to concealed weapons classes and also does product research, development, testing and evaluation.

Hoagland and his safety instructor, Ed Dudzik, conduct SafeLand and SafeGulf training as well as the more all-encompassing OSHA 10 safety training. They’ve taught roustabout classes in Eastern Gateway Community College’s ShaleNET program.

They also teach workers how to identify hazardous items and teach safety in the workplace, pre-job hazard analysis, communications, assessments and equipment needs.

They also offer training in job safety analysis; incident/accident prevention; hand safety/hands free devices; personal protection equipment; material handling and use of powered industrial equipment, including forklifts; confined space and communications training; confined space rescues; fall protection, and hazard communications; electrical safety; ingress-egress, fire protection and prevention and evacuation techniques; industrial hygiene and toxicology, blood borne pathogens, hearing protection, respirator protection, environmental incident handling; hot work permit; walking working surfaces; excavation equipment; safety attitudes; and developing best practices.

Recently they evaluated the effectiveness of transparent armor, a bullet proof glass intended to protect troops. They also tested a paint replacement technology that’s in development and they’ve flown Unmanned Aerial Vehicles on many occasions.

“I actually used everything, except the PRT, overseas,” he said.

They’re also doing business with a key player in Eastern Ohio’s shale oil and gas business.

“We’re doing safety orientation for them,” he said. “We cover rules, signage, emergency procedures … all of the safety rules (the industry insists its workers follow).”

Recently he and Dudzik pitched an idea for another, hands-on oil training opportunity with life-saving potential to the Kasich administration, and early indications are it was well received. For the time being, though, he can’t say much about the program except to say it’s different than anything they’re doing now.

“I understand training, and how training can save lives,” he added. “But you have to get the right training.”