Customer Driven Change: Randy Sarsour Selected as GM

A few months ago, Brad Matheson, the president of Priority 1 Air Rescue and a decades-long customer of Lifesaving Systems called me for some help.  When I picked up he said,  “Hey Mario, I’m sorry to bother you.  I know you’re busy.”  I knew I had a problem.  When your job is to talk to customers and one of your most loyal feels they have to apologize for calling, something is wrong. An evaluation of how you are spend your days is in order.  I’ll get back to that, but first I want to clear up something about the relationship between you heroes out there involved in search and rescue and this little factory here in Florida.

About the time I was graduating high school, Lifesaving Systems was outgrowing its founder’s garage and moved into a small building about seven miles from here. The company had taken an order for 1,800 litters and needed a place to build them.  That change allowed for growth and innovations that led to still more customer-driven demand for equipment.  That demand meant expanding the original facility until that, too, was outgrown. When our current building went up in 1993, it was thought that the company would never grow beyond that twenty-thousand square-foot structure. Seven years later they were knocking out the back wall to add another ten.

In the eight years since I’ve worked here, change and growth have been constant.  We’ve created new products at a record pace, updated our technical support and engineering capabilities, and – with the move to Signia Aerospace – brought more people on to the team and improved our manufacturing capabilities.  Just like adding space, these changes have led to others and keeping up has been a daily challenge. 

Another constant in our forty-three year history has been you; the professional rescuers who use what we build to stay alive and to save others.  When I think about all the products and projects that have built Lifesaving Systems, I cannot think of one that wasn’t driven by working directly with rescue teams to solve problems.

Our 402 Medevac litter was driven by a U.S. Navy requirement for a shipboard litter that could be hoisted. The original and upgraded D-LOK gates were designed to solve very specific customer problems; the D-Lok is now the most popular hoist hook in the world. The new Quad-Lok Release was driven by a customer request (thanks, Australia) and now it is at work all over the world with shipments this year set to more than triple those of last two.

The Norwegian Navy’s request for a solution to help protect cabin floors led to the litter skid shoes.  We built them.  They needed about 20 sets. We’ve sold over 2,000 and they are now standard on all LSC Medevac II litters and our collapsible rescue basket.  Litter rail pads, magnetic couplers for slings, strobe lights, harnesses and wander-leads, all driven by you, made by us, and out in the world having an impact.  Today, we are proud to  work again with our training partner at Priority 1 (that’s why Brad was calling) to finalize designs on several new products that we know will help rescue operations worldwide.

You need things to do your mission; it is our mission to provide them.

That is the code that built this place.  It is that code that brought me here eight years ago.  And, in the service of that idea, I have to leave. Being too busy to help the reason we exist in the first place cannot continue.

With the increasing demand and ever-growing requests to develop new equipment, a choice had to be made.  Someone must tend to the day-to-day operations of our manufacturing facility and lead our team here, and someone has to focus on you, the equipment you use, and the new equipment your missions will demand.  Lifesaving Systems needs a general manager, and it needs a product manager to work with customers around the world to solve problems.  The choice I made was as obvious as it was selfish. I needed to get myself a new boss.

This morning, Randy Sarsour has taken up the helm at Lifesaving Systems as our new GM.  After an exhaustive search for the right person, the team at Signia Aerospace gave us a list of potential leaders. We unanimously settled on Mr. Sarsour as the perfect fit to take over my role as General Manager.  Trust me; we’re getting an upgrade. He will apply his extensive experience and abilities to lead Lifesaving Systems through the growth to come.  With his significant support, I’m now free to get out there and pay attention to the other half of our team; you, our lifesaving customers.

Today, I’ve taken on the role of Global Product Manager and will be getting back to the mission I came here for in the first place; to find out what you need, to help our team design and develop it, and to support you in your operations that require the equipment we manufacture.  The operation is in very capable hands, and I’ll stay focused on you and the gear you need.

And Brad? Call whenever you’d like. I’ll have all the time in the world.

Picture of Randy Sarsour

Randy Sarsour

Randy is the General Manager of Lifesaving Systems. He recently led the business operations of a team of ninety manufacturing professionals at Collins Aerospace on their Integrated Connectivity Solutions product line. Prior to that, Randy has led operations, manufacturing process improvement, and engineering initiatives over a decade. He earned his Masters of Business Administration from the University of South Florida in 2021.

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