What It's Like to Make a Product That Saves Lives

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Meet Julie Berscheit -- and find out what makes her so proud to work for Stearns

Julie Berscheit wasn't certain how long she would stay in her role when she first took a job as a seamstress at a Stearns Facility in Sauk Rapids, Minn.

"Back then we only worked six months and then had six months off and I'm thinking, 'Oh, I really like this, I'll just try this for another year.'"

She has been there for 39 years.

Julie notes the facility makes "a variety of life jackets here for boating, skiing, the military and the Coast Guard" and she knows how essential what they make is as a vital piece of safety equipment.

Just knowing the product you're working on will probably save somebody's life down the road somewhere, I'm just proud to be involved.

Watch the video below to learn what makes her heart skip when she ponders it, what her day is like and why she treasures the people she works with.

Makers Series - Stearns

About Stearns

William P. Hilger started what would become Stearns, Inc. among the lakes and plains of central Minnesota. His first successful product was an electrically powered windshield heater that was a big hit in the colder climates of central Minnesota in the late 1920's, and eventually was a must-have product for cars from California to Maine. The company changed hands after World War II and became Stearns Manufacturing Company. The heating systems in cars had matured to the point where, anymore, the idea of needing a frost shield was old-fashioned. The business then turned towards the future: Plastics.

In the ensuing decades, Stearns would manufacture high quality outdoor products such as life jackets, water ski belts, and plastic boat interiors. Federal law changes in 1971 allowed companies to actually design a better looking Type III PFD that didn't have to be a bulky orange block. This was the starter's gun in a race towards ownership of the designed PFD market; a race that Stearns would easily win. In 2008, Coleman added to its family of brands the distinct quality of Stearns products, the most recognized player in the life jacket business. It’s a natural fit.

Many of your favorite Stearns® products are designed, made and assembled in the US. Stearns®, a subsidiary of The Coleman Company, Inc., is investing millions of dollars into the Sauk Rapids, MN facility where these world-class products are designed, tested and made to higher standards. It's just one more way we bring quality, safety and innovation to the water.

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