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Business Pulse - Local company a breath of fresh air
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Precision Engineering has designed, fabricated and manufactured a portable ventilator to help patients in respiratory distress. The piece of medical equipment can be used in a hospital setting or in the field. Pictured, from left, are Precision Engineering owner Jamey Hyder, engineering manager Dustin Cannon, and marketing director Kyle Ward.

There’s been a collective yelp of happiness across America over the past week as our bank accounts suddenly jumped to higher levels thanks to the coronavirus stimulus package.

The crowds at Walmart reflect the fact folks just can’t wait to spend the extra cash in their pockets.

In an interesting story, my oldest son had been trying to sell a piece of car stereo equipment for several months. He’d received little interest and his powerful sub-woofer had been consuming valuable floor space at our house -- to the point it had become part of the décor.

But a miraculous thing happened Wednesday afternoon. With America’s collective bank account suddenly as fat as a buffet table, Benjamin received a flood of offers for his sub-woofer and he promptly sold it on Thursday. 

What this means is a guy who will probably be crying about paying his rent two months from now and begging for another liberal government handout has just bought a very nice piece of car stereo equipment. Only in America!

But I digress. This vital $1,200 stimulus that’s intended to provide essential nourishment and vital rent payments will certainly never, ever go toward big-screen TVs. Nah.

So before I deliver today’s amazing collection of Business Pulse stories, I thought I’d provide a few quotes about money. Why not?

“It’s not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”


“The real measure of wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.”


“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”

Henry David Thoreau

Local company

Shows its smarts

I’m constantly amazed at the ingenuity of companies right here in Warren County, some of which have contracts with our military and space programs.

Precision Engineering, founded by Jamey Hyder 25 years ago, is one of those companies. With America struggling to meet a need for ventilators, Jamey and his team stopped everything they were doing and in about eight days manufactured a portable ventilator that can be used in the field, or in hospitals.

“It was an all-hands-on-deck project,” said Precision Engineering marketing director Kyle Ward referring to a piece of equipment called PneuBreath.

The ventilator was designed, machined and manufactured at the Precision Engineering plant at 5638 Manchester Highway. A second version is already in the works that will be 100 percent field-ready and have capabilities of plugging into a wall outlet or car battery.

“This really has the capability to help a lot of people. It’s a temporary sustainer of life,” said Hyder.

There are certain hurdles that have to be cleared before any piece of medical equipment hits the market. Hyder says the PneuBreath is not meant to replace ventilators, but to be a valuable supplement. He sees the device as not a temporary fix during the COVID-19 pandemic, but as a permanent fixture to the healthcare medicine cabinet.

“Because this is field-ready, it can be an apparatus for the military, for disaster relief, even for businesses that are looking to benefit,” said Jamey. “With our phase two, this will be an entirely self-contained unit. It’s a grab-and-go solution.”

Jamey pointed out the PneuBreath comes in a hard-shell container. That makes it easy to transport and also easy to store and stack.

“It’s beyond COVID-19 as far as its sustainability,” said Ward. “I think there will be a strong market for it.”

Information about the PneuBreath was released to only three media outlets, one being the award-winning Southern Standard, and word had already traveled out of state in just two days. Jamey said he received a call Thursday morning from a company in Florida wanting more information about his creation.

There are still questions to resolve about whether PneuBreath will be mass produced in Warren County or at another location. Precision Engineering isn’t so much about actual production as it is providing the tools and materials for production.

Precision Engineering is also knee-deep in another project to provide assembly line parts to Kimberly-Clark, a company which is ramping up assembly line production of N95 facemasks. I think all of us could benefit from more facemasks in circulation.

The editors of Business Pulse applaud Jamey Hyder and his team at Precision Engineering for working to provide solutions to real-world problems we’re all experiencing.

Curbside closing

Now a reality

A few short months ago, who would’ve predicted there would be a call for curbside real estate transactions? If someone had a crystal ball with that information, they need to devote their energy to playing the lottery.

But with COVID-19 changing the way we approach everything in life, there’s now a need for social distance. It’s sad because at times like these, I just want to be held.

Local attorney Ryan J. Moore is a smart businessman and he realizes proper distance must be maintained. That’s why he’s providing a solution and offering curbside service so local residents can complete real estate transactions in the comfort of their vehicle.

“This promotes social distancing while still keeping the economy moving,” said Ryan. “We can still conduct business while keeping buyers and sellers separated.”

Ryan illustrated that point on Monday when he orchestrated a deal between Kris and Ashli Gore and property owner Richard Wilkinson. The Gores signed papers to buy a piece of property from Richard, who is going to build an attractive home for them on that land. Richard is the braintrust behind L&C Custom Homes.

In this time of business shutdowns and isolation, Ryan says his law firm is staying busy with a full slate of title work. Sadly, he’s also handling a bevy of domestic assault cases and divorces, but that’s the work talented attorneys handle every day.

For all your legal needs, give Ryan J. Moore a call. He is knowledgeable, attractive, and can be reached at 474-7926.

Dirt work

Brings questions

When this column started more than 20 years ago, it was because of dirt work. There would be heavy equipment pushing around earth and folks would call the paper to ask, “Hey, what’s up on Sparta Street?”

I’ve had two kids and bought two houses since this column originated so much of the time it seems like I’m writing on auto pilot. I’m in the same seat talking about the same things. The only change is the amount of gray in my hair.

So it was with great exuberance that I received a text message a few days ago asking me about dirt work on Manchester Highway just past Warren County High School. This is why this column originated. It’s like going back to Woodstock, or back to my roots. A dirt work question!

Nostalgia aside, the dirt work taking place not far from WCHS and The Webb House will be the new location for Middle Tennessee Natural Gas. The utility will be abandoning its location on North Chancery Street and eventually moving to that spot.

“We’re looking at a completion date in the summer of 2021,” said MTNG representative Ed Kelley. “In today’s climate, it’s hard to say how firm that date will be, but that’s what we’re looking at now.”

Middle Tennessee Natural Gas built a new facility in Sparta three years ago and this will be a similar upgrade in McMinnville. Those with really long memories might recall the current MTNG building on N. Chancery Street was at one time a steakhouse that’s been converted to a utility office. The building is showing its age.

Kelley said there was consideration for rebuilding at the current spot on N. Chancery Street, but that would have required relocating to a temporary facility while that building was leveled and rebuilt. In terms of business flow, he said it’s much easier to construct a new facility elsewhere and then move there when it’s complete.

Soul food

Has arrived

If your tummy has a craving for some home cooking, Auntie Mattie’s Soul Food has opened at 488 N. Chancery Street.

“This is the first soul food restaurant in McMinnville so we’ll see if it works,” said Willie Galie, who is operating the restaurant with his wife Marlena. “We have some good food and we hope people give it a try.”

The menu includes items like smothered pork chops, and who doesn’t like smothered pork chops? There are also ribs, fried chicken, cornbread muffins and many more fixtures like collard greens, fried corn and macaroni and cheese.

“We’re trying to give people a different taste,” said co-owner Marlena Galie. “Pull up and we’ll take your order.”

In this day of social distancing, Auntie Mattie’s is offering food via curbside delivery. To place an order, call (239) 241-1990. Hours are Monday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Willie says he’s eager to cook and prepare great-tasting food. He’s normally a steady worker at Yorozu, but he’s been on shutdown in recent weeks and doesn’t know when he might return to work.


Still depressing

In comparison to the past two weeks, I guess you could say the Tennessee unemployment figures look upbeat. Two weeks ago, 94,492 people applied for unemployment. Last week the number was an astounding 116,141 Tennesseans.

So I guess maybe it’s an encouraging sign that only 74,772 people applied for unemployment benefits in Tennessee for the week ending April 11.

For folks eager to proclaim things are getting better, it’s a reduction of more than 40,000 people from the week before. That is progress.

Unfortunately, just one month ago for the week ending March 14, there were only 2,702 people who applied for unemployment benefits. Perhaps we should hold off on the cake and ice cream.

That’s all folks

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