The Naval Company

The Naval Company manufactures the U.S. Coast Guard approved Model CG85 Bridger Line Throwing Gun™ Kit, used for line deployment or line throwing, life saving, and access solutions by offshore drilling rigs, fire departments, rescue squads, utility companies, commercial fishing fleets, mining and construction companies.

Beth Meininger sought help from the Lehigh University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) when looking to take over the Doylestown-based business from her father. At the time, Beth was uncertain as to where she wanted to go with the company. Would she keep the company or sell it? Although the business had a number of established customers and a few distributors, she knew she would not only need to make changes to build the business domestically, but she would also need to penetrate markets overseas in order to build the business to the next level.

The first step at the SBDC was to work with one of the business analysts who completed a SWOT analysis of the company's current standings. Upon review, and with the assistance of the SBDC, Beth began the mission of developing a strategic plan to develop new business overseas. One of the first decisions was to develop a comprehensive website, an important component of doing business in other countries. She also needed to work out pricing and financing options. With the assistance from the SBDC and PA overseas representatives, Beth began to seek out global markets.

The most difficult part was finding the right people. With the assistance of the SBDC network, Beth was able to wade through the maze, receive an export license and get her shipment through customs. The SBDC also helped check the credibility of potential buyers. Naval received orders from Saudi Arabia and is now working with the Pennsylvania office in Australia with the hopes of finding a distributor to cover that region.

She reports: “The SBDC has helped us a lot...we have cleaned up our legal weak spots, heightened our standards regarding compliance issues and are running in a more professional manner. The SBDC has given me the confidence to take on this business and build a stronger foundation. We are now ready to grow!”

"The SBDC has helped us a lot [and] given me the confidence to take on this business and build a stronger foundation."

– Beth Meininger
The Naval Company