Waves, Workforce and Mission Energize High Tech Manufacturer

Enticed by the prospect of indulging his passion for surfing and kite-sailing at Assateague when the waves beckoned, inventor George Tunis chose nearby Pocomoke City for his then nascent business in 2001. The Hardwire CEO previously lived in Wilmington, DE and regularly vacationed in Ocean City. Locating his new company in a place where he could fully enjoy the Coast’s many assets was an easy decision.

Hardwire designs and manufactures high-tech protective armor used by the military, law enforcement, corporations, and school systems. The centerpiece of the company’s growing campus is a 65,000-sq.-ft. advanced manufacturing facility on the banks of the Pocomoke River where the team conceives and produces life-saving hardware, personal gear, and mission-critical products. The light-filled space opened in 2008 and pulses with music as the diverse young workforce seamlessly operates state-of-the-art robotics, machinery, and two giant presses nicknamed “Godzilla” and “Thor.”

And for the past nine years, his wife Emily has helped steer operations and business development while directing the large government programs that form the backbone of their military business. The Department of Defense, for example, is one of their major customers and contracts Hardwire to produce body armor and armor kits for military ground vehicles.

Working from a shared office overlooking the Pocomoke River, the husband-wife team anticipates significant growth in the coming years to meet their customers’ growing and diverse needs.

“In three to five years, we’ll double the size of the company, double the number of employees, and have four times as many robots,” said George. “The high quality of our workforce, combined with our technological capabilities, enables innovations for our customers and leads to the betterment of the surrounding community.”

In 2007, Hardwire received a tax credit to remediate its current headquarters location from the brown field site that was previously part of the Campbell’s Soup Canning Company. The Hardwire team also renovated the dilapidated Mason Canning facility into the 40,000 sq. ft. building that contains its machine shop and prototyping facility which includes indoor gun tunnels for testing, research, and development.

A waterfront deck links the two buildings and stand-up paddle-boards line the entry for employees to take advantage of their waterfront location on breaks.

The Tunises have found their location is also great from a talent perspective because they’re conveniently located to Ocean City, Accomack, and Salisbury. Their young and diverse workforce includes former military, engineers, creatives, and techies attracted to the company’s mission and positive environment.

Hardwire currently leases a third building in the Pocomoke Industrial Park with another 42,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing and test labs to support strategic military initiatives.  And there are plans in the works to construct another 20,000 sq. ft. building on their growing campus.

As Hardwire marks its 20th anniversary on Maryland’s Coast, George credits Pocomoke City and Worcester County officials for supporting the company’s development and expansion. The company also utilizes the County’s Manufacturing Machinery Tax Exemption program. To learn about the MMTE program or the Pocomoke Industrial Park, contact Michele Burke.