ARCHIVE - ISSUE ELEVEN - MARCH 2015 COVER - FEATURED PICTORIAL - TRAINING - LIFESTYLE - REVIEWS ARCHIVE - ISSUE ELEVEN - MARCH 2015
Women in the Industry
This month in our spotlight of Women in the Industry, we would like to introduce you to the owner of Midwest Tactical Applications Group (M-Tag) HEATHER CHANEY. This busy lady used her extensive background in construction management to turn her passion for shooting into a successful business with her husband... Now that's teamwork!
Sure Shots Magazine: Please tell us a little about your company, M-Tag (Midwest Tactical Applications Group).
Heather Chaney: M-TAG offers comprehensive range design, development and construction services and tactical firearms training.
SSM: How long has your company been in business?
HC: We started the company in 2012.
SSM: Have you always been involved in the shooting/tactical/firearms community?
HC: I have been around firearms my entire life. I am the only child to a retired FBI agent and have been shooting since before I could ride a bike. Being Daddy’s little girl, I grew up shooting and hunting with my Dad and have always loved this community. My husband, and partner in MTAG, is a retired Marine of 22 years who is the Director of Training for the Ohio Tactical Officer’s Association. Our passion for this industry is why we do what we do.
SSM: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
HC: First and foremost, I am the proud wife of a retired Marine. We have 5 kids, 3 girls and 2 boys, the oldest of which is 20 and the youngest is 14. Our oldest daughter is in college studying to be a special needs teacher, my oldest son is currently in Marine Corps boot camp and my middle daughter just joined the Navy with aspirations to be a naval doctor or nuclear engineer. Our youngest daughter is a sophomore in high school hoping to be a nurse in the Air Force and our youngest son is in the 8th grade.
I started my career 25 years ago with a civil engineering firm in Virginia. Moving from design into construction, I now specialize in range design, development and construction of tactical and weapons training facilities for commercial, law enforcement, and military installations across the United States to include Hawaii. My projects with the Marine Corps also span to Okinawa and training facilities in Australia. Having provided corporate management for a multimillion-dollar firm including strategic planning and business development I have a good understanding of my commercial clients needs when it comes to the business side of running the ranges.
SSM: What made you decide to start M-Tag?
HC: We started M-TAG in 2012 as a vehicle for firearms training, but since July of 2014, we have expanded our services to include the Range Design, Development and Construction Consulting Services, which is my specialty. My husband is the Tactical Range Advisor. He’s able to provide an operator’s point of view, which combined with my designer’s opinion, provides a unique perspective to our team.
SSM: What is the best part of your job?
HC: Getting to be a part of new ranges, both indoor and outdoor and working with clients that share my passion for the shooting/tactical and firearms industry!
SSM: Have there been any lessons your work life has taught you?
HC: Integrity is always the best trait you can have! This business is about relationships....which are best developed through hard work, dedication to quality and customer service. You have to have a passion for what you do, it shows, in everything you do and people appreciate that!
SSM: So, if you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
HC: That’s a really tough one! I have so many people that have influenced my career and my path over the past 25 years. I would honestly have to say, that within the past 10-15 years that my husband, Phil has become my mentor and most trusted confidant. His willingness to share all of his experience and insight with me has made me truly successful. He is a true American hero! He is the most humble man I know, a true silent professional. In an industry plagued by egos, he never tells his story. He listens intently, is always willing to offer praise and rarely takes credit for anything. He exemplifies all of the Marine Corps leadership traits. He is truly someone that I respect, admire and hope to emulate in my professional life. I’m not only honored to work along-side him, but I am blessed to be his wife!
SSM: What is your primary weapon and why?
HC: I have a new M&P Shield that I got for Christmas that I love for concealed carry. My weapon of choice for home defense is a good ‘ole pump shot gun…there is some degree of deterrent for an intruder when they hear that racking of the shell!
SSM: What are some important lessons you have learned while running M-Tag?
HC: Teamwork and learning from others in the industry is a crucial part of my success. I am honored to be associated with some of the best minds in the industry when it comes to the design and development of shooting ranges and facilities. Every client brings their own personal mission to each project. There is no one design that works for every range. Learning to listen to the goals and aspiration of the client helps me add value to their team and help them build the facility that meets their needs on every level. At the end of the day, it’s like building someone their dream house, they have to live in it, pay for it, and make it work for them, it can’t be just my opinion or ideas, it is truly a team effort, and I am just happy to be a part of the team that makes that happen.
SSM: What do our readers have to look forward to in the future from M-Tag?
HC: As our industry continues to grow and more and more ranges are constructed across the US, there is more opportunity for shooters to find the perfect facility for their type of training. I hope to build my reputation as the company to come to if you’re looking to build a range!
SSM: What is the best shooting advice you have been given that you feel might be important to share with our readers?
HC: When it comes to choosing a weapon, make sure it’s what works best for the reason you’re buying it. Guns are like a good pair of shoes, what works for someone else, might not fit your needs! When it comes to shooting, the more the better! It’s a perishable skill!! If you want to be a proficient shooter, you have to train, often! One of our moto’s is “Train Hard – Fight Easy”.
SSM: Where do you see M-Tag in 5 years?
HC: My goal over the next five years is to grow our client base both in types of ranges as well as geographically. We have worked on projects from New York to California, but the more we do, the more we learn. I would like to get more involved with the NSSF and NRA and continue to grow both personally and professionally.
SSM: And for our final question… If you could be any character in a movie to be who would it be & why?
HC: That’s a tough one. When I was younger, I always thought that being Laura Croft in Tomb Raider would be awesome. She was out to save the world, traveling across the globe, the most insane array of weapons and tactics! To find the role of a woman that is smart, independent, beautiful, sexy, compassionate, nurturing and deadly is one that all women would like to be.