What happens when you combine a Mechanical/Aerospace Engineer, an Adventure Guide, and a mutual love for the outdoors? Wazoo Survival Gear! They design, create, and field test products engineered to save lives. The adventurer, Dustin Hogard, and the engineer, Nick Blackman, crossed paths for the first time in 2012 near Houston, Texas over a few pints of craft brew.  That meeting was the beginning of a very unlikely partnership that has now spawned an entire new industry of wearable gear.  With the office walls covered in working design concepts and existing products such as a business card that can act as a fire starter, a belt with a hidden compartment, a hat with hidden pockets, or a beer koozie with survival tips, Wazoo continues to strive to make survival sexy and emphasis the “fun” in functional.

FOUNDERS

Nick Blackman

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  • Art Director and Over-analyzer for Wazoo
  • BS Mechanical Engineering, BS Aerospace Engineering
  • Search And Rescue Team Lead and K-9 Training Specialist with Alpha Search and Recovery in Houston, TX
  • Instructor and Evaluator for the National Association for Search And Rescue (NASAR)
  • Associate Instructor for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Basic Wilderness Survival Workshop
  • Spent 4 years working as a NASA Engineer
  • Certified Appalachian American

His innate desire to understand how everything works led him to earn degrees in both Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from West Virginia University. He dabbled in everything from data entry to deep-sea drilling tools and even as far as training astronauts. His last job was as an engineer at Johnson Space Center working with some of the largest vacuum chambers in the world. Needless to say that job 'sucked'. No matter how hard he tried to force himself to sit back and earn a good salary, life in a cubicle was slowly crushing him. Wazoo Survival Gear was the dream; unlimited design potential, researched, tested, and applied in the outdoors. Engineering gone wild! 



Dustin "Justin" Hogard

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  • United States Coast Guard (USCG) Crewman
  • Public Safety Diver (PSD) trained in body and evidence recovery in blackwater
  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Divemaster
  • Wilderness First Aid/ First Responder (WFR/WFR)
  • Texas State Guard (TXSG) Corpsman
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Wildland Firefighter
  • Basic & Advanced Disaster Life Support (BDLS/ADLS)
  • Graduate of Incident Response to Terrorist Bombing (IRTB) from New Mexico Tech
  • Graduate of Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombing Incidence (PRSBI) from New Mexico Tech
  • Lived in the Alaskan Tongass Rainforest in a hammock for the summer.

After graduating from the University of Texas with degrees in Advertising and Business, Dustin actively avoided "getting a real job." Instead, he opted for alternative careers in the outdoors. He attributes his work and hobbies in a variety of industries to giving him well-rounded firsthand experience and ability to pull and combine technical concepts from various fields that are now being applied to Wazoo designs. His "odd jobs" have included canopy tour zip-line manager, cave tour designer, exotic animal caretaker, and he has worked from Alaska to Peru to Swtizerland, and now lives aboard his 1966 Alberg 30 sailboat in Kemah, Texas. He loves getting high whether on a rope, mast, tree, or rock slab and feels most comfortable in small, dark, confined places, especially within the Earth's crust.

 

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