INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS: Tough Economy Inspires Meridian To Refurbish Mobile Command Centers

Meridian Specialty Vehicles, a 15-year-old specialty vehicle manufacturer formerly known as Bridger Fire Equipment, recently turned its focus toward refurbishing mobile command centers for resale.

Meridian said it is the only vehicle manufacturer to offer refurbished mobile command centers as stock vehicles.

The idea, according to the company, was hatched from a combination of the recent economic downturn and longtime response-vehicle experience.

Meridian owner Dave Ronsen, a former professional firefighter, said he considers high-performing units absolutely essential to life-dependent operations. But for cash-strapped agencies weathering the poor economy, he said buying a new mobile command center is often cost-prohibitive.

Relying on 15 years of experience building fire trucks, he said Meridian can slash costs without cutting corners by rebuilding refurbished chassis into virtually new mobile command centers.

Until now, according to Ronsen, mobile command centers were built on new chassis and often cost $750,000 or more. Meridian’s refurbished mobile command centers, he said, feature the same technology, components, durability and overall quality, but sell for up to 70 percent less.

“Most departments can’t tell the difference between our refurbished vehicles and an all-new model until they notice our price tag,” Ronsen said.

Meridian carefully selects chassis, only considering low-mileage commercial ones at 15 percent or less of their projected drivetrain life. Once chosen, chassis are completely stripped, and then rebuilt with new wiring, interiors and components.

Meridian said every vehicle is customized. “Our experience allows us to install everything from telescoping masts with camera systems, satellite communications systems, PBX phone systems, to specialty law enforcement or function-specific options,” Ronsen said. “Every vehicle should perform its duty flawlessly, but we’re careful not to recommend expensive extras the end user won’t use.”

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