Defenshield, Inc., a local developer of bullet-and-blast resistant products, is moving to an expanded headquarters to keep pace with the firm’s rapid growth.
The company’s plans to move into the new, 7,500-square-foot office, located 14 Corporate Circle, in February.
“We’re in a space right now that really only accommodates three people. We have five full-timers,” says Theresa Brigandi, vice president of marketing. “We want to get into a space that’s going to allow us to grow.”
Defenshield plans to hire at least two additional employees in the next few months, she adds. The company is mainly looking for engineers and product managers.
Most of the firm’s sales come from international locations and the Washington D.C. area, thanks to the use of its products by military and government groups, Brigandi says.
The company recently added a salesperson in Washington.
Sales at Defenshield have tripled every year for the past four years, Brigandi adds. The firm expects strong growth again in 2007.
Defenshield signed a three-year lease for the new, 7,500-square-foot office. The Oliva Companies owns the building. Defenshield’s current, 500-square-foot headquarters on Old Collamer Road is also in a building owned by Oliva.
In addition to new, expanded office space, the company will also have some warehouse space and an area to perform some testing and prototyping, Brigandi says. “This will allow us to consolidate some materials,” she says. “It will be more efficient for us.”
The new headquarters will also have some showroom-like space where the firm will display its products, Brigandi says.
Defenshield’s lead product is a mobile, protective barrier. It is used in a variety of locations from aviation-security stations to military check-points in Iraq.
About 400 of the company’s protective barriers are deployed with troops in Iraq. They have also been used at security stations in federal courthouses during the trials of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Washington D.C. – area snipers.
The barriers, which provide users with head-to-toe protection, are also deployed on U.S. Navy ships for security in foreign, potentially dangerous ports.
Defenshield, founded in 2002, also developed a line of blast-resistant windows for use in locations like guard stations.
Collins White, the firm’s president, CEO, and founder, is also the majority owner, along with a few other individual investors.
White served in the U.S. Air Force from 1982 to 1992. He also worked for Carrier Corp. and Applied Biosystems of California. He has a degree in electrical engineering from the State University of New York Institute of Technology.
In addition to new headquarters, the company in April opened a 15-acre research and development site in Cicero, featuring a 1,200-square-foot storage facility and 50-, 100-, and 200-yard shooting ranges.
The facility eliminated the need for the company to perform its product testing at local gun clubs and shooting ranges. As a commercial customer, the firm was limited in what it could do at the ranges, White said at the time the research facility opened.
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