Defenshield plans expansion

April 7th, 2006

Collins White, president, CEO, and founder of the company, plans to close in the next week on about 12 acres of land and a 1,200-square-foot building on Route 31 in Cicero. White will lease the land and building, which cost $200,000, to his company.

The new site will be used for the extensive ballistics testing the company performs on its products before sending them out for official certification from independent companies.

Currently, Defenshield does its testing at various gun clubs and shooting ranges in the area.

“We come into those places as a commercial customer,” White says. “We’re limited a lot on when we can go and what we can shoot there.”

Some design and engineering work will also be done at the new site. The company will remain headquartered in 600 square feet of leased space on Old Collamer Road.

The new facility will not be staffed full time, but will be used for specific development work and testing as needed, White says.

Defenshield, founded in 2002, generated $1.5 million in sales in 2005. White is projecting sales of between $8 million and $10 million in 2006 as the firm benefits from the military and government’s need for security devices. He says the company has tripled its sales every year it has been in business.

The firm employs five people. Two employees have been added so far this year, and White is currently looking for two more engineers.

Defenshield’s lead product is a mobile protective barrier. It is used in a variety of locations from aviation-security stations to checkpoints in Iraq.

There are currently 500 Defenshield barriers in Iraq, where they are being used to protect troops in some of the most dangerous areas in that country.

“Basically, anywhere there’s a sensitive entry-control point, this product is useful,” White says.

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.

The product is certified by the U.S. State Department for use at embassies as well.

Some of the barriers were also placed at security stations in federal courthouses during the first trials of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Washington, D.C. snipers.

The barrier is not the company’s only product, however. Defenshield is currently developing a hand-held ballistic shield. The product is not patented yet, and White declines to comment on specific details. He hopes to have a patent pending on the shield soon and plans to debut it at a government-security show in Washington, D.C. at the end of this month.

The company has also developed a line of ballistic replacement windows, which can be used in guard houses and other fixed positions with high-security needs.

Another window product Defenshield recently brought to market is hurricane resistant and meant for both military and civilian applications.

“They meet all the [Federal Emergency Management Agency] specs,” White says.

The windows have been designed to withstand the impact of a 2-by-4 piece of wood traveling 100 mph.

White served in the U.S. Air Force from 1982 to 1992. He has 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 and is working toward a master’s degree in business administration at Syracuse University.

Defenshield outsources its manufacturing to area companies, White says. He currently has no plans to develop his own manufacturing operations.

Collins is the majority owner of the firm, along with a few other individual investors.

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