By Meaghan Alvarado
Photo by Kate Gardiner
7000 US HIGHWAY 1 NORTH, SUITE 401 • 904 679-3942 • DEFENSHIELD dot COM
Collins White, the President and CEO of Defenshield, came up with the idea for his business after traveling to New York in October, 2001, a month after 9/11. “The airport in New York was full of National Guard troops, police, and sheriffs,” he says. “Everyone had a gun, and no one had protection.” In January, 2002, White started Defenshield, and quickly began to attract multi-national government contracts.
Before leaving New York and moving to St. Augustine in 2013, Collins was looking at multiple locations for his new home base. He visited Charleston, Charlotte, Wilmington, Savannah, and Jacksonville, but nothing drew him in, until a friend in Jacksonville suggested that he check out St. Augustine. “I was here about four hours before I made the decision,” he states.
It’s no shock that the history and small-town feel are part of what attracted him to our Old City, along with the “availability of a smart, motivated, educated workforce.”
Located off of US 1 North, the veteran-owned business hires engineers from NASA and salespeople with military experience from the region. Defenshield works with a variety of customers, including all four branches of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, nuclear plants, the CIA, Secret Service, NSA, and many major airports. With over 100 products in their arsenal, Defenshield’s niche is portable bullet, blast, and fragment-resistant tools for screening checkpoints and entry control points.
Collins’ team recently deployed a bullet-resistant partition to the Oculus at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. The partition is about 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall and weighs a whopping 300-plus pounds.
When he’s not hard at work applying his electrical engineering degree and coming up with new, life-saving inventions, Collins is usually firing guns at one of the local shooting ranges, woodworking, taking photographs, or racing a Lotus 2-Eleven or other sports car.
You can learn more about Collins White, Defenshield, and the company’s exciting projects on the Defenshield website.