Defenshield Inc., a company constructing military-grade bulletproof shields and barriers, announced last month plans to move its headquarters from upstate New York to St. Augustine. The CEO, Collins White, decided to leave the Empire State after new laws prohibited the guns he used to test the Defenshield products. Defenshield has received $9.9 million in government contracts since 2006, and has clients across the globe and offices in New York and Washington.

Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville were all options at first, but not St. Augustine. Jacksonville was the better logistical infrastructure – shipping through the Port of Jacksonville – compared to Savannah, but the CEO wasn’t sure of Jacksonville’s large sprawl. St. Augustine offered the best of both worlds. 

Defenshield expects to have 20 employees there in the next two years, with plans to hire engineers, draftsman and administrative staff. White said between Flagler, the University of North Florida and the University of Florida, there's a large talent pool to recruit talent from.