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2016 Florida Export Guide



lorida’a St. Johns

County is home to an

eclectic blend of small

businesses and major

employers who manufacture a

diverse range of products, from

military aircraft and aluminum

fencing to acoustic wood panels

and power supply systems.

Many of these companies are

involved in international trade

and export their products worldwide. Among the county’s lead-

ing exporters are Northrop Grumman, Rulon International,

iDeal Aluminum, David Dobbs Enterprises, Solar Stik, and

German-based 2G Energy.

More than 230 companies in St. Johns County either

import or export.The region’s international trade is

supported by the Northeast Florida Export Plan

and Global Cities Initiative, which promotes the

benefits of exporting.

“St. Johns County supported these efforts, and

has been working to encourage more local compa-

nies to explore export opportunities,” says Melissa

Glasgow, director of economic development for

St. Johns County.

Through a partnership between the county and the Univer-

sity of North Florida, local companies are able to work with a

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) certified busi-

ness analyst housed in the county’s Permit Center to receive

free business consulting. SBDC also provides “new-to-export”

assistance, in partnership with Enterprise Florida and the

U.S. Commercial Service, to assist in developing customized

export marketing plans for businesses interested in developing

international growth strategies.

Optimum Springs Manufacturing, for example, expressed

interest in expanding its market share through exporting and

worked with the SBDC to complete an export marketing plan

in 2015.Marco Fortini, the company’s vice president, says that

55 percent of the company’s business is now export-related,

and he credits the county’s SBDC office for being a critical

component in helping his business grow internationally.

The SBDC office in St. Johns County also has assisted

local growers, such as Blue Sky Farms, in developing export

marketing plans to position their agricultural products for

international markets.

Several local manufacturers, including Northrop

Grumman, Solar Stik, and Carlisle Interconnect

Technologies, are defense contractors.Their products

are exported worldwide. Northrop Grumman, in

particular, has established a new Aircraft Integration

Center of Excellence at its existing facility in St. Au-

gustine.The Florida location is one of five centers of

excellence nationwide. Northrop Grumman produces

its E-2D Hawkeye surveillance aircraft at this location.

Another local firm, Rulon International, makes wood

ceilings and acoustical wood walls. International diversifica-

tion has helped the company maintain steady growth. Jesse

Reyes, the company’s advertising and marketing manager, says

that exporting is an important part of Rulon’s business.

Rulon now has 120 employees in St. Johns County.The com-

pany relocated from Brunswick, Georgia, in 2003. “It’s a great

work location. It’s really what we were looking for,” says Reyes.

“St. Johns County is enormously popular,” says Glasgow.

“It is one of the Top 20 fastest growing counties in the USA.

Many business executives are attracted to the top-ranked

exemplary statewide school system, featuring award-

winning career academies that provide a skilled workforce.

Others take advantage of access to multi-modal transpor-

tation networks, a growing regional airport, and a Foreign

Trade Zone designation linked to nearby JAXPORT.”

St. John’s County works to provide local companies with export

assistance and other resources in a cost-effective, low-tax business

environment.Moreover, world-class beaches, golfing, fishing, and

other recreational opportunities help business owners and their

employees achieve an enviable work-life balance.

More information about operating a business in St. Johns

County is available from Melissa Glasgow, Director of Economic

Development, 904-209-0552 or via email


Made in St. Johns County:

Local Manufacturers Grow Through Exporting

“It’s a great work location. It’s really

what we were looking for.”

— Jesse Reyes, Advertising andMarketing Manager,

Rulon International.