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
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: email@example.com
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,