EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 11, 2013

Andover defense company moves to N.H.

By Alex Lippa

---- — NEWTON, N.H. — A marine defense company has moved its headquarters into a new 8,100-square-foot building on Puzzle Lane.

Halo Maritime Defense Systems relocated last month from Andover, Mass. They plan to increase the size of their company, according to company officials.

“New Hampshire is very business friendly,” said Paul Jensen, CEO of Halo. “This location was also very attractive, cost-wise.”

Halo builds maritime security barriers, which are designed to protect assets on water from attack. The company has a contract with the U.S. Navy, as well as shipping and commercial facilities.

“Around the world, there are sensitive assets on waterfront that are vulnerable,” Jensen said. “Generally, those are secured with patrol boats. Our solution is to put something physical to act as security on the water.”

One of the allures of Newton was its proximity to the University of New Hampshire’s Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex in New Castle, he said. The company works with the research center for development and testing of new products.

“This is a great example of the relationship between UNH and private business using innovation as a way to attract and grow business to New Hampshire,” said Michael Bergeron, business development manager for the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.

Jensen said the company has recently hired employees with graduate degrees from UNH.

The move brings 10 jobs to Newton, but the company plans to hire more by the end of the year.

“They will likely be in financial management, marine engineering or construction,” Jensen said. “We now have the ability to double or even triple our capacity.”

While their Andover location was primarily office space, the Newton location is two-thirds factory space.

“Our factories were pretty much spread all over the place,” Jensen said. “Now we have the option to have everyone under one roof.”

Halo worked with Bergeron and Chris Healey, a real estate broker from CB Richard Ellis, to find the location in Newton.

“The company told me they were looking for a freestanding building, which is about 8,000 square feet,” Bergeron said. “We ended up finding an option that ended up being a perfect fit.”

Halo was founded in 2008, and Jensen said the industry has grown significantly over the last decade.

“After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, there were inquiries about whether there were security barriers set in place to protect boats,” he said. “We have a solution made out of plastics and composites which can be used in water as a stopping force.”

Jensen said the barriers are strong enough that a boat traveling up to 50 mph and could not penetrate the barrier.

Halo’s new offices are next to the United States headquarters of board game and puzzle company Ravensburger on Puzzle Lane.