Pole Star Defense of Pinellas County
Ben Minichino, President of Pole Star Defense, understood that it was necessary to launch a subsidiary of the UK based company, Pole Star Global, when an opportunity arrived to work with governmental organizations in the United States. “The reason we decided to launch the defense business and chose to launch it here [St.Petersburg, Florida] is because we had a really outstanding customer who was the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S Coast Guard and as that contract and relationship evolved there came a point in time where the government said look, we’ll enable you to do really great things for us, but we need to make sure you’re here, your people are in the United States, your operating here in the United States and your data resides here in the United States,” Ben Minichino said.
That’s when the company’s president weighed his options and looked at about six states before deciding to bring the business to the Tampa Bay area.
Once situated in St. Petersburg, the company, which consisted of three employees at the time, made its way to the Pinellas County Economic Development, where they were introduced to the Florida PTAC at PCED as well as government contracting specialist, Yolanda Goodloe. From then on the Florida PTAC and Goodloe became beneficial resources to the company. Minichino went on to say, “It has been instrumental in helping and assisting Pole Star with just a large number of very practical, very needed services. You know, workforce development, hiring and recruitment, helping us align our corporate capability with what we know that our potential customers were looking for from a governmental perspective.”
Since working with the Florida PTAC at PCED and Goodloe, Minichino mentions that they’re company of three employees has grown in size, now totaling fifty talented local employees. “We’ve grown from literally three people who helped start this business to now we’re over fifty and those fifty people, you know, we’ve been able to bring incredible opportunities, high-paying defense jobs, great benefits but realizing that we are one hundred percent in on St.Pete,” Ben Minichino said. The Pole Star Defense president went on to mention that they are proud to live, work, and hire talented people from the St. Petersburg area.
Minichino also mentioned growth in other aspects of the business stating, “our business has grown exponentially, not only by sheer size of the workforce but also by technology and capability. We’ve been able to prep ourselves for growth by building out a full stack development team, by building out a very very robust cyber posture with our cybersecurity force and essentially building a foundation for success as we move more into the government and defense space.”
As for their biggest success, the business is doing amazing work in the governmental sector. “Our biggest success so far since we’ve been in Pinellas and working with PTAC and working with economic development is our contracts with the government have expanded to the point now in which we’ve been designated a national security critical resource to the government,” Minichino expressed. With the expansion of governmental contracts, the business is receiving more opportunities that showcase their dedication to great work and commitment. “We now have opportunities to develop products and services to the government that the government sees as national security critical. They enable us with contract opportunities to deliver systems that are associated with safety of life at sea, search and rescue, and infrastructure. These are products that we had never delivered or never had the opportunity to deliver in our past but today, this is exactly what we’re working on,” Ben Minichino said.
Moving forward, the Minichino makes it known that they will continue to work with the Florida PTAC at PCED and Goodloe as business grows through contracts and partnerships. “As we work with Yolanda, and we work with PTAC, I have a vision that enables us to leverage the capabilities out of PTAC such as, assisting us with strategic relationships, with partnerships that are astronomically valuable to small businesses like Pole Star,” Minichino said. The company’s president also reminds us that he will continue using the Florida PTAC at PCED for business guidance with customer briefings as well as when using governmental sites such as SAM.gov. “We also utilize PTAC for facilitating briefings with customers, defense customers that we may really never be able to get in front of without the support of Yolanda or PTAC,” Minichino added.
As the company continues its successful path, Pole Star Defense’s president goes on to encourage his fellow small business owners/operators to leverage the resources around them, especially if they are wanting positive results.
“My advice to small businesses that come to Pinellas or are currently Pinellas County residents, leveraging PTAC, calling Yolanda when you need assistance in any of the things described. I mean, it’s an invaluable resource that you know, without it, we would’ve struggled,” Minichino said.
Minichino never hesitated to shoutout the people and organizations that have helped him and the company along the way, letting us know how appreciative he was of all of the opportunities that have stemmed from such partnerships. “I’d just like to say thank you to Yolanda and to PTAC, I mean really, you’ve become a partner to us, I can’t express our appreciation and I know moving forward that relationship will just blossom and continue to grow,” Minichino expressed.