Armor Express welcomes new Director of Carrier R&D and Brand Manager

Armor Express expands its industry-leading design and engineering team with the addition of a new Director of Carrier R&D and Brand Manager

CENTRAL LAKE, Mich. — Central Lake Armor Express, Inc. ("Armor Express"), a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance body armor solutions, announced today that the Company has appointed two new members to its R&D team, who will serve in the roles of Director of Carrier R&D and Brand Manager. The appointments come as Armor Express develops and delivers more innovative product offerings to better support the growing needs of global law enforcement, federal, corrections, and military officers.

“Our ongoing expansion in R&D demonstrates our commitment to innovation, as we continue to meet the increasing demand for higher-performing solutions that safeguard our men and women in uniform. Building a world-class design and engineering team is critical to bringing greater value to our end-customers,” stated Matt Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Armor Express. “This also goes hand in hand with our infrastructural advancements, including a state-of-the-art Technology Center, and I am very excited by the prospects for major growth and success in the years to come.”

The expanded R&D team comprises highly-skilled engineers, designers, pattern makers, sewers, and product managers. The newest members include Rick Rardon, who recently joined as Director of Carrier R&D, and Robert Anderson, as the new Brand Manager for Lighthawk™ Tactical. Mr. Rardon will lead all non-ballistic product development efforts, including the design, material sourcing and implementation of new technologies, while collaborating with Sales and Marketing to drive all carrier lines to national and global agencies. Mr. Anderson will oversee brand integrity across all of Armor Express’ marketing initiatives and communications, as the Company moves forward with development of its Lighthawk product offerings. They join senior members Jon MacNeil, Director of Ballistics R&D; Monica Russ, Department Manager and Pattern Maker; Mike Criswell, Product Designer; Steve Murphy, Tactical Product Manager; and Lisa Becker, Project Manager. Together, the team will collaborate on new solution development in support of market growth.

Mr. Rardon is a Reconnaissance Marine Veteran who brings a wealth of military and product design experience to Armor Express. He began his design career over two decades ago and has continued to advance armor designs based on training and real-world experiences gained during his multiple deployments overseas. Prior to Armor Express, Mr. Rardon was the Director of Operations and Chief Designer at PG USA; Chief Designer at Mountain Defense Group; and Armor Design Manager at Propper International. Mr. Rardon oversaw management of the production/factory floor and lean manufacturing processes. He also led OEM development and directed product design for several government contracts. He has been heavily involved in R&D -- building armor design shops, helping companies develop their lines of ballistic carriers and working with vendors to implement their technologies.

Mr. Anderson is a former commissioned police officer and brings more than 30 years of tactical industry experience, working on solution development with the U.S. Army; U.S. Navy; U.S. Air Force; various Federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, CIA, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice; numerous state/county/municipal Law Enforcement agencies; and several Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) including private security firms supporting both national and private sector entities. Prior to Armor Express, Mr. Anderson founded and was President of US PALM, a premier product design and manufacturing company that developed and produced firearm enhancements, tactical nylon and K-9 products. At US PALM, he was intimately involved in all aspects of business operations, including product design, manufacturing, marketing, customer service, supplier and distributor relations, new business development, and staff recruitment and training.

“Rick and Rob bring tremendous knowledge to the business, and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Armor Express family. I am proud of the talented and trusted team we have built as we continue to focus resources on creating ‘industry firsts’ in ballistic systems, carrier designs, hard armor plates, and accessories. This is crucial to our mission to save more lives and it could not be more timely, as body armor makers await the debut of the new NIJ Standard-0101.07. Our ability to test the latest protocols in-house is key to bringing solutions to market quickly. I’m confident that with our capable team and infrastructure in place, we will succeed at both speed and scale,” Mr. Davis concluded.

About Armor Express
Armor Express is a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance body armor systems.  Founded in 2005, the Company has grown to become one of the largest providers of soft and hard armor products and accessories, serving the domestic and Federal law enforcement market, U.S Military and America's allies around the world.  Through its strategic partnerships with technology innovators and its unwavering commitment to advance research & development, the Company's customers benefit from state-of-the-art protective solutions and best-in-class service.  For more information, please visit

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