Larry James, CEO and Founder
Larry James is the inspiration and heart of DefendAPack®. A 15-year beloved employee of Costo®, after the devastating mass shooting in Parkland, Florida last year, Larry was inspired to create a safety device for his high school aged daughter, Madison. Having been a successful business broker for many years, Larry used his business and manufacturing knowledge and went to work.
And in less than ONE year, he had designed and patented a bulletproof backpack that turned into a life-saving bulletproof vest. But he did not stop there. Larry procured all the ballistic materials and bulletproof plates himself, established his manufacturing partners, and using his own money from 401K and savings, purchased a small amount of inventory so he could GIVE AWAY his DefendAPack® to his daughter, and all of her friends, as well as to his son who lived and worked locally, and many other friends and family members.
His mission was to save lives…and protect as many people as possible.
Soon, word got out about DefendAPack®, and Larry was invited to speak at the National School Safety Conference in Orlando, where he showcased DefendAPack®, and in the process, learned how desperately teachers and administrative personnel needed this solution as well. So, he decided to create a nonprofit, CAST Help – Collaborative Awareness for Students and Teachers Help, so that he could get as many DefendAPack®’s into as many schools as possible. His ultimate goal is for the Active Shooter Protocols in schools to include a DefendAPack® Vest, and for each Teacher, Principal and Staff Member to have a Vest under their desk, just in case of emergencies.
Larry is currently working with celebrities, athletes, and other entrepreneurs to help him in his “Adopt A School” program. For more information on this program, click here (https://defendapackgear.com/pages/adopt-a-school)
Since launching DefendAPack® in early 2019, Larry and his wife, as well as private investors, have made it their mission to provide a real-world solution that is affordable for everyone, and to make a difference in the workplace as well, by offering solutions for First Responders, Hospitals, Security and Mall Officers, Journalists/Reporters, and anyone working in high-risk professions.
In an environment of rampant gun violence plaguing America, Larry has proven that one man, can make a difference. Larry is a proud husband and father above all else, which is what makes the beginning of the DefendAPack® so meaningful to his life. To read more about how DefendAPack® got started, read OUR STORY HERE.
John Discepolo - President of Media and Public Relations
John began his career in 1995 at a local cable station in Arlington, Massachusetts. From there he moved to NEWS 12 Westchester in Yonkers, New York as the Weekend Sports Anchor, where he covered high school sports. In 1998, he was promoted to the same position at WRGB CBS 6 in Albany, New York, where his passion for college hockey was born. In July of 1999, John moved onto to KDFW Fox 4 in Dallas, TX. For nearly 3 years, he traveled extensively with the Dallas Cowboys, and eventually got promoted to become the pregame host for both the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers.
In 2002, John became the Sports Director for WNYW Fox 5 in New York for 5-years, before moving onto WCBS 2 in 2007. During his 8-year tenure at both Fox and CBS, John covered National Sporting Events that including the Yankees and Giants runs to the World Series and Super Bowl respectively, while also working as a sideline reporter for the Jets and Giants.
In 2010, John reinvented himself and headed west to become the Weekend News Anchor for KOMO 4, the ABC affiliate in Seattle, WA. During his time in the pacific northwest, John excelled in breaking news and became the Main News Anchor for WPEC CBS 12 in West Palm Beach, FL.
John is a graduate of Hofstra University where he played football as a kicker and punter for the Division I-AA Pride, and played with former New York Jets player Wayne Chrebet.
Shay Discepolo - President of Marketing and Business Development
With over 25-years of experience in both traditional and digital marketing, e-commerce and business development partnerships.
Shay began building her brand in Phoenix, Arizona. Working in the construction industry while still in college, she became the Marketing Manager for Hanson Aggregates – a 3.7 billion dollar building materials company.
After working in Phoenix for nearly 14-years, she transferred to the east coast after getting married and became an area sales manager for Owens Corning Cultured Stone. Her territory spanned 7 states, from Connecticut to Virginia. Her responsibilities included architectural presentations, budgets, forecasting, new dealer set up, and gross margin accountability.
In 2010, she moved to the pacific northwest and became an independent business owner, for the Health Reform Team. In just 2-years, she ran all aspects of a successful $250K portfolio, providing health, life, and supplemental insurance policies to her clients.
In 2015, she opened and built from the ground up, her own online boutique and became the president and founder of Wicked Wonders VIP Bling. As the sole person working this capacity, she handled all web design, search engine optimization, social media, accounting, inventory management, graphic design and marketing. Her company has seen steady growth for the last 4-years.
In 2019, she was recruited to become the President of Marketing, where she primarily works on website development, social media management, advertising, analytics measurement and vertical market strategy development.
She currently resides in Florida with her husband and their two boys, (and fat cat Jake. Meow).
Madison Page - Product Development Assistant, Brand Ambassador and Model/Spokesperson
She also served as the model and spokesperson for all promotional videos, TV commercials, social posts, flyers, brochures, and trade show displays. She continues to help develop new products for DefendAPack®, and often helps prepare the team for upcoming trade shows and events for school safety. READ MORE HERE.