Guard-Lee was started in 1982 by Edward Guard, an engineer and manager with Martin Marietta’s Experimental Prototype Labs (EPL). Ed retired after his forty-year career at Martin and started a business in Apopka, Florida, offering high fidelity model-making and new product development services. The company was named for the two partners who started the endeavor, Ed Guard and Doris Lee. Since that humble start, Guard-Lee has been located in the same location in the small town of Apopka, Florida, just northwest of Orlando. The company concentrated early in its history on providing full scale, high fidelity space replicas to museums and science centers. Tom Wilkes came to the company from then Martin Marietta in 1989, working alongside Guard-Lee’s talented technicians as a model maker and project manager. Tom became Vice President in 1999, overseeing company functions and projects while remaining active in the shops. Tom and wife Sandy went on to purchase the company in 2004 upon the retirement of Ed Guard in that same year. Ed remained a close friend and supporter of the company thereafter. The company mourned his passing in 2011, and the quality of work and service it strives for daily are standing tributes to his vision and leadership.
Tom and Sandy reside in Sanford, Florida, having raised three children there, all having attended the University of Central Florida. They are dedicated followers of Christ; the family attends Saint Andrews Chapel in Sanford.
Guard-Lee currently employs eight persons who work together to build some of the most detailed and realistic space replicas in the world. They are:
Tom Wilkes President, Designer, Model Maker, Project Manager
Linda Little Administrative Assistant
Gerry Jones Lead Technician, Designer, Model Maker, Project Manager
Rick Pittman Technician, Model Maker
Mitch Tartock Technician, Model Maker
Roy Murdock Technician, Model Maker, Metals Specialist
Curtis Breedwell Technician, Model Maker
Louis Pinero Fiberglass and MoldmakingTechnician