Building a Lasting Optical Design and Manufacturing Company
Jay Kumler
DOI: 10.1117/3.786604.ch8
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Excerpt

Aviator Charles Lindbergh said, “Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered, and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” To that definition, we would add, “Success is also measured by the fun that you have with great people in the process.”

What factors have enabled Coastal Optical Systems to compete successfully? We try to find the right people, and we concentrate on those things that we do best. The success our company has achieved can be credited to the dedicated, hard-working team at Coastal. Each day we try to be a little better at what we do. This chapter will describe some of the lessons we have learned along the way.

8.1 Background

Coastal Optical Systems grew out of the disintegration of the U.S. defense industry in the early 1990's. Observers have written that difficult economies and times of market change are the best time to start a new company. The great downsizing of defense-related photonics from 1989 to 1991 was the period of market upheaval that birthed Coastal Optical Systems.

Our business plan (written in 1991) outlined our strategy for growth:

• Evolve from 100% aerospace and defense to 75% commercial and 25% aerospace.

• Transition from 100% optical components to 100% precision lens assemblies.

• Help customers rapidly take new designs from the drawing board to hardware (optical design, mechanical design, fabrication, and test under one roof).

© 2008 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

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