Q&A with Dave Montgomery, VP of Business Development | Optometrics
The Dynasil family of companies delivers an extensive range of photonics-based products and capabilities. But Dynasil itself is a product of its workforce. In this Q&A, we meet Dave Montgomery, VP of Business Development at Optometrics.
Q: Tell us about your role.
Dave: As the VP of Business Development, I lead our sales team. My team and I focus on identifying new business opportunities in photonics with both new and existing customers. We do this by first seeking to understand the challenges they are facing so we can share specific ways in which Optometrics can uniquely deliver a solution. Clear communication really is at the heart of my role — it’s absolutely critical that I communicate clearly and effectively with our customers and our engineering and manufacturing teams to ensure that we fully meet each customers’ expectations. It’s these win-win situations that we seek in every engagement.
Q: How did you become involved in optics?
Dave: My career in optics began 36 years ago. After 12 years on the operations side of the business where I honed a deep understanding of the mechanics of building components, I moved into customer-facing roles in sales and business development. And over the past 24 years, I have had the good fortune of working with many great people at both small companies and large corporations. The optics industry is an incredibly exciting place to be — constant innovations in equipment and tools, as well as applications in photonics-based technologies. I tried to retire a few years ago, but less than a year later, I wanted back in. I really missed helping customers tackle product challenges. I had gotten away from this as my role became more about reporting on the business and less about directly interacting with customers. So, I decided to look for an opportunity with a growing company that was focused on their customers…and that’s what I found in Optometrics.
Q: One year in, what has surprised you most about operations at Optometrics?
Dave: When I initially started talking with the team at Optometrics, I was impressed by two things. One — the renewed focus and investment in technology, including improved metrology equipment; and two — the collaborative team spirit. Everyone has a voice at Optometrics, and in service to solving customer challenges, everyone is encouraged to use that voice. Getting back to a smaller, more collaborative team where every one has a hand in solutions was very appealing.
Now, with a year under my belt, I guess what has surprised me the most about Optometrics is the extent of our capabilities. I knew they manufactured filters, gratings, and other components used to manage and control wavelengths like polarizers, beam splitters and monochromators. What I did not appreciate was that Optometrics is one of very few manufactures in the world that have multiple ruling engines to produce ruled masters for replication and ruled production gratings, as well as two holographic grating labs — one specifically for masters and R&D and another for mass production. These capabilities are clear differentiators that enable us to deliver truly customized tools and solutions to OEMs.
Q: Do you have any advice for OEMs needing custom products?
Dave: The best advice I can offer is to involve us as early as possible in your development process. The better we understand your application, material, design and technical requirements, the better equipped we are to provide the best solution within your specified timeline. The “discovery” phase of a project can sometimes feel like 20 questions, but we believe it is foundational because having a thorough understanding of the development landscape from the start enables faster development and troubleshooting and maximizes mutual success.
Q: What do you think differentiates Optometrics from its competitors?
Dave: I think one of the most important things we do very well at Optometrics is support the customer, and again it comes down to communication. Our engineering, quality and operations teams all actively participate on projects. Having our engineers communicate directly with the customers’ engineers and our quality team communicate directly with the customer’s quality team streamlines projects. My team acts as a catalyst and a facilitator for the expertise that each person brings to the table. I’m also finding that being a smaller company frees us from the rigidity of larger companies which allows us to be more flexible and willing to think outside the box to support our customer’s needs. For example, we are seeing fewer companies who retain optical engineers on staff, and we’re happy to lend our expertise to customers, as needed. If you have never worked with Optometrics or have not worked with us recently, please give us a chance to earn your trust. We will not disappoint you.
Q: What has been your favorite project so far?
Dave: I have always been proud that many of our products are used in the Life and Health Sciences equipment, but with the COVID-19 pandemic this year, it has become even more meaningful. In late March when the pandemic really started to take off, we were contacted by two of our customers who use our gratings and beam splitters to produce instruments that monitor patients who are being treated in the critical care units of hospitals. We were asked to effectively double our production overnight to support the growing demand for their instruments. Our management team made this the number one priority with safeguards in place for our employees’ health, safety, and well-being. I am so proud of the effort and flexibility our team displayed to support this increased demand while continuing to support demand from other customers. I truly hope this pandemic is in our rear-view mirror soon, but at the same time, I am comforted to see what our team is capable of, when needed.
About Optometrics, a Dynasil Company
Optometrics is an ISO 9001:2015 and ITAR certified supplier of optical components and sub-assemblies dedicated to wavelength selection and light management solutions for defense, security, research, academia and OEM customers globally. Through its principal processes of mechanical ruling, holographic recording, photolithography, optical thin film coatings, and opto-mechanical assembly, the company has become known as a world-class manufacturer of optical instruments including diffraction gratings, filters, wire grid polarizers, monochromators, and beamsplitters and has capacity to manufacture and assemble more than 500,000 precision replicated components annually. Learn more about Optometrics, and our custom and OEM solutions.