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Mike Bechtold

President, OptiPro Systems

Years in current role: 40

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really enjoy working with our team at OptiPro. Sharing my views and ideas on how to solve the many challenges we have as a small business in technology and operations makes every day interesting and challenging which I love. Many small, medium and large manufacturing companies, prime contractors and several government agencies have entrusted OptiPro to be a key player and partner in their manufacturing programs. We strive to maintain the best products, customer service and support possible and have a real focus on delivering what we promise. This is the biggest reason for our growth, and watching it work and flourish has been really rewarding. Finally working with our amazing team, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters is incredible! They are the best part of my job! They don’t give up!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

A big challenge for us this year has been the supply chain situation, rising material costs, and drastically increasing shipping charges. We now have to spend a lot of resource time on all of these to make sure that we can react and adjust our pricing and charges accordingly. We have worked hard over the last several years to improve our on-time deliveries and the current economic situation makes this much more difficult and many times impossible.

Fortunately, most customers understand as they also face the same challenges.

What has been your organization’s biggest success over the past year?

Our biggest success over the past year has been that, with all the challenges of COVID, we have been able to increase our workforce and sales in all three of our business sectors. We have successfully won several Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation awards. We developed new machines and automation solutions while continuing to improve our existing products. Our team has been selected as a key partner for “technology development” by several Prime Contractors, small and medium sized businesses and government agencies, including NASA, NAVAIR, NAVSEA, DOE, and the DHS,. With all of that we have also focused on our business management methods and ways to improve all that we do.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the technology industry over the next year?

Manufacturing companies in all sectors:precision optics, tool and die, job shops, sheet metal fabrication, and companies with their own products are all moving towards automation. This includes CNC machine tending and part loading, welding, grinding, polishing and finishing, in-process part inspection, etc.

These solutions are getting increasingly complex and capable. Artificial Intelligence, sensing technologies, software, computing power, all make this possible and exciting to participate in. OptiPro started in the arena approximately 5-6 years ago and it will most likely be the fastest expanding area of our business.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

OptiPro focuses our community support on “technology education and awareness.” Encouraging the local schools at all levels to take advantage of student tours at our company to see the variety of job opportunities that exist in the our world of technology. We support the high school robotic programs in engineering assistance and materials support. We have close ties with RIT, U of R, FLCC, and MCC in engineering collaboration, co-ops, tours, adjunct faculty assistance, curriculum, mastercamsoftware training for instructors, etc. We support FAME through participation and support of their Scholarship Foundation.

In addition,OptiPro now manages the optics community’s fundraiser golf tournament, raising tens of thousands of dollars every year to support the Golisano’s Children Center.

This profile is part of Rochester Business Journal's Power 50 Technology list for 2022. Information used in this profile was sourced from the honoree. View the full list at rbj.net.

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