Optics Makers Help Each Other Recover After Disasters
We’ve seen it time and again. We’ve HELPED one another time and again.
It’s one light source this industry would rather not deal with.
Fire has affected at least four Northeast optics manufacturers in recent years, destroying inventory, machines and even entire buildings.
No employees or firefighters were injured in any of the fires, though an electrician suffered severe burns while working on damaged equipment at one fire site several days after the fact. None of the fires was deemed suspicious.
Remarkably, each of the businesses was able to bounce back after the fires, resuming production and shipments within weeks or even days. Solid insurance policies helped make that happen, but business leaders said they also had a lot of help from other companies in the optics industry — many of them small, family-operated enterprises. As each disaster struck, competitors temporarily became allies.
“We call it coopetition” — that is, cooperative competition — said Ron Schulmerich, business development manager at Esco Optics Inc. The New Jersey company recently bought a new facility after fire destroyed its original building last year.
“Our competitors literally helped us stay afloat,” said John O’Herron Jr., general manager of Angstrom Precision Optics Inc. in Rochester, N.Y. His company was burned out of its original building in 2012, and now rents space from another optics manufacturer.