Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

Optimax announces $20M expansion; will hire up to 50

Optimax is spending $20 million to expand at its Ontario, Wayne County, operations. It will also create up to 50 jobs through the expansion

LOCATE Finger Lakes is grateful to the Finger Lakes Times for reporting on this exciting news about Optimax, great company in the region. 


A Wayne County optics manufacturer is spending $20 million to expand its operations in the town of Ontario and create up to 50 jobs, Empire State Development announced Thursday.

ESD said Optimax Systems Inc. is adding a 36,000-square-foot addition to its existing facility on Dean Parkway off Route 104. ESD, the state’s economic development agency, said the expanded operations, with support from ESD, “will allow Optimax Systems to raise the bar when it comes to supplying optics for its customers and will help the company solidify its brand and credibility in the worldwide optics manufacturing community.”

Besides the 50 jobs to be created over the next five years, another 355 positions will be retained, ESD said. In 2018, the company committed to creating up to 59 jobs at the site through previous support from the state and it has already exceeded that commitment, ESD noted.

The building expansion is expected to be completed in 2023.

“Optimax continues to position itself at the cutting edge of the Optics manufacturing industry,” said company President Joe Spilman. “As the company has grown and we have established footholds in new markets, demand for our work is increasing at a pace significantly faster than anything we have seen in the past. This expansion and the associated investment in people and equipment ensures that we can continue to learn and grow with our customers. Empire State Development has once again stepped up, providing support for this expansion and ensuring that this growth continues in the Finger Lakes Region. We are thrilled to partner with ESD and look forward to continuing our mission of driving customer success and employee prosperity for years to come.”

ESD said it is providing up to $700,000 through the Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit Program in return for job creation commitments and the retention of hundreds of existing jobs. Wayne County and Greater Rochester Enterprise also are offering assistance for the project, ESD noted.

“New York state’s strategic investments have supported the Finger Lakes Region’s continued growth as an optics, photonics and imaging hub,” said Hope Knight, ESD’s acting CEO and commissioner. “Our focused commitment to workforce development and 21st century jobs means that companies like Optimax Systems can continue to grow here, with a pipeline to the tech talent they need.”

Founded in 1991, Optimax Systems focuses on technologies that include fiber optic telecommunications, solid-state lighting, digital photography, displays and diagnostic medicine. They also operate in the aerospace, government research and defense industries.

Local and state officials lauded the announcement:

State Sen. Pam Helming:
“Optimax continues to demonstrate its leadership as an innovator in the optics industry and a major employer
in the Finger Lakes region. Thank you to Joe Spilman, Rick Plympton, Mike Mandina and the entire Optimax team for their additional investment in growth and jobs in Wayne County. I’d also like to thank Optimax for its leadership in building a skilled workforce in our region through programs like FAME. Optimax provides outstanding career opportunities in hightech manufacturing, with quality products made in America. We are proud to have Optimax headquartered in the 54th District.”

State Assemblyman Brian Manktelow:
“It is great to see cutting-edge companies like Optimax Systems Inc. making an investment in our community. In the fast moving age we are in, people across the nation and the globe need high-speed fiber optic telecommunication. Their technological advancements in the field of diagnostic medicine will play a part in further lifesaving diagnoses, and we are proud that we can call them a local business. I would like to thank Optimax President Joe Spilman for making this investment in our community and providing over 400 jobs for our residents.”

Wayne County Economic Development Director Brian Pincelli:
“Optimax continues to set the bar on innovation, talent attraction, and workforce development. I am not surprised that they are growing again. Their workforce culture and business model will only continue to contribute to their success. We’re very proud to have them in Wayne County.”

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Co-Chair Bob Duffy, who is also president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce:
“Not only is Optimax known for its breakthrough optics technology, but for a supportive workplace culture that focuses on mentorship and employee prosperity. We thank President Joe Spilman for continuing to invest in our region and people with this exciting expansion.”

Matt Hurlbutt, president and CEO, Greater Rochester Enterprise:
“Innovation is in Optimax’s DNA, perfectly aligned with the talented workforce and innovative spirit found throughout the Greater Rochester, New York region. The outstanding optics and photonics workforce pipeline and ecosystem made this community the right place for Optimax to expand its business.”

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