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- Website: www.precisionot.com
- Top Executive: Todd Davis, CEO
- Local Employees: 37
- Headquarters: Rochester, NY
- Founded: 2011
- Total Employees: 41
- Years on List: 1
- Last Year’s Rank: –
Precision Optical Transceivers: cutting-edge, customer-facing
As a teenager, Todd Davis learned important lessons about customer service that still guide him as the CEO of Precision Optical Transceivers.
Davis, who grew up in Greece, worked at a Wegmans supermarket, pushing around shopping carts and then running a cash register. He likes to tell his Precision OT staff that if a person brought a half-eaten lobster back to Wegmans, that customer would still get a full refund.
“Their mindset is that they want you to keep shopping there for 50 years,” Davis explained.
That mindset, along with his experience as an engineer at Harris RF Communications during a time of tremendous company growth, guides him in his leadership at Precision Optical Transceivers. The company earned the No. 2 spot on the 2018 Rochester Chamber Top 100 list for growing its revenue an impressive 600 percent in the last three years.
Precision OT manufactures and supplies optical components to the cable and telecommunications industries. Davis described optical transceivers in layman’s terms as “a transmitter and receiver crash/smashed into one.” Precision OT’s products find their way into a variety of sectors, including health care, higher education, government and web 2.0 companies such as Facebook and Google.
Although Precision OT’s focus is technology, people skills are key, according to Davis, and he hires accordingly. Employees “care that when the customer asks us something, we support their needs and don’t let them down.” Davis called that a “customer-facing model.”
COO Lisa Simmons agreed. “We really do see it through, from the beginning with the sales people right to the end of production.”
Precision OT customers range from small companies to ones with thousands of employees. “We build good relationships so they feel confident in what they have, can ask questions, and we have the knowledge,” Simmons said.
Having partnerships with area higher education institutions has been a key to success. Prior to relocating to Eastman Business Park in 2017, Precision OT was located along the Erie Canal in Brockport and developed a partnership with the College at Brockport. Precision OT now offers two full scholarships to students in their senior year, and the company accounts for about half its staff as Brockport grads in roles ranging from sales to production.
Precision OT is also a partner in the Future Photon Initiative at Rochester Institute of Technology and has RIT grads on its staff, too.
When it comes to company culture, Davis’ philosophy is simple: “I try to make sure everyone enjoys going to work.”
Simmons noted that work schedules are flexible. For her as a parent, that’s been key. “We all know what we have to do, and we do our work. We work together as a team and make sure we get our job done.”
Simmons praised Davis for his leadership and for not being a micro-manager. Davis in turn praised his staff: “There’s no way that we would have been able to grow without people stepping up and just taking care of things, making decisions and getting it done.”
He also noted that having the company in Rochester is a plus. “We are lucky that Rochester has a lot of engineers, and if they’re not here, they’re happy to move here.” The reasonable housing prices (despite high property taxes) and a cost of living that’s lower than other cities are a big draw.
Davis founded Precision OT to take advantage of a big demand for transceivers that occurred after a devastating flood in Thailand in 2011, which knocked out a number of suppliers. Davis saw the effect on his customers at a telecom company he had started, and he decided to jump in to fill that void.
Getting Precision OT involved in the AIM Photonics consortium, also located at Eastman Business Park, has been an exciting development for the company, Davis said. “We have a team of about 15 engineers working on this technology, and the integrated photonics technology is the integration between electronics and photonics, and that’s exactly what an optical transceiver is, so it makes a lot of sense for us to invest in the technology.”
Involvement in AIM Photonics is an important way that Precision OT can stay on top of changes in technology, along with talking with their customers and attending trade shows, Davis said.
“Will transceivers go away some day? I don’t know, maybe, but the world is still going to need to connect their computers, routers and switches together optically,” Davis said. No doubt he plans to keep Precision OT on the cutting edge of developments to serve their customers.