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Business Leadership

Business leadership is viewed as another opportunity to model the way. The leadership team at Optimax encourages its employees to be leaders in the workplace and the community. Our dedication to workforce development and filling the pipeline with skilled technology workers has been a major factor in our community outreach. Our leadership’s commitment to this work has attracted recognition throughout the community.

SBA: New York State Small Business Person of the Year Award


Rick Plympton, CEO, and Mike Mandina, President, Optimax Systems were awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2012 New York State Small Business Person of the Year award.

The SBA award recognizes individuals for their role in driving our nation’s economic growth as well as personal achievements and evaluates nominees based on; staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales, current and past financial performance, innovativeness of product or service, response to adversity, contributions to community-oriented projects, and markets served.




RBJ Financial Executive of the Year – Midsized Business

tk-rbj-financial-exec-award  Optimax CFO Tom Kelly was awarded the Rochester Business Journal’s Financial Executive of the Year award in 2016. The award recognizes contributions to organization and the community during the past year.

Tom has more than thirty years of financial experience and an Executive MBA from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester.


New York Business Hall Of Fame

nybhofIn 2008, Mike Mandina, President of Optimax, was recognized for his work with Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers’ Enterprise (FAME). FAME’s mission is to commit to the region’s advanced manufacturing companies and to built world-class workforce talent that has the skills, inspiration and motivation to advance the industry. Their vision is to create the mot profitable and productive region in advanced manufacturing.

RRPC Leadership Award

plymptonaThe RRPC Leadership Award recipient for 2016 is Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems, for working with fellow members and the community to promote the Rochester Region’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry.

Plympton is recognized for his career work with the regional and national optics, photonics and imaging industries. In his position as a board member with the New York Photonics cluster Plympton has initiated strategies, helped fund initiatives and promoted New York’s OPI industry for nearly two decades.



RRPC Education Award

Jimmy AwardThe RRPC (Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster) Education Award is given to a member for “inspiring students to embrace Optics, Photonics, and Imaging sciences and guiding them in career development.” James (Jim) Van Kouwenberg, training coordinator and master optician at Optimax was the 2013 recipient of this award.

Jim is a graduate of the Monroe Community College (MCC) Optical Systems Technology program. MCC is a well-known and respected source of education and training for optical technicians, and has collaborated with the RRPC since 2011 on the RRPC Optics “Summer Sizzler” program to get local high-school student interested in optics. Van Kouwenberg has worked with the Summer Sizzler, and also with East High School’s Optics Manufacturing program, as well as teaching at Monroe Community College (MCC).

RRPC Entrepreneur Award

The RRPC (Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster) Entrepreneur of The Year Award is given to a member who demonstrates creativity, innovation and drive in pursuit of creating a world-leading company in the Optics and Photonics industry. Mike Mandina was the 2009 recipient of this award.

Mike’s entrepreneurship started in 1976 when he started Cormac Industries with his partner, Warren Carlough. In 1980, Cormac was sold to Melles Griot. Optimax was founded in 1991 and Mike shortly joined the team thereafter  Under his leadership, the company has seen exponential growth.

To read about the RRPC Entrepreneur of The Year Award, click here: Mike Mandina: 2009 RRPC Entrepreneur of the Year.