BEDFORD — Major production activity has led to the expansion of a local optical electronics business.
On Monday, Safran Optics 1 celebrated the groundbreaking of a 15,000-square-foot, two-story addition to its headquarters at 2 Cooper Lane.
For a company that should have been dead four years ago, Joseph Bogosian, president and CEO, thanked its workforce for its overall team accomplishments that have now led to a healthy backlog of orders.
Just three years ago, there were less than 90 workers company-wide, but now there are 186, according to Bogosian.
“We can’t hire enough of them,” he said.
Safran Optics 1 designs and builds optical systems and equipment that provides soldiers with lightweight, high-tech products. All of its production takes place inside of a three-story, 51,572-square-foot building that is about to get larger.
“This company has been hitting new records in revenue,” said Bogosian, adding it is poised to grow for the next several years and will likely hit 200 workers by the end of 2019.
Some of its products designed for special forces include handheld thermal night vision devices and pocket laser range finders.
With new, multi-year contracts in place, Bogosian said the addition will provide more production floor space, as well as a larger stock room and shipping and receiving area. The top level of the addition will be reserved for the company’s engineers.
“It is really exciting to see the ongoing economic growth in New Hampshire,” Sen. Maggie Hassan said during Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony.
She stressed the state’s ability to provide on-the-job training by coordinating industry needs with educational facilities, which helps provide a skilled workforce for companies like Safran Optics 1.
Bogosian noted the expansion is conservative, saying the company will likely need even more space in the future.
Gov. Chris Sununu described Safran Optics 1 as a model for other businesses hoping to grow and thrive in the Granite State.
“This is no small feat by any means,” Sununu told employees Monday.
Originally known as Optics 1, the company was founded by Robert Fischer, a California-based optical engineer, designer and former chief scientist for Hughes Aircraft. The Safran Group acquired Optics 1, through Vectronix, in 2009.
At the end of 2016, Vectronix Inc. merged with Optics 1 Inc., its U.S.-based research and development subsidiary, and now the company is known as Safran Optics 1 — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vectronix AG and a part of Safran Electronics & Defense, a Safran group company.
Under Bogosian’s guidance, he merged the two companies — both of them now operating in Bedford under one roof.
Hassan noted that Safran Optics’ technology being developed at the Bedford site is helping to fight terrorism and drug trafficking while also enhancing cyber security.
“You are doing critical work for our country. You are helping us be safe,” Hassan told the employees.