Vertex Optics - Victor, NY
When they met more than 20 years ago, business partners and friends Joe Serio and Jay Tierson didn’t envision someday standing in their own, state-of-the-art precision optics and ceramics plant to serve the aerospace, medical, defense and semi-conductor industries. Today, that’s exactly where they are, with the opening of Vertex Optics in Victor, NY.
Joe and Jay were coworkers at Optimax, a leading optics-technology manufacturer, where they learned about this demanding field. After Jay left for the equipment-production and sales end of the industry, they started sharing ideas about how to use the latest technology in more innovative ways, which led to the idea of starting a business together.
“With only about 300 firms across the U.S. in this field, we each bring something different to the table,” says Joe. “Our competitive advantages include our creative approach to solving problems, which is essential to what we do, as well as our technologically advanced ultrasonic machines and our industry experience.”
Competitors and colleagues supported their new business initiative, in a show of what Joe and Jay call “coopertition.”
“This is such a specialized industry and competing firms often partner on projects to achieve the ideal solutions to clients’ challenges,” explains Jay. “I don’t think we’d have gotten to this point without the other companies who gave us their support, including OptiPro, Photon Gear and AGI. It shows that they believe we’ll add value to the field.”
“Still, it was hard to get funding together,” Jay continues. “This is expensive equipment and we won’t settle for anything less than what we envisioned and know we can deliver.” The team met with several banks prior before connecting with Canandaigua National Bank (CNB).
(Pictued from left to right: The 504 Company's Paul Kaiser, Vertex Optics' Jay Tierson and Joe Serio, and Canandaigua National Bank's Jason Dewitt)
Their CNB representative, Jason Dewitt, introduced Joe and Jay to Paul Kaiser from the New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) and Suzanne Vary and Michael Manikowski of Ontario County Economic Development Corporation (OCEDC).
“From that moment on, everything came together,” says Joe. “Our business advisor, Paul, made sure that each step was clearly communicated and we knew exactly what we needed to do and when.” Between NYBDC, CNB and OCEDC, Vertex Optics secured five loans for equipment, leasehold improvements and working capital, including SBA 504 and 7(a) loans through NYBDC and CNB.