Blue Ridge Optics, a Bedford-based company, recently received the 2013 Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business’ Institute for Business in Society in the manufacturing/wholesale sector category. Blue Ridge Optics develops film coatings and laser components for aerospace contractors.
Below is the press release from the UVa Darden School of Business.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — The University of Virginia Darden School of Business’ Institute for Business in Society (IBiS) announced the winners of the 2013 Tayloe Murphy Resilience Awards competition. State and local officials, economic development and business leaders from around the Commonwealth attended the special awards ceremony held last night at Darden to honor the 13 finalists.
From Bedford to Culpeper to Charlottesville to Petersburg, the five winners represent some of the most resilient businesses in Virginia — those that display growth, a dogged entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to community in areas facing high unemployment, high poverty and low entrepreneurial activity.
“The Resilience Awards recognize small businesses that do things the right way. These companies foster innovation, strengthen communities and create jobs,” said Darden Professor and IBiS academic director Greg Fairchild, a nationally known expert on entrepreneurship. “Over the past few years I’ve been amazed at the dedication and perseverance that these business owners demonstrate.”
The recipients were selected from 13 finalists and dozens of Virginia businesses that submitted applications between 15 April and 31 July:
Manufacturing/Wholesale Sector: Blue Ridge Optics
From the town of Bedford, Blue Ridge Optics provides the world’s leading aerospace contractors with high quality, thin film coatings and laser components. Since President Walter Siehien founded the company seven years ago, Blue Ridge Optics has grown from two to 22 employees and become an industry leader. But, with more than 90 percent of sales revenue coming from the U.S. military, the company had to restructure its operations last year due to looming cutbacks in defense spending. To diversify its portfolio, Blue Ridge Optics targeted the commercial and medical laser optics industries, shifted marketing and invested in automated manufacturing equipment. In just one year, the company posted sales of 28 percent to commercial and medical sectors while projecting an overall sales increase of 20 percent for 2013. Following its philosophy of planned growth with an emphasis on a retainable, well-compensated employee base will play a major role in Blue Ridge Optics’ long term success and its positive impact on Bedford.
“Unlike our competitors, our focus is on research and development goals versus manufacturing volume. Our commitment to R&D is what makes Blue Ridge Optics a trusted partner and why the world’s leading researchers turn to our experienced engineers.” — Walter Siehien, president & CEO