"It's our future, let's build it together"

5 Questions with Daniel Gray

July 28, 2021

What services does Gray Optics provide to the healthcare and life sciences industries?

Daniel Gray,
Founder and Principal Optical Engineer, Gray Optics

Gray Optics is a leader in the development of complex optical systems for medical, life science and industrial markets. For example, one of our more recent large projects involved designing custom lenses for a robotic surgical system. We are highly differentiated in the design, assembly, and testing of complex optical systems, illumination systems, lens assemblies, optics modules and complete optical subsystems. As an independent innovation partner, we provide engineering services as an extension of our clients’ team. We find the optimal solution that solves our customer’s optical design and assembly challenges and enables them to win in their chosen markets.

How have you integrated your passion for entrepreneurship with your background in optical engineering?

Having grown up in a household where both parents operated their own businesses, entrepreneurship was something I always aspired to do. After completing my Ph.D. in Optics, I worked at established technology companies, including General Electric. At that time, I realized that I am motivated most by the later stages of the technology development process, where there is a strong chance that the work goes into a product that solves ‘real-world’ problems and impacts people positively. Finally, I am inspired to help develop an organization around the right values and culture.  These factors led me to start Gray Optics in Portland Maine, an emerging high-tech hub for photonics technology and medical device companies like ours.

What is Gray Optics’ growth strategy, and how does it assist healthcare technology companies in mitigating challenges related to surgical procedures and imaging?

We focus on supporting original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that aim to scale to volume production, paralleled with our effort to evolve the company from a design engineering firm to a fully integrated manufacturing company. Our ideal customer provides the potential for Gray Optics’ integration into a development project at the concept phase, then onto manufacturing scale-up for regulated and non-regulated devices. In our projects, we engage with our customers in a collaborative partnership by offering design engineering, precision assembly, and metrology services for advanced optical products.

What resources, partners, and companies have been helpful to Gray Optics as it has continued to grow?

The business and technology community in Maine has been wonderfully supportive. Our early work with Maine Technology Institute and Maine MEP helped establish the right direction for our company. We are also active members of the Bioscience Association of Maine. As we look for further support in our growth, we expect to continue collaborating with MTI as well as will be forming connections with the Finance Authority of Maine. Most importantly, however, we have benefited greatly from the talent that drives our organization’s growth and success.  We have hired many qualified Mainers on our staff, and have been able to attract other high-tech talent to move to Maine and take advantage of the cultural and natural beauty of our state.

You’ll be presenting a Tech Talk on August 8. Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be discussing?

I’m excited to take part in the CMGC Tech Talk. In my presentation, I will discuss my path to entrepreneurship in Maine, Gray Optics’ mission and company culture, the top 4 pitfalls in new product development, and how optics and photonics can improve and save lives, as told through several customer success stories.

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Last modified: August 2, 2021

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