Richard Plympton

Richard Plympton

Job Quality Fellow, Class of 2018-19, Economic Opportunities Program

CEO, Optimax Systems, Ontario, NY

Optimax manufactures precision optics for research and industry, serving a wide variety of applications for semiconductor, medical, defense and aerospace. Founded in 1991, Optimax currently has 300+ employees sharing a corporate culture of continuous learning and employee empowerment; and continues to grow at an average rate of 20% per year.

Rick Plympton is the CEO of Optimax located in Ontario, NY. During his 22 years at Optimax, he has held several roles including Quality Manager and VP of Sales and Marketing, before taking on the role of CEO.

In 2012, he received the SBA Small Business Person of the Year award for NY State and he will be inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in October 2018. He is actively involved in supporting area colleges and the optics industry; he currently sits on the Finger Lakes Community College Foundation Board, is Vice Chair of the Finger Lakes Workforce Investment Board and Treasurer of the New York Photonics Cluster.

He holds degrees in business administration, computer science and engineering science from Finger Lakes Community College. He furthered his education at the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in Optics and an MBA.

Rick provides the leadership and vision needed to position Optimax as America’s largest and most responsive precision optics manufacturer.

Richard Plympton is a member of the Job Quality Fellowship Class of 2018-19. To learn more about the Job Quality Fellows, visit

The Job Quality Fellowship is part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at

Bio updated September 2018.

Authored by Richard