It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Olympus Corp. of the Americas packed its bags and moved its North and South American headquarters from Melville, N.Y., to Center Valley.
The Lehigh Valley’s economic development officials lauded the move as a big win that would bring hundreds of jobs to the region.
It has. Starting in 2006 with 600 staffers, the company now has nearly 1,000 at its Center Valley campus, and Olympus has become one of the area’s largest employers.
But not everyone was a new hire. Some Olympus loyalists at its old headquarters braved the move from Long Island to the Lehigh Valley.
One of those employees was Scott Hennessey, executive director of digital and creative services.
“I’m diehard Long Island – born and raised,” Hennessey said. “But, I was open minded because of my love of this company.”
So, he and his wife move their two daughters – with one on the way – to Center Valley.
He never looked back.
“Center Valley has been good to me,” he said. He loves that he only has a short commute to the office, rather than the hour-long commute he had to get to his office on Long Island. “And it’s nice to see wildlife running through my yard.
He also said he thinks the Lehigh Valley has been good for Olympus. He said since not everybody made the move like he did, they needed to find good people.
He said the Lehigh Valley has a strong pool of skilled and talented workers that has helped the company grow.
Stephanie Fabrizio, communications manager for Olympus, agreed. She said one thing the company has accomplished since its move to the Lehigh Valley has been building its brand as a medical device company.
“When we first came here, all anyone knew about us was cameras,” she said.
Now, with professionals such as Christine Duborg, director of corporate social responsibility, on the team, the company’s reputation in the medical device field has grown.
Duborg, a Lehigh Valley native, said her experience had all been in the medical field, mostly in pharmaceutical sales.
When she heard Olympus was hiring, she was hoping to translate that experience into supporting Olympus’ medical device sales.
Still, pharmaceutical and device sales are different.
“They really took a chance on me,” she said.
Now, 8 ½ years after she started, Duborg has built a rewarding career with the company.
“Growing up here, it was a perfect situation to see a business of this caliber in the Lehigh Valley within a 15-minute commute,” she said.
Hennessey and Duborg were among the 700 employees who took part in a major anniversary celebration July 20 at the Center Valley headquarters.
Fabrizio, who helped organize the event, said she was excited to see so many of the staff participate.
“At 4 o’clock, the doors opened, and there was everybody spilling out onto the lawn. It was like a movie,” she said.
Hennessey described it as “a sea of blue,” referring to the official Olympus blue shirts everyone wore to show their company pride at the party.
Not that he was surprised.
“We really bleed blue here,” he said.