Andrew Lynch Physics and Astronomy
Company: Edmund Optics, Inc.
Title: Senior Manager of Inside Sales
Field of Work: Engineering
What do you do?
I lead a technical sales team comprised of over 30 individuals with a variety of skills and backgrounds. Roughly half of the team has bachelor-level (or higher) degrees in engineering, optics, physics, biomedical, or a related ‘hard science.’ Every day my team and I work to develop and/or support a wide variety of optics-based project needs from our wide and varied customer base. Almost all of the applications are both fascinating and challenging!
How did you become interested in your field?
I first chose to attend UR because of its renowned physics and astronomy program. My related interest in telescopes drove me to learn more about optical engineering. Once I learned more about the rapidly growing optics and photonics industry, and all of the exciting developments and related opportunities, I was hooked.
What skills are vital for success in your field?
Creative problem solving, with a knack for communicating complex technical concepts in simpler terms. Almost every industry uses optics these days, but most companies still don't employ their own optical engineers. This means we all spend a lot of time ‘translating’ optics jargon and concepts to engineers of other disciplines (mechanical, electrical, biomedical, systems, etc.).
What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?
My physics degree—coupled with my passion and experience related to telescopes—landed me my entry-level position. My subsequent promotions, which ultimately led to my current position, were a result of me striking out into uncharted territory, taking calculated risks, and leveraging experience into informed leadership.
What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?
For those interested in optics, attend the Institute of Optics’ Industrial Associates meetings! The IA meetings occur twice a year (usually in March and October) and they are open to all interested students. These meetings are a GREAT way to freely and easily interact with members from industry. There's a good mix of formal and informal sessions, and most companies send recent grads who want to learn about you just as much as you want to learn about them.