Exceptional Magazine : 2017 Exceptional Magazine
24 Exceptional Australia 2017 Shining a light on innovation Technology category Q What gave you the idea to invent a plastic lighting system? A My childhood spent hunting and fishing with my grandfather planted the initial seeds. After searching the retail market for a high-quality and robust spotlight to use on my property and finding nothing suitable, I decided to build one myself. I realised there was a gap in the market for quality equipment, and this eventually led me to starting my own businesses. Q Tell us about your quest for innovation. A Lightforce Australia was the first lighting company to patent polycarbonate driving lights, an idea that has now been copied worldwide as patents expire. Now providing aftermarket lighting products to some of the largest car manufacturers in the world, we successfully dominate the upper end of this market and are recognised as an industry leader. Q The innovation didn’t stop there did it? A The success of Lightforce locally encouraged me to embark on an expansion program centred on the US. I identified deficiencies in the rifle optics market and subsequently designed my own optics platform. Our products are created to be rugged, reliable and repeatable, which made them perfect for entry into the defence procurement market. We established the Nightforce business in 1992 with a state-of-the- art optics manufacturing facility. This was developed to address the growing demand for our optics concepts. Nightforce rifle scopes are now used on six continents in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth. In 1992, he expanded into the US market, where specialising in optics technology enabled Ray to access the defence procurement market. This resulted in the creation of the Nightforce Optics (Nightforce) business. Ongoing product development has opened up new markets, and Lightforce’s award-winning range of modular accessories has helped increase demand to the point where the company now exports to more than 50 countries worldwide. Q Have you faced any significant challenges with the businesses? A We faced a battle in marketing an all-plastic lighting concept, as this was not the industry standard. However, its practicality and durability became apparent and it soon became the benchmark for the sporting light industry. Our focus on product quality and high-level performance has resulted in world-class rifle optics and the highest performing portable lighting systems available in the marketplace. Q How do you ensure the business stays innovative? A We have created two innovation groups and a gated new product introduction process for both Nightforce and Lightforce. The charter of these groups is to provide a forum for creative thinking, new technology and generation of ideas, to determine the suitability, viability and potential of new products for introduction. I am a pivotal contributor, providing technological solutions for both product development groups. Q What’s next for Lightforce? A Our mission is to be the global leader in premium performance lighting, rifles and rifle optics, and our growth plans are based on expanding the international markets for both Lightforce and Nightforce. We will continue to use new technologies, with our group of optical, mechanical and electrical engineers providing optimal quality and performance.
2016 Exceptional Magazine