April 29, 2020
Peter Waszkiewicz, President and CEO, Randolph Engineering
Pioneers in eyewear production achieved the American Dream at Randolph Engineering with an innovative mix of enduring military heritage, enhanced with tech-savvy lifestyle frame designs.
Peter Waszkiewiez, President and CEO relates the spirited history of the Massachusetts company.
Q: Give a brief history of Randolph Engineering’s evolution, and your continuing family operated expansion from military grade specs into contemporary, lifestyle brands.
A: Randolph Engineering, Inc. was started in 1973 by two Polish immigrants, Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zaleski, in pursuit of ‘theAmericanDream’ofowningtheirownbusiness. Machinists and tool makers by trade, they both learnt about the optical trade by working at Marine Optical for eight years. My father, Jan was the lead mechanical engineer at Marine. As eyewear manufacturing started going offshore for better margins and fixed costs, Randolph needed to diversify as we were losing our customer base. That’s when we started producing our own optical frames, first handmade acetate followed by metal eyewear.
A few years later we were fortunate to get involved in military contract work. Randolph produced eyewear solely for the military until the mid 90’s when we started selling our aviator pilot sunglasses to entrepreneurial business minded individuals in Europe. This was the beginning of our lifestyle brand, our distributor network and entry into the commercial global market.
Q: Designing eyewear for the US military and Navy submarines is compelling. What might be some of the possible demands and concerns involved with this venture?
A: When designing standard issue eyewear for the military, it’s all about “Form, Fit & Function”. Fashion takes a back seat.
The product must form or work well in conjunction with other soldier apparatus such as head gear, helmets in particular; the product must be designed to fit well, leaving little to no discomfort during extended periods of wear; and lastly the product must be designed to function well under certain environmental and physical conditions.
Q: All Randolph products are crafted in Massachusetts – a unique achievement as so much manufacturing has moved abroad. How is Randolph able to attain this remarkable independence?
A: It’s not easy and quite frankly it’s something we struggle with every day. In a lot of ways we are isolated here in the US, in the sense that the optical supply chain dried up years ago when frame manufacturing left this country back in the late 70’s early 80’s. Therefore, we are forced to train every new employee we hire and constantly search out vendors that can meet the demand and needs of our new product development. We are an ISO 9001 approved company and over the years we have learnt to create the processes and training schedules needed to meet the high challenges that new product development brings.
\\ Sunglasses with sleek, contemporary styling in premium materials
Q: The collections are distributed in over 85 countries. Does the customer profile - or demographics - vary greatly in different places?
A: Yes our demographics vary in different countries. We have traditionally been known as a company with a strong military heritage providing superior aviator flight glasses to the US military and allied countries. Our core customer profile has traditionally been male dominant, with a strong connection to military, aviation, technology and quality. Randolph continues to pursue our vision of becoming a globally recognized brand; our new collections are being designed to appeal to a wider audience. Fashion is now being implemented into our product, using new, fun frame and lens colour combinations, along with new eye shapes and temple designs, never venturing too far away from our roots and DNA.
\\ “The White Gold Collection raises the bar for elegance and quality”
Q: Randolph recently launched the White Gold Collection. What inspirational guidelines prompted these elegant designs?
A: We have a fanatical core base of customers. So we thought it would be fun to offer them something very special, our way of saying thank you for believing in our product and quality. The White Gold collection is stunningly beautiful and raises the bar for elegance and quality. They are my personal favourite.
Q: The Randolph corporate partnership with the exceptional Vet Dogs charity is very special and has helped countless Vets. How did the company choose to work with this compassionate, charitable organization?
A: When our VP of Global Marketing, Antonio Izzo approached me about a corporate partnership with Vet Dogs, I thought wow, what a great way to give back to our Vets. It has been an honour to supply the US military with their eyewear needs all these years. What a great way to “pay it forward” as our way of saying thank you for your services.
"Our plans are to continue to grow the company in pursuit of our vision.
Our founders built a solid foundation and created a legacy that has formed our heritage and culture..."
"Vet Dogs - what a great way to give back to our Vets"
Q: In a few years, Randolph celebrates a half-century milestone. Are there projected plans for expansion of your captivating heritage into new ventures or partnerships?
A: Our plans are to continue to grow the company in pursuit of our vision. Our founders built a solid foundation and created a legacy that has formed our heritage and culture. We are 100% family owned and operated, and have grown the business into what it is today, all through organic growth. We are always willing to keep an open window for new ventures or partnerships, provided it’s in the best interest of the brand and the people who make Randolph what it is today.