Olympus celebrates 40 years in San Jose and plans a move – in San Jose

Eddie Garces, Olympus’ founding executive, addresses the company’s 40th Anniversary in San Jose

San Jose has been proud to be the home of Olympus America’s National Service Center for 40 years.  An OED contingent attended the company’s outstanding anniversary party on August 30, 2019.

The employee celebration was held over the lunch hour on a lovely lawn next to the Olympus building, and featured imaginative and nostalgic costumes, multiple food stations including a make-your-own sundae experience, and a totally groovy playlist straight from the 1970s. Eddie Garces, the facility’s founding executive who retired last year, was honored and there were many employees there who were celebrating 10, 20, and 30-year careers with the company.

At the company’s opening on October 5, 1979, Olympus was presented the Key to the City of San Jose, by then-Mayor Janet Gray Hayes. At the 40th Anniversary party, OED was given a private tour of the Olympus history display that featured this key and many other San Jose commendations and proclamations, along with the impressive historical timeline of the facility’s achievements over 40 years, such as developing “Y2K compliant” processes, and being named one of the best places to work in San Jose. The tour was conducted by William Arroyo, Project Lead, who has been with Olympus for 11 years.

The poignancy of the event was underscored by the company’s plans to relocate in order to expand – while still staying in San Jose. When the current facility was built, it only had to accommodate about 200 employees. Now the facility holds 800 employees and runs three eight-hour shifts, operating 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, with an eight-hour shift on Saturdays.

“Three shifts and no parking – time to move!” said Mike Jensen, Director, Process Innovation and Analytics, who has worked at Olympus since 1993. “We have even had to rent parking from the church across the street!”

Dan Scalzo, VP Service Engineering and Repair, who started with Olympus in the QA Department in 1988, noted that 40+ years ago, when the original National Service Center West building was being planned, many decisions were made that ensured the facility would be able to handle expansion. He is counting on this being the case for the new facility, which should be ready for move-in by 2020.

Dan also shared that keeping the National Service Center in San Jose is definitely a bottom-line issue beyond its emotional significance – the company does not expect to lose a single employee because of a change of commute. Employee longevity is clearly valuable to this company that is so dependent on a deep level of technical skill and product experience.

For a fuller description of Olympus and its history in San Jose, please check out our post on Eddie Garces and his remarkable 43-year career with Olympus.