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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
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As Lew Danielson read a worn, creased piece of yellow ruled notebook paper before work nearly 18 years ago he didn’t know he was reading the future.
Danielson is now the CEO and chairman of the board of Crimson Trace, the company he co-founded in 1994 based upon the mission statement that he wrote on that worn piece of paper dated “9/28/93” he now has framed in his office. The creased piece of paper has bullet points like “we will dominate the market” and “have top-notch customer service.” Following these and other simple guidelines has served them well. With revenues of between $40 million and $50 million, the Wilsonville-based company makes state-of-the-art laser gun sights, employs around 100 people and controls 70% of the national market for laser gun sights. It has seen a 10% to 12% annual growth rate for the past four years.
Danielson was formerly the president at EPS, a now-defunct Portland company that made parts for Boeing, when he decided to form Crimson Trace in 1996 to meld his professional experience and passion for shooting. The prototype laser sights were initially machined on weekends at EPS and were rather clunky; now the company uses CAD software to design the modular sights that are partially built by Hillsboro-based injection molding company R&D Plastics before being finished at the company’s Wilsonville factory “Oregon is a great place to start a business; you can start on a bootstrap,” says Danielson. “In California, you’re broke before you start,” he says, referring to permitting fees.
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