Defense contractor builds on future in Miami Valley

A manufacturer of night vision goggles and electro-optical products for military and police forces is solidifying its presence in the Miami Valley with new job hiring at its expanded location in Miami Twp.

Earlier this summer Sensor Technology Systems, a subsidiary of German-based Steiner Defense, announced it plans to consolidate its California and Beavercreek operations into one facility in Miami Twp.

STS — which will changes its name to Steiner eOptics — has about 65 employees currently at its California location, most of which will not transfer to the new Miami Valley location. The California facility is expected to close at the end of the year. The company also has employees in Vermont for the advanced engineering group.

Currently, 28 employees work at the company’s facility located at 2794 Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek. Alan Page, general manager, said the company is consistently hiring every week. Many hires are temporary positions for manufacturing roles, he said.

“At the end of the year, Steiner eOptics — the California organization — will merge into STS from a legal and accounting standpoint. And then we’ll change the name and this will be Steiner eOptics,” Page said. “I can easily see us having 100 employees by the end of next year.”

The company is part of Beretta Group, the world’s oldest weapons manufactuer. Its history is backed in “strong military values,” and Page said the ever-evolving, smart technology aims to protect and give advantage to the “good guys.”

By the end of the year, Page said he hopes to have 80 full-time and temporary employees. When the new facility located at 3475 Newmark Drive is completed, the company aims to add and retain 120 employees by 2019.

The company designs and manufactures items like high-quality binoculars, riflescopes, laser devices and battle lights. Page said moving the company to the Miami Valley gives the team access to a “motivated workforce” and an advantage for proximity near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

He said the cost of doing business is “substantially less,” from the cost of housing for employees to the size of the manufacturing facilities.

“Steiner’s new location draws on many of our region’s strengths: our proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a workforce that intuitively understands military and its contractors, easy access to consumers, and an affordable cost-of-living,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, in a statement. “The investment by STS demonstrates that our region offers a competitive advantage, and we know STS will have a bright future here.”

STS is also using local manufacturers to create and cut certain materials for its products., further spurring economic growth in the area. Page said conventional optics haven’t really changed much, but now they’re producing electro-optics systems.

“That combination of electronics lets you do things like move the aiming point electronically based on laser-range finders,” Page said. “Or, you can add data to scopes if you want to put GPS data in or imagery in map data. That integration of electronics is a growth area not just for the military but the commercial side of the business as well. The intention is to dramatically grow this side of the business — either organically or through potentially other acquisitions.”