Montana's Optics
"We have to be creative and diligent in finding solutions that make us competitive - but that's Montanans in general.  We see that work ethic in Montana graduates and the local talent pool that chooses to be in Montana. ” 
- Don Profota, President of Lattice Materials

The optics industry in Montana has been gaining momentum for the last 30 years and keeps getting stronger. In fact, southwest Montana has the highest per capita concentration of optics and photonics companies and research institutions in the United States. 

Montana’s optics companies tend to be young, small and innovation intensive drawing on the talent educated at Montana State University. In 1995, Montana State University formed the Optical Technology Center (OpTec) as a multidisciplinary center to creat opportunities for students, faculty, and industry partners to discover new applications for optical technology.  Many of Montana's companies are staffed and led by scientists and engineers that were, or still are, OpTec participants.

  
 

Quick Facts

  • 38 optics industry companies in Montana, with 28 in the Gallatin Valley
  • Gallatin Valley has the highest per capita concentration of optics and photonics companies in the Country
  • Over 9 times denser than the Arizona Optics Cluster
  • Montana Photonics Industry Alliance was created in 2013
  • Montana State University Optical Technology Center (OpTeC) was formed in 1995
  • Spectrum Labs formed in 1999 (MSU)
  • TechLink Partnership (DOD/MSU)
  • A majority of the companies were formed since 2000 and tend to be young, small and innovation intensive


Industry Highlights

28

Jan

2016

2015 Montana Economic Development Report

Governor's Office of Economic Development

This is an exciting time for the state of Montana. We are experiencing strong business and employment growth, increasing wages, and expanding industries. Unemployment levels are nearly a full percentage point below the national average at 4 percent, and more Montanans are at work all across the...
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