Peter Waszkiewiez, President and CEO, Randolph Engineering, says the history and artisan expertise of his company makes all the difference.
Randolph has an extraordinary history. How did it all begin?
Randolph was founded in 1973 by two gentlemen, Stanley Zaleski and Jan Waszkiewicz, two immigrants that came to this country after World War II. Their close friendship led them to pursue their own American dream, opening their own company. Randolph, started as an engineering company building tooling and equipment for the then robust optical manufacturing industry here in the USA. As companies started closing down their factories and taking their production offshore to lower and fix costs, we had to diversify from an engineering, tool and die and machinery company, to a company manufacturing eyewear under an OEM model, which means manufacturing eyewear for other companies. Randolph Engineering, Inc. landed our first “direct to the military” contract in 1982, manufacturing aviator pilot sunglasses. To this day the company continues to manufacture eyewear for the US military under contract. In the late 90’s we decided to create our own destiny by creating our own brand of sunglasses and eyewear under the commercial brand “Randolph”. Today we are recognized as a global USA made eyewear brand, selling our product all across the globe.
The legacy of Stanley Zaleski and Jan Waszkiewicz lives on with second and now third generation in the business. Their legacy is the foundation on how we run the company today, with honesty and integrity, where everyone is treated as family.
Tradition and up-to-date techniques, materials and finishes. Does this sum up the collection today?
The way we build our eyewear today is virtually the same way we built it 45 years ago — by hand. The exclusive technology, including a 200-step patented manufacturing process developed by our founding partners, Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zaleski, remains at the cornerstone of our business today. Waszkiewicz and Zaleski designed a proprietary solder machine and engineered nearly indestructible frame joints. We use the same precious metal finishes found on the world’s finest timepieces. Our eyewear continues to be manufactured with integrity, and designed with updated classic shapes, styles and materials.
That is the Randolph legacy, a family owned and operated independent eyewear manufacturer/brand, manufacturing quality eyewear yesterday, today and tomorrow.
What else would you say continues to make Randolph unique and does that come through in the collections themselves when an individual makes their purchase?
People today are looking for authentic quality product, something different from the mainstream. Retail eye wear is dominated by a couple of very large, vertically integrated companies that aim to service customers with a limited assortment from their own collections. The integrity and attention to detail with which each frame is made, plus the unique history behind our brand, makes us stand out from the mainstream mass-produced brands.
Not many eyewear brands have complete control over manufacturing as you do so how does this change things?
From processing raw materials, to building our own equipment and tools, we have a lot more control in producing a quality made in USA product. Other companies rely on 3rd party manufacturing companies, churning out mass amounts of product. We control the process from A to Z. By manufacturing on site, it allows us to have better quality control. We are an ISO certified company, and we are continually improving our processes and technology to produce a high-quality product.
What are the benefits of your frame materials and technical features?
We start with top-grade materials, including the finest optical grade nickel-silver, monel, and stainless steel. Using the same precious metal finishes found on the world’s finest timepieces, each frame is plated at 5 times the industry standard. Our no-slip stainless steel screws are specially designed with unique threading and locking compounds, and our silicone or titanium nose pads are designed to seamlessly blend into each frame design, providing a secure and comfortable fit. Our temples are designed for comfort and long-time wear. The bayonet temple was designed to fit under helmets of pilots. Originally designed for the military, our unique portfolio of lenses reflects 45 years of knowledge and expertise.
Eyewear made in the USA…Is your US audience surprised and what do they say or ask you about the company?
The focus will always be on quality and USA made, which is the culture and forefront of our business strategy. While other manufacturing companies took their manufacturing overseas, we never left. For Randolph, USA made and quality is our reputation and culture, and hard work and perseverance is the ingredient to our success.