Brian Foster

Director of Operations

Portland, OR

What is your job title, and what does that position entail?

Director of Operations. Encompassing anything related to the business. Who we want to be, where we want to go, and how we’re going to get there.

I focus on people, productivity, and quality. This simultaneously solves most equations for us and our customers.

We only grow through building the best team and continually earning the trust of our clients. I define success as delivering value differentiation, solving challenges, and executing to the plan.

How long have you worked at Olympus, where did you come from? A little history of how you got involved with Olympus?

I have been with Olympus Controls since January 2023. I’ve been in the manufacturing & technology space my entire career. When I met with Olympus, I knew I’d found a company that could keep me engaged and excited for a very long time. I was most recently at a manufacturing & custom configuration company serving flagship big data clients, specifically within their traffic, cloud networking, and switching infrastructure.

What do you like best about working at Olympus?

The Olympus culture and its people make this a very special place to work. I take ownership in making certain this foundation never erodes.

Most Americans spend a significant amount of their lives at work. Our wide-ranging scope of applications, tremendous success trajectory, and the pride shared by everyone here reinforces my choice to call Olympus my home away from home.

Describe a little of your past history.

I’m a lifelong, diehard fan of how anything is produced. I spent my childhood ripping things apart, modifying, tweaking, and re-engineering until I turned junk into something useful or cool. It’s no wonder I was assembling HP printers while still in high school. I studied business & human resources at PSU, Marylhurst, and Purdue.

My career has always been centered around manufacturing & assembly, primarily leading business development and operations for diverse distributors, manufacturing & assembly plants, and high tech/big data firms. From the shop floor to the boardroom, I’ve lived and breathed virtually every aspect of business – especially within businesses that make something!

I’m a Portland, Oregon native, but my career borrowed me for 10 years in Texas and 2 years in Mississippi.

Describe some of your hobbies – what do you like to do outside of work?

Going back to “how it’s made”, of course I enjoy creating. Metalworking, woodworking, and automobiles are my avocations. I have a large tool selection, including a CNC router & CNC plasma table. My family always comes first, so my passions are fulfilled by making objects for them. Or, better yet, having them create things alongside me. The true joy is teaching my kids how to work with their hands, my tools, and their imaginations!

What are some key lessons you have taken from your career thus far?

People matter, treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Perspective is everything.

Mistakenly seen as weakness by some, humility is the first quality I look for in a leader. It builds loyal followers at a rapid pace and creates a harmonious environment full of great ideas!

Being a lifelong learner is not a cliché. Be a steward of tomorrow. Mentor, engage, encourage, develop, empower, and strengthen those around you.

What is one thing your customers might find surprising about you?

In my lifetime, I’ve never paid for others to work on my cars or homes. This clearly explains the diversity in my tool collection. My wife may use some endearing words, such as cheap & frugal, when describing me. As correct as that may be, I’m also a big believer in quality, getting what you pay for, and selecting the best option for the goal. Benjamin Franklin’s quote has always proven true, “A penny saved is a penny earned”, whether that is through cost avoidance or purchasing the highest quality regardless of price.

Stay in Touch

Get the latest news and cutting edge strategies with our free newsletter. Subscribe today!