Brian Foster
Portland

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

Director of Operations. Encompassing anything related to the business, which spans from quotes through invoices (and everything in between). Primarily, I focus on people, productivity, and quality. We only grow through continually earning the trust of our clients. Therefore, our focus must remain on delivering the value that differentiates us, solves our customers’ challenges, and honors our commitments.

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 big data clients, within the cloud networking hardware space.

What do you like best about working at Olympus?

Olympus attracted me via the quality of their people, their wide-ranging scope of applications, a tremendous success trajectory, and the pride that literally exudes from each team member. I am excited to arrive every day, and with Olympus’ culture that feeling isn’t temporary.

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 some 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 in manufacturing & assembly, primarily leading business development and operations for diverse distributors, manufacturers, and high tech/big data firms. I’m a Portland, Oregon native, but previously spent 10 years in the Houston area and 1 year in Memphis.

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 primary outlets. I have a large tool selection, including two CNC machines, to feed this hobby. My family always comes first, so my passions are fulfilled by making objects for them – and having them make things alongside me. Teaching my kids how to work with their hands, my tools, and their imaginations is where I find happiness.

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

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

Being a lifelong learner is not a cliché. If you’re not learning, you’re missing out.

Be contagious. Demonstrate humility, empathy for others, passion for the mission, respect for others, vision for success, and commitment to your goals. These attributes will inherently drive results (and take you very far as a leader).

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?

I’ve never paid anyone a single penny to work on my cars or my homes. This clearly explains my vast tool collection! If I don’t know how to troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix something, I promptly learn how (and immediately procure the tools to do so).