Our Management Team

Meet Our Management Team

Our Management, Engineering and Manufacturing teams are passionate about delivering world-class medical optical solutions to our OEM partners. Our combined history gives us more than 100 years of experience in medical optics design, development and manufacturing including Class I, II and III device design.

Our team members have diverse backgrounds in both startup medical ventures as well as Fortune 100 Medical Device companies. As a leading medical optics solutions providers, we bring extensive knowledge of world class best practices on bringing innovative devices to market.

Robert Austring, Chief Executive Officer & Business Development Officer

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Robert has over 40 years in the Medical Device Industry. During this time, he participated both as an individual contributor and in leadership roles in positions ranging across Product Development, Operations and Business Development.

He began his career with IOLAB, Johnson and Johnson, working with Class 3 devices in the intraocular lens industry. He held various positions in Product Development and Manufacturing. He then joined Alcon Laboratories and was responsible for process development for the first foldable acrylic intraocular lens. This product became the market leader, generating over $100M is sales within one year of launch.

Upon conclusion of the successful transfer to manufacturing and launch of the product, Robert joined a start-up venture which provided design, development and manufacturing of optical systems specializing in injection molding of diffractive optics. He was responsible for setting up the facilities and operations for their injection molding operations.

Robert joined Staar Surgical and led operations in the scale-up and launch of an advanced material for a foldable intraocular lens as well as several new optical designs. He has spent the last decade heading up business development, taking client products from concept through commercialization. This includes both durable and consumable product lines, specializing in electronic based instrumentation.

Benjamin J. Gray, Chief Technology Officer

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Benjamin has over 15 years of experience leading technology development and design efforts in multi-disciplinary environments. His projects include the first handheld, high-definition digital endoscopic camera, numerous visualization and display systems, fiber optic based medical diagnostics devices, as well as various other medical, industrial, and consumer equipment. His specific core competencies include the application of new and existing technology to innovative products, video-imaging systems, medical device development, and system architecture development. Benjamin’s focus is enabling Lighthouse Imaging to deliver client satisfaction through innovative devices which improve quality of life.

Benjamin holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University.

Tom Snyder, Sr. Director of Product Development

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Tom has over a decade of experience managing new product development including 5+ years in medical device.  He has successfully managed multiple product development teams from concept through commercialization.  Tom began his career at 3M in a developmental leadership program and took on R&D roles of increasing responsibility during his tenure.  Tom spent the last four years at ACIST medical, a global medical device company in the interventional cardiology space.

Tom prides himself on identifying innovative solutions to people and technical problems and has over 10 patents to his name.  His product experience includes optical films, dental products, complex catheters and various electro-mechanical imaging systems. He holds a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Eric Z. Gray, Director of Operations

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Eric has over 20 years of experience in Production Operations and Program Management in startup and rapidly growing organizations. His experience and expertise includes medical device development and manufacturing, large scale commercial construction, aerospace and Department of Defense contract manufacturing. Eric brings his breadth of experience to the organization in leading our teams in our efforts to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations and requirements.

Mr. Gray holds a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Arts with a concentration in Product Development.

Eric joined the Lighthouse Imaging team in Spring 2016, where he helped to lead our program management office before turning his focus to production and operations.

Les Gardner, Quality Assurance Manager

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Les has over 30 years of experience in developing and deployment of improvement methodologies across a wide range of industries and manufacturing operations. His background ranges from Lean Six Sigma and TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) to Total Quality Management (TQM) program development and rollout. Building business excellence is Les’ primary focus. He has successfully led and mentored teams to deliver on time, on target results to accomplish site performance goals. He has personally applied the tools and has an extensive background in training all levels of the organization in Six Sigma, TPM and TQM components to build continuous improvement skills. He has held a wide range of process, environmental and quality engineering, coaching, capability development and TPM positions at SAPPI, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments Incorporated.
Les is a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, TQM Quality Advisor and has certified as an ASQ Six Sigma Black Belt, and JIPM (Japan Institute of Plant Maintenance) TPM Instructor. He attended the University of Massachusetts where he majored in Chemical Engineering.

Dennis Leiner, PhD, Founder/Board Advisor

Dennis founded Lighthouse Imaging in 1984. He is an acknowledged industry expert in medical optics and has made major contributions to endoscope technology development. He is listed as inventor or co-inventor on more than 20 patents and has published numerous papers in the areas of medical optics and optical instrumentation. Dr. Leiner is a United States delegate to the International Standards Organization (ISO) overseeing worldwide endoscope standards. He is a Director at OEOSC, the technical arm of ANSI concerning optics. In addition, he is the project leader responsible for improving quality standards for endoscopes worldwide.