With contributors: Chad Martin and Randy Cloran


SEEING is Believing as evidenced through a visit to ophthalmic equipment manufacturer, Haag-Streit, the gracious host of the first European American Chamber of Commerce Networking Series of 2014.


Haag-Streit and sister company, Reliance Medical Products, are wholly-owned by a Swiss parent company and have operations in Mason, Ohio.  Their brutishly durable ophthalmic equipment, touts its ergonomic design, exceptional stability, forward-thinking design and function and safety as its core values.  When they say, “brutishly durable,” they mean in it!  The material their products are made from is the same materials of a B-1 bomber.  As all of their products are hand-made, it’s equally important to them to have a strong workforce in addition to strong raw materials.  The factory tour video is linked at right.

Bright Ideas: As part of the Haag-Streit visit, guests had the opportunity to experience a product that is a staple in every optometrist’s office and made right here in Mason– a slit lamp.  The device allows the doctor to check the health of your eye – especially for cataracts, macular degeneration and other retinal diseases.  They also manufacture a myriad of other ophthalmic supplies including procedure chairs, surgical microscopes and tonometers.  In layman’s terms, a tonometer is the air puff/flinch tester for glaucoma. Haag Streit Slit Lamp

20/20 Vision:  A clear vision of U.S./Swiss relations were also highlighted at the event by representatives of Consul General of Switzerland, the Swiss Business Hub, the Swiss American Business Council in addition to the leadership team of Haag-Streit.

I know what you’re thinking – U.S./Swiss relations are delicious and centers on Lindt chocolate and holy cheese, but you’d be wrong.  Switzerland is the 5th largest investing country in the US.  (The top eight include: UK, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, France and Luxembourg.)  Additionally, Swiss affiliates are in all 50 states, responsible for 408,000+ jobs.  What’s more is that among those top U.S. investors, Switzerland was the only one who continued to add jobs during the current economic downturn.  Most impressive for a country the size and population of Virginia! *David Edenfield

Thank you for the EACC for letting us partner on this networking series for local, European American companies, to the delegation from Switzerland and to Haag-Streit for opening their doors and hosting the event.  Check the EACC’s website for upcoming events and opportunities.


*This information is from the Swiss Foreign Direct Investment in the United States Report 2013.