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OmniTech goes to Washington

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By Mitch Fryer
Friday, May 22, 2009

Armstrong County made a connection with Washington, D.C., on Wednesday when Dr. Gene Pochapsky, co-owner and vice president of OmniTech Partners, Inc. in South Buffalo, testified before Congress about his company's experiences as a small, high-tech business.

Pochapsky told members of the House Small Business Committee that if given the right resources, small businesses such as his can be the answer to creating jobs and growing the economy.

During the hearings, entrepreneurs from across the country shared their small-business success stories with the committee.

"We believe that small, high-technology business needs to be recognized for the innovations it brings to the society, the jobs it creates and expands and its critical role in helping to restart the American economy," Pochapsky said to Congress, according to a release from Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Erie.

Pochapsky was invited to the hearings during National Small Business Week by Dahlkemper, who is the chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee on Regulations and Healthcare.

"OmniTech Partners is a small, high-tech firm that is working to grow and develop their business in a very difficult economic climate," said Dahlkemper. "Their testimony provided valuable insight into how the Small Business Committee can help entrepreneurs create the good-paying jobs that stay here in the United States."

Pochapsky said small businesses are responsible for providing 60 percent to 80 percent of all new jobs and bringing the potential for rapid economic growth and the expansion of developing industries.

"The federal government can strengthen these critical businesses by ensuring that federal acquisition regulations (which allow small businesses to bid on production opportunities) protect and encourage small businesses, and by reducing the tax burden on those small companies that invest in their employees and their technology," Pochapsky said. He asked that Congress continue to provide federal funding in support of high-tech research and manufacturing.

The OmniTech Partners group is made up of three units: Optical Systems Technology, Inc. (OSTI), which manufactures a line of clip-on night sights, night vision surveillance systems and stabilized gimbaled platforms for the military and law enforcement; Keystone Applied Technologies, Inc. (KATI), which designs, develops and prototypes electro-optical surveillance systems; and FrigiLite, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of refrigerated merchandise lighting displays.

The company has grown in 10 years from six employees to 70, including 16 engineers with five advanced degrees and two PhDs, four designers and draftsmen and two journeyman machinists.

It has sold more than 7,500 night-vision units to the U.S. government, state and local governments and allies around the world.

"We have to level the playing field for the little guy," said Paul Maxin, president of OmniTech Partners and co-owner with Pochapsky. "From skyrocketing health care costs to the difficulties navigating the federal acquisition system, small high-tech firms need more support to overcome the challenges we face to create jobs in the region."

"I want to thank Congresswoman Dahlkemper for giving OmniTech Partners the opportunity to join this important discussion on how we can help small businesses succeed," he said.

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