A big thanks to Reinhard Seipp, General Manager of Meopta USA, for inviting me to the Meopta factory in Přerov, Czech Republic while I was visiting Brno. For those who have not heard of Meopta, they are an optics manufacturer in the Czech Republic. They are one of the few optics manufacturers to make everything in house. From the lenses all the way to assembly of scopes and binoculars, it is all made in their factory.
Meopta was gracious enough to send a driver to pick me up at my hotel in Brno and drive me to the factory an hour away.
Here is the company car and the guy in the pink shirt, who only speaks Czech or German, is the driver.
Here we are pulling up to the Meopta Campus (they call it a campus)
There I was met by Surujh Roopnarine. When he greeted me, his English was flawless. So I asked him “Wait a moment, your English is way too good to be Czech”. And he told me that is because he is an American. He is from Long Island and used to work for Reinhard back in Meopta USA. He transferred to Meopta Czech and is now an Account Executive.
Surujh and I spent about 45 minutes discussing some US firearm industry issues along with the history and summary of Meopta.
Phil W Note: Meopta realized some of the information in the video was intended for Nick only. They asked us to remove the video which of course we’re glad to do under the circumstances. We certainly don’t want to share confidential information unintentionally given.
Meopta started out in 1933 making single lenses. They branched out and made photo enlargers and then became the premier cinema projector manufacturer for Europe and Russia. Between the 70s to the 80s when the company was under communistic regime. They switched production to military applications, however when communism fell they were still a military factory and demand plummeted. They almost went bankrupt. There were 5000 employees now needing benefits.
Paul Rausnitz, picture above, is a Czech native who emigrated to the US. He grew up in the same town as Daniel Swarovski. He traded with Swarovski in America. He returned to the Czech looking to invest back in his home country. He took Meopta off the Czech government under the agreement that the government absorbs the debt.
Since his ownership, Meopta has switched manufacturing to sports optics. Meopta still manufactures optical elements for various companies and on occassion military applications like in the cockpits of some airplanes.
Here is a more detailed list of products and history of Meopta. The link is in Czech so I recommend using Google Translate.