Livermore, Calif. — Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS), has been selected to become an executive officer of Topcon Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo.
The appointment of O’Connor was affirmed at a meeting of the board of directors and will be presented at the shareholders’ meeting June 27 in Tokyo.
In making the announcement, Mick Yamazaki, TPS executive vice president, said, “Ray’s appointment to the Topcon board is well deserved and earned by his leadership in expanding and creating opportunities in all areas of our positioning business. All of Topcon Corporation have benefited from his ideas, determination, and integrity. It is an honor to announce that this distinction is being awarded to Ray.”
Reflecting on his appointment as a Topcon Corporation executive officer, O’Connor said, “I am honored that Topcon has chosen me for this office. It has been my pleasure to work with members of the Topcon board and all company executives. The company’s dedication to perfection in every single area of the company and commitment to customer service has been an inspiration to me.
“For this honor, I want to personally thank Mr. Takashi Yokokura (president of Topcon Corporation), whose leadership has been essential to the incredible success of Topcon in the worldwide markets we serve. It is his vision for the future and the globalization of Topcon that provides a positive example for all employees,” O’Connor said.
“Additionally, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Nick Uchida (Topcon director), who not only has been an inspiration to me for the past 15 years but it is because of his determination to involve Topcon in the laser business in 1994 that I am with the company today. He is a close confidant and a global leader in the positioning business and I value his leadership and friendship,” O’Connor said.
“I accept this distinctive appointment on behalf of every employee and thank each one for the effort in making Topcon Positioning a true world leader in the industries we serve. Over the past 15 years, the hard work, unsurpassed creativity and dedication of Topcon employees to make the company the world leader in precise positioning technology, instruments and applications has been extremely beneficial to our company, distributor network and end users,” he said.
O’Connor is also chairman of Topcon Europe Positioning Business, and sits on the board of Topcon America Corporation and Topcon Europe BV.
He is the first person of non-Japanese descent and the youngest person ever to be named as a Topcon Corporation executive officer.
This is not the first time O’Connor has been singularly honored by a Japanese corporation. In 2006, on the 130th anniversary of its founding, Toshiba Corporation, Topcon’s largest shareholder, named O’Connor the recipient of the company’s prestigious Business Performance Award. O’Connor was also the first person of non-Japanese descent to receive this award.
O’Connor received the award in recognition of his “superior leadership and performance” in creating a leading market share for Topcon Precision Positioning products in the global civil engineering and construction markets.
When O’Connor started with the company in 1993, the division that is now Topcon Positioning Systems had only 30 employees. When the California facility first opened, it had 40 employees. It now has 360 in Livermore and globally there are more than 700 employees.
O’Connor has led the growth of TPS through a pattern of strategic initiatives beginning in 1995 when Topcon acquired Advanced Grade Technology, a California-based company that was the pioneer and proven leader in automated grade control technology.
In 2000, Topcon made another strategic acquisition with the purchase of JPS, Inc., of San Jose, California, a provider of high-precision GPS and GPS/GLONASS products.
In 2006, Topcon purchased the leading precision agricultural company, KEE Technologies Pty Ltd., an Australian-based company with more than 25 years experience in agricultural electronics and applications, focusing on the precision agriculture market.
In 2007, Topcon began a new Mobile Control Division to meet the needs of a broader market that is in need of precise positioning solutions for a myriad of applications, including: precise measurement, navigation, pinpoint tracking, mobile mapping and asset management.
And most recently in February of this year, Topcon announced the combination with Sokkia Co., Ltd., a Japanese company founded more than 85 years ago; Sokkia also offers precision measuring systems for surveying, GIS, and construction applications. The joining of the two companies will create the leading survey instruments supplier in the world.
O’Connor is fond of saying, “If you don’t have the technology, the bottom line is: You can’t compete. At TPS, we’re providing advanced positioning solutions to companies around the world with a ‘24/7 squared’ attitude. Anytime, anywhere precision control is needed, our customers can rely on Topcon technology for twice the speed, twice the accuracy.”
A native and former resident of Naas, County Kildare, Ireland, O’Connor graduated from the Bolton Street College of Technology in Dublin with a diploma in construction. He emigrated to the United States in 1983. He and his wife Nancy have three children, Danielle, Nicole and Jonathan.
O’Connor started his career in the surveying and positioning industry in 1984 and has worked in sales, marketing, product management and international marketing for various companies. In April 1993 he joined Topcon to develop and lead their efforts in the construction instrument market.
Topcon Corporation’s New Board of Directors
The following executives have been named as members of the Topcon Board of Directors effective following the shareholders’ meeting in June.
Hitoshi Ito, president of Sokkia Co. Ltd., and advisor for Topcon Corporation; and Takayuki Ogawa, senior manager, Accounting and Financial Department, Toshiba Power Systems Company.
Retiring board members are: Kazuo Okita, director, senior managing executive officer, general manager for General Affair and Accounting and Financial Department, Export Control Group; and Akira Kamioka, director, general manager of Production and Environmental Department.
New executive officers, in addition to Ito and Ogawa, are:
Ray O’Connor, president and CEO of Topcon Positioning Systems; Kiyoshi Takahashi, deputy general manager of FineTech Business Unit; and Shuji Ichimaru, president of Topcon Yamagata Corporation.
About Topcon Positioning Systems
Topcon Positioning Systems, a developer and manufacturer of positioning equipment, offers the world’s leading selection of innovating precision GPS, GIS, laser, agriculture, optical surveying, and machine control products, software, and applications. Topcon Corporation is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (7732).