Meet our Team

Lee Steneken - CEO - Esco Optics

Lee Steneken

Owner & CEO

As a kid, Lee grew up in the family business running around the shop. He ran a couple of machines, even worked at Esco part-time when he was in high school. However, wanting to pursue other avenues in life, Lee attended Suffolk University in Boston and graduated with a marketing degree in 2001. After college, Lee started working for a local brewery.  It wasn’t until his dad called him and said he was contemplating retirement that Lee thought he would give the family business a shot.

He took a leave of absence from the brewery and moved back to New Jersey. One of his first positions at Esco was writing the instructions for each job that went out on to the shop floor. In order to do this, he went around to every employee in the stage of the process and asked them what they did and how they did it. Gaining a deeper understanding for the optical process and how optics were made, Lee quickly decided that the optical industry was where he belonged!

Throughout Lee’s tenure at Esco he has had many jobs.  From marketing to sales to shop manager to eventually president and part owner in 2011. Lee worked hard to learn the family business from the ground up. He says his greatest accomplishments come when his employees and customers succeed in their endeavors.

Lee has made a big splash in the optics industry. He has turned a small shop in New Jersey in to one of the top optical manufacturing facilities in the country. Being a member of OSA, SPIE and most recently elected President of APOMA (American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association), Lee is always looking at ways to further Esco and the optical industry as a whole.

Outside of Esco he enjoys fishing, boating, skiing and spending time with his family. 


Jeff Kohler

Director of Sales

Jeff Kohler leads the Sales and Marketing team at Esco Optics. He has more than 20 years of experience leading and developing sales and sales operations teams through improvements in revenue growth, sales productivity, and building customer relationships. For Esco Optics, the sales and marketing team continues to drive new business initiatives to expand its customer base and leverage key verticals.

Kohler joined Esco from the research firm, SRI International and its subsequent spin-off, Princeton Identity, where he was business development director across several vertical markets. Prior to SRI, he held multiple sales leadership roles within Avago/LSI/Agere Systems (which today is called Broadcom) focusing on optoelectronics and semiconductors. Early in his career, he held roles at Lucent Technologies and AT&T covering sales, strategic planning, and quality assurance.

Kohler has multiple degrees including MBA from Colorado State University and BSEE from Bucknell University. Residing in New Jersey, he and his wife have four children and several dogs running around their home. 

John Escolas

Director of Quality 

Esco Optics is very proud to have John Escolas leading our shop. John is no stranger to operational growth and structure, and he has a proven track record with taking companies to the next level. 

John spent the early part of his career as a hands-on engineer, focusing on process improvements. While moving into more challenging roles as he advanced in his career, he learned the importance of collaborative and cohesive manufacturing amongst team members. Communication, goal setting, and cross-training became necessary characteristics in order to maintain successful growth.

Prior to Esco, John has been an integral team member of other exceptional optics manufacturers. From Machine Operator, to Director of Operations and Engineering, to Sales Manager, John has experienced all facets of a precision optics manufacturing company. These various responsibilities and positions allowed John to understand what it means to truly service the needs of a customer, and produce superior optical components.

As Esco Optics’ Director of Quality, John’s role goes well beyond process and employee improvement. He is ensuring that we exceed customer expectations from the project qualifying stage through product completion and the end-user’s successful execution. He continues to improve our daily operation efficiencies while keeping the shared vision of the company in mind, that our success is based on the success of our customers. 

Outside of the office, John enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. His hobbies include all things motor driven, and you can frequently find him under the hood of a car or on his motorcycle. 

William Hill - Business Development - Esco Optics

William Hill

Senior Sales Engineer

Bill is a University of Maine graduate and 25 year veteran of the optical industry. Throughout the years, he’s covered many facets of optical manufacturing including, glass blank machining, precision lens and window polishing, as well as, the application of metal and dielectric thin film coatings. Bill is experienced in optical properties and current metrology techniques. He has a complete understanding of optical component processing from estimating, through production to final inspection.  

As a sales and business development engineer, he’s assisted companies worldwide and has logged nearly enough miles in support of his customers to have traveled from the earth to the moon and back again.  Whether promoting single, off-the-shelf replacement parts, or optics for large-scale OEM instrument production, there are few industries he has not explored.

A country boy at heart, he resides in Southern Vermont, tucked in the hills near the Green Mountain National Forest and when not assisting customers with their optical requirements, he can be found outside, very late at night, staring up at the sky through his telescope.


Mike Vergo, Esco Optics, Esco Optics Sales team

Mike Vergo

Sales and Business Development

After serving 4 years in the Army with Bravo Troop 9th Cavalry, as a 19 Delta Cavalry Scout Mike returned home to Rochester, NY to attend night school at Monroe Community College while spending his days working for Sydor Optics. His introduction to optical manufacturing began on double-sided machines, cutting machines, and creating precision bevels. After 5 years in the shop, he transitioned into the sales department. His knowledge of hands-on optical fabrication now translated into putting those skills onto paper and working with clients. Knowing how to make a piece of machined glass and how it will perform is essential in working with the customers. His extensive sales background with IDEX corporation has afforded him the unique ability to help clients through the tumultuous process of advanced optical designs and manufacturability.

Today Mike is helping lead the charge in promoting our custom optic solutions and strengthening current client relationships. Mike’s strength in communication, outreach, and optical knowledge is a tremendous asset to the team as well as his enthusiasm and dedication to the industry.

In his free time, Vergo enjoys fishing, baseball, and spending time with his wife Jennifer and two children, Marina and Michael Jr.

Michael Andrews, Esco Optics, Esco Optics sales team

Michael Andrews

Sales Engineer

Michael Andrews is a Sales Engineer with an extensive background in optics having worked at Semrock, Melles Griot, and Tamron. Mike is part of our Rochester, NY team helping support our customers within the area as well as building new relationships with clients. Mike has studied physics at Rochester Institute of Technology as well as engineering science at Monroe Community College.

As an applications engineer Mike has proven experience solving for attainable outcomes in fabrication and coatings to achieve results. Along with working with customers, Mike is part of our internal process team shaping how we improve, optimize and cost all of our manufacturing. Working with our various departments from operations to accounting allows for a better understanding of our workflow and translates to faster optics for our customers.

Outside of the office, you can find Mike at the dog park trying to tire out his two Boston terriers.

Quality Optics from a Trusted Supplier

American Owned & Operated

Esco Optics is a leading manufacturer of custom and catalog optics, precision optical components, and ITAR optics in the United States.

Military & Defense Supplier

As the leader for military and defense optics in the United States, Esco Optics adheres to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

ITAR Registered & Compliant

ITAR registered and compliant, Esco manufactures ITAR optics for all of its customers with the strictest confidentiality.