|photography courtesy of Getty Images|
When new clients learn that the president of TruForm Optics Inc. is a woman, they’re frequently surprised. Now more than 70 years old and a 26-year veteran of the business, Naomi “Jo” Svochak still gets a chuckle out of their preconceptions.
Svochak took over her husband’s Euless-based, custom contact-lens company after his death in 1982. She recruited family to help, and today son Jan is vice president in charge of research and development, while son Frank operates the San Antonio office. A son-in-law acts as general manager, and Svochak herself handles accounting and runs the back office.
TruForm manufactures an alternative to soft contacts called rigid gas permeable lenses, suitable for people who either have high astigmatism, have had LASIK vision correction surgery, are suffering from a degenerative eye condition called keratoconus, or have other specialized medical needs. Between two Texas locations and a branch in Albuquerque, the company employs 35 people.
Naomi “Jo” Svochak
photography by Elizabeth Lavin
While other specialty eyewear producers have lost traction in a marketplace full of mass-produced soft contact lenses, TruForm’s customer base of ophthalmologists and opticians has grown to 5,500 across the U.S. and internationally. In 2007, the company’s revenue reached nearly $5 million.
Most critical to the company’s success, Svochak believes, are the various patents it holds for bifocal lenses, innovative customizable designs, and the state-of-the-art machinery required to create them. The engineering whiz behind these innovations? Her son Jan. “Jan is unique,” Svochak says. “Without him, the business wouldn’t have gone.” Then she adds, somewhat sheepishly: “A mother has to brag a little bit.”