Mazur Instruments are used for nuclear radiation detection
CEO Vincent Mazur started his namesake Geiger counter manufacturer in 2008
Mazur Instruments | Castle Rock | Product: Electronics & IT
CEO Vincent Mazur started his namesake Geiger counter manufacturer in 2008.
“I’m a lifelong electronics guy,” says Mazur, who has worked in both electronics sales and design. The latter is a passion: “An artist likes to paint, I like to design.”
Mazur saw an opportunity to innovate when he built a Geiger counter chip in the late 1980s based on a design from a magazine, then immediately saw ways to improve on it. In 2008, he started developing an elegant counter design and built a few devices that solved problems with battery life, size and user interface.
“I just wanted to develop this refined, improved Geiger counter,” Mazur says. “A Geiger counter is old technology. The Geiger counter was around when we used tubes instead of transistors and ICs [integrated circuits].”
Right when he was readying the product launch in 2011, the Fukushima nuclear disaster struck Japan. “I bought as many Geiger tubes as I could,” Mazur says. “I knew what was going to happen, and it did happen: You could not get a Geiger counter anywhere on this planet for six months.”
Mazur soon sent one of his first counters to a prominent reseller. “He loved it,” Mazur says. “He had so many orders for competing models, but those customers had no problem taking our model. We could have sold every one of these we could have made.”
The company’s products have since been used at the Fukushima site, as well as Chernobyl and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Researchers, medical professionals, manufacturers and metal salvage operations are also customers.
Mazur works with his wife, Wendy, who serves as VP of operations and spearheads the manufacturing, as he handles final testing for each counter himself. “A big part of the equation is sourcing,” Mazur says, noting that he gets plastic parts from Ohio, screens from California and Connecticut, and LCDs from Asia. “I started this with the idea of wanting to source as much as this product as I could in the United States,” Mazur says. “There’s some things that we just can’t, because this country doesn’t have factories for these types of components anymore.”
Mazur Instruments now makes three models of Geiger counters priced from $289 to $595, and Mazur says the company has shipped “thousands” of Geiger counters to date. “If you don’t have an instrument to measure radiation, you can be 100% sure you have no idea what’s in your environment,” he says of the steady demand.