Graduation Year: 

B.S. Mechanical Engineering Technology ’79
Founder & Chair
Crimson Trace
Wilsonville, Oregon


Lewis Danielson literally started out as a mover and a shaker. After high school graduation in a small Sacramento Valley farming community, he spent ten years as a professional furniture mover. That preliminary career eventually brought him to Beaver State Moving and Storage in Corvallis where Oregon State University was at his doorstep.

Danielson began his engineering career at Oregon Steel Mills, where he implemented a plant-wide lubrication program. He moved on to Portland-based Mitchel Lewis & Staver, where he helped design and build equipment for orchard and dairy farms in the manufacturing division. But he still had bigger plans. “

I am a small-company man at heart and I wanted to pursue the art of creation and design,” says Danielson. So he joined Engineering and Prototype Services (EPS) as a contract tool and product designer, primarily serving the aerospace industry. Danielson eventually became president of the company and through his vision, helped EPS and its employees achieve record growth, profits and awards in the tooling industry.

In 1994, working evenings and weekends, Danielson and other EPS employees started Crimson Trace Corporation, which manufactured stateof- the-art laser gun sights for the firearms industry. Today, Crimson Trace delivers more than 130 made-in-Oregon products to the military, law enforcement and other security industries worldwide. The company is the world’s only manufacturer of grip-integrated laser sights and enjoys a dominant market position.

“I love this business and everyone who works in the company with me,” says Danielson. “That’s the way business should be — work needs to be fun. People who have fun are way more productive.”

Danielson fashions himself as a “visioning guru” for his companies and employees. “At its core, success is simple — synergistic plans and people who team up to create success,” he says. “Give people a vision of what the company can do plus a vision of what they can do for themselves.”

Throughout his success, Danielson’s roots have been grounded in design and his education in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. “Even today, I keep a CAD system close by to keep myself close to the roots of design, which I love so much,” says Danielson.