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Masashi at OPIE 2024Masashi at OPIE 2024©️ G&H

Asia Pacific Focus: Driving photonics home with Masashi Wada, Asia Pacific Senior Sales Director at G&H


Recent years have seen a surge in interest in optics and photonics components coming from the Asia Pacific market. Showcasing an increased value through our high-performance solutions portfolio, G&H has turned itself into a household name for quality and reliability in the region. An important contribution to closing the cultural and market gaps comes from the dedication and effectiveness of our G&H APAC sales team, which has recently been awarded for its outstanding business development performance in 2023.

This is the first part of a dual interview series with the winners of the G&H 2023 APAC Sales Award, to get to know the people who are opening the doors to optics and photonics innovation in the region.

Follow the conversation with G&H Senior Sales Director Asia Pacific Masashi Wada below:

How would you describe your beginnings at G&H?

I joined Gooch & Housego in 2013 – quite a long time ago if you think about it. I formerly worked for a local Japanese company that specialized in crystal manufacturing. Interestingly enough, Gooch & Housego, specifically the Ilminster site, was one of my customers. Then in 2009, G&H acquired the company Crystal Technology, which today is known as G&H Fremont – a place with a powerful reputation for crystal operations in the United States. It was at that time that the idea of having a sales team in Japan started floating around because of the growing business potential of the market. Since my career focused on crystal optics and crystal devices, a core product line at G&H, I was selected for the new role. I have been fortunate to find myself in the crystal optics business for over 10 years, despite not having the educational background for it. With time, I have discovered my passion for the field. I feel lucky to have joined this company and meet the people at G&H, because this is how I ended up building my entire sales career, constantly supported in this environment.

Shibuya, JapanShibuya, Tokyo, Japan©️ Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

How have you evolved within the sales branch of the business?

When I joined G&H, just over a decade ago, the company was about half the size it is today. I attribute my growth as a salesperson to the fact that I could easily connect with people in the company who would know products or processes better than I would. And I mean that on an international level, something which offers great synergistic opportunities to expand your know-how. I have always appreciated this open, helpful attitude about the people working at G&H and, fortunately, this has stayed true in today’s organizational culture, too. My G&H colleagues have helped me understand what I needed to communicate to potential clients, especially when it came to technical matters like piezoelectric coefficients or refractive indexes. People across our sites have been very kind, open and knowledgeable. This, in turn, has improved my targeting and market research skills and allowed me to focus on what I had to do in the sales department. I have learned about all sorts of products and optical applications that further ease conversations with clients. This was particularly important, especially during the years when I was the only person handling the Japanese market. Eventually, I was promoted to the role of sales manager for the APAC region. And now, next to coordinating different distributors in the area, I am leading a team of three fine salespeople: Yoshi in Japan, Bryan in China and SJ in Korea.

What feedback do you receive from customers in the APAC region about G&H?

We are grateful to hear appreciative voices about the quality of products coming from G&H.

In general, G&H has a reputation for being a good supplier with reliable products. We constantly communicate with our teams, at a factory level, to see how we can best mediate customers’ expectations and make the entire process a smooth success for both sides.

Masashi & Charlie Peppiatt (G&H CEO) at OPIE 2024Masashi & Charlie Peppiatt (G&H CEO) at OPIE 2024©️ G&H

What sales deal have you closed that made you feel proud to work at G&H?

It would be a space photonics sale from a few years ago. I won one of the government-related projects in Japan that involved space telecom modules. I remember the entire bidding process entailed lots of working hours with Stratos, our President of Photonics, back in 2015-2016. I believe the pressure and – subsequently, wanting to get every detail right about the what we could deliver from G&H, was understandable given the fact this was one of our early-stage contracts regarding space technologies in Japan. The project had ups and downs, because of its highly experimental nature, but our team showed enough maturity and flexibility to adapt to the strict and high-demanding working ethos of the Japanese counterpart involved in the project.

What did winning the G&H 2023 APAC Sales Award mean for you personally?

Even now, I remember the words of Charlie Peppiatt, our CEO, during the awards moment – he was thanking me for my 10 years of contribution at G&H, alongside scoring the biggest sales numbers in the APAC region in 2023. I didn’t expect such a recognition, so it was a nice surprise, for which I am very grateful. At the end, I even got a nice certificate to frame and put in my office.

laser weapon systemLaser Weapon System©️ U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams

What are your future prospects and hopes for G&H?

From a sales perspective, I want to double our numbers systematically. Realistically, our business can grow immensely in one year, and I am being humble when I say this, because I am aware of the technology gap our portfolio could cover in places like Japan. That being said, I am also aware that things in our industry take time. We need time to develop our innovations, and consequently customers need time to be able to facilitate such investments. But, in a nutshell, the aim is: make it bigger and better.

In terms of product development, I am looking forward to the laser innovations coming out of the aerospace and defense branch of our company. Those are some truly exciting solutions on the horizon!

What have you discovered about yourself throughout your G&H experience in sales?

Firstly, I have learned that I am capable of being technically knowledgeable on topics such as crystals, acousto-optics (AO), electro-optics (EO), and fiber optics – all while not being an engineer. Secondly, after hundreds of customer meetings over the past 10 years, I can say that I have a good sense of meeting facilitation. This includes the translation side of the job, which isn’t always a piece of cake. Aside from that, I am able to connect the right people with the right products, properly coordinate the meeting environment, and give a productive direction to our conversations.

Masashi & Yoshi at OPIE 2024Masashi & Yoshi at OPIE 2024©️ G&H

Any future plans on the horizon?

I am enjoying what I do now, to be honest – talking to our colleagues, getting different perspectives from both our teams and clients – everything that creates my daily work routine. I really hope to do better for the people and the company itself. If G&H, the management team and our customers feel good about me and my performance, I would like to continue down this path. In this sense, my wish is to make things in sales better. Regarding my team, which I greatly appreciate, I want to help my guys feel more comfortable working at G&H. Their happiness and general confidence are very important to me, especially when working in an intense, yet fulfilling environment like ours.

As a concluding thought, the things I have achieved in my G&H career would not have happened without an all-hands-on-deck kind of attitude that came from everyone in the company, including my team. I am grateful for everything. To everyone I have worked with, I want to send a big “thank you”. I wouldn’t be where I am without your help and consideration. Arigatou gozaimasu!