Founded in 1985 with its first SBIR coming from NSF with the proposal crafted by Founder Joanna Jannsen on their kitchen table not long after arriving in the US from Poland, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) became a major player in the SBIR-STTR arena - a highly innovative, employee-owned company. With a strong and long-time continuing presence in the SBIR area, POC is usefully understood as a systems integrator of advanced technology, serving military and defense and homeland security, along with selected commercial markets - medical, communication, movie theaters, consumer appliances, automotive, and biotechnology. Working often in collaboration with a range of major and mid-sized corporations, the firm grew through the years to almost 350 employees with a high percentage of PhDs across a range of scientific and engineering disciplines. Holding over 160 issued patents worldwide, covering 60 technologies, the firm was always a source of innovative research and development, focused on several strategic thrust areas and advanced programs, including full-rate platform production, In December 2020 it was announced that Andover, MA based Mercury Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: MRCY, www.mrcy.com), a leader in trusted, secure mission-critical technologies for aerospace and defense, had completed acquisition of Physical Optics Corporation (POC) in a cash transaction valued at over $310M. End of an era.