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We recognize the true nature of our client’s needs and challenges, so we adapt quickly and are able to provide them with the best possible solution, even in the most demanding budgets and deadlines. Contrast, founded in Albuquerque, NM in 2005, is an optical design and engineering company focused on creating leading-edge, system-level solutions for a variety of partners in commercial, consumer and military markets. We have spent over a decade pioneering and developing custom cameras, optical systems and real-time image processing for clients all over the world. 


Our whole-system, integrated approach recognizes all interactive systems and components, including cross-over of mechanical, optical, electrical and control systems, to provide a total working solution. Some of our core capabilities include hardware implementation, optical design and imaging system analysis, image processing research, algorithm development, electronics prototyping for manufacturability and optical system design and integration.



Contrast provides solutions for a variety of industries. We have the capabilities to develop end-to-end custom imaging solutions. From design and analysis to fabrication, Contrast can produce state-of-the-art technology, software and hardware to meet a wide range of specific customer needs.

We have the flexibility and varied expertise that allows us to work on a wide scope of projects; from real-time High Dynamic Range (HDR), complex image processing, to innovative lens designs for surgical microscopes and automated tracking systems that track a known target and recognize the target’s track pattern as it moves. We welcome the challenge and innovation opportunities that each new project presents.


Mike Tocci, Phd

Nora Tocci


Nora Tocci is CEO and co-founder of Contrast. Along with her B.S. in Optical Science from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Nora has more than 25 years of experience in optical system design, assembly, and testing; including beam control and pointing systems, alignment of diagnostics, multispectral imaging sensors, optical metrology, medical imaging devices and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy. She is co-author of 27 issued and pending U.S. patents for optical devices and systems. As President, Nora oversees all aspects of technology development at Contrast, managing budgets, marketing strategies and customer relations.



Dr. Mike Tocci is Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Contrast. He received his B.S. in Optics from the University of Rochester and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He is a Research Associate Professor at the University of New Mexico Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, and holds more than 25 years of experience in optical design, research, teaching, and engineering, including over 15 years working with OpticStudio 16.5 Optical Design software. Mike is author of 38 issued and pending, U.S. and international patents for optical devices.

Chris Kiser, Phd


Dr. Chris Kiser is Senior Engineer at Contrast. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Las Vegas, where he paid his way through college by performing as a guitarist in a lounge band. Chris received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico for his real-time HDR Video work, and his 20+ years of industry experience includes managing aerospace programs, working with industrial marking lasers, tracking, image processing and designing and developing defense systems. He is author of 27 issued and pending patents for aerospace engineering and optical systems. 



"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." -Aristotle

Our thoughts exactly. Contrast is made up of truly talented and dedicated people from all walks of life. Our unique team of optical scientists, physicists, and electrical engineers are passionate problem solvers. We’re taking steps to evolve our industry and by association, help other industries advance and thrive as well.

THOUGHTS AND NEWS Podcast: Nora Tocci on Organic Networking

Hosted by Alana Muller  – CEO & Founder, Coffee Lunch Coffee,  Jan. 13, 2022  

Episode Summary: In its tenth episode, Nora Tocci, CEO and President of Contrast, Inc., joins host Alana Muller to share how building trust with her customers has helped to organically grow her professional network. Tune in to learn how Nora engages with her local community to establish mutually beneficial professional relationships. “It's really all word of mouth…We let our work and our work ethic speak for itself and that sort of organically grows networking.”

Click here to listen to the full episode or read the transcript.

How NM companies are giving back during Covid-19

By Rachel Sams  – Editor-in-Chief, Albuquerque Business First, Nov. 25, 2020  

BURQUE Against Racism, Contrast Inc., Applied Records Management, Electric Motor Co. Inc., Cultivating Coders, Rude Boy Cookies, RS21, Rural Sourcing Inc., New Mexico United's Somos Unidos Foundation and Dion's have all contributed $1,000 to a fund to fight food insecurity issues. The group is asking for additional donations. The One Albuquerque Fund will donate up to $20,000 in matching funds, the group said. Contributors are asking businesses to match the $1,000 donation and asking individuals to contribute $100. They will distribute $100 gift cards on Dec. 1, Giving Tuesday. The gift cards will be distributed to the principals of selected APS Title 1 schools. All donations are processed through fiscal sponsor the Albuquerque Community Foundation. Burque Against Racism is a community organization founded earlier this year by Michael Silva, owner of Rude Boy Cookies and co-owner of Albuquerque Tourism & Sightseeing Factory, and Charles Ashley, founder of Cultivating Coders.

Click here to read the full Albuquerque Business First article.


The Private Sector’s Responsibility to Educational Outreach and Mentorship

City Alive - Nov. 19, 2019

Nora Tocci of Contrast, Inc. talks about her company’s investment in the future of Albuquerque.

We’ve all heard about the dreaded “brain drain” that haunts Albuquerque: young people tend to get their degrees in-state, then leave for cities with (supposedly) more and better job opportunities. This perception hurts the economy by both convincing young professionals that there’s no work for them here, and by convincing companies and recruiters that all those young professionals are already gone. It’s a vicious cycle. 


But Nora Tocci knows that those professionals are here. 


Nora and her husband, Mike Tocci, founded the tech company Contrast, Inc. in Albuquerque in 2005. They started the company with their patented high dynamic range (HDR) video camera—the first of its kind—and have since created dozens of custom hardware and software imaging systems for industrial, commercial, military and consumer sectors. This year they were voted one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2019 Fastest Growing Companies, and won their fourth Flying 40 Award, a recognition for tech companies in New Mexico that are contributing to the state’s economy and growing their profits. From the very beginning they’ve kept the company locally based, intentionally small and have focused on hiring only the best talent they can find. They’ve found that talent in Albuquerque.

Click here to read the full City Alive article.


Here are New Mexico's Fastest Growing Companies of 2019 

Albuquerque Business First - Juliana Vadnais - Sept. 12, 2019 

The numbers have been crunched and the winners are in. This year's Fastest Growing Companies all grew by double digits and the winner broke the four-digit barrier.

From health care companies to construction companies to breweries, these fastest growing companies represent a diverse group of industries in the state.

This year we are honoring 35 companies that are defying the odds. For the first time, we recognize honorees this year in three categories based on revenue size: a small, medium and large. See Albuquerque Business First's 2019 Fastest Growing Companies winners, grouped by category, in the accompanying slideshow.

To qualify, applicants must have a large percentage annual revenue growth over a three-year period, 2016-2018. They must also be privately held, for-profit companies (including wholly owned subsidiaries) and be locally owned and based in New Mexico. Nominated companies were contacted by ABF's Fastest Growing Companies accounting partner, REDW, to verify financial information and provide accurate calculations of each company's overall growth.

Click here to view the 2019 Fastest Growing Companies winners.

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Contrast, Inc. Receives its Fourth Flying 40 Award

Press Release, June 19, 2019 

The Land of Enchantment has a unique and diverse business landscape that is less well known for its high tech, innovative companies. The Flying 40 Awards began in 1998 to help change this perception, recognizing the achievements of New Mexico’s top-performing technology companies while also celebrating their contributions to the state’s economy. Contrast, Inc. is proud to be named one of New Mexico’s leading technology firms by the Flying 40 program for the fourth time. 


While positioned third in the Top 10 Revenue for Companies $1 Million to $10 Million, Contrast has been consistently raking in high profits with a small but impressive team. Flying 40 recipients are selected based on a broad study of metrics, such as revenue, team growth and overall financial performance. Even with their high profit margin in 2014, Contrast’s revenue increased by a notable 166 percent in 2018. And with only eight full-time employees, Contrast is the smallest company to climb the ranks in this category. 

Download Full Press Release

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