JML acquires California-based optics firm

Posted October 23, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Acquisitions, RRPC Member News

Tags: , ,

JML Optical Industries has expanded its offerings to customers with the acquisition of a leading manufacturer of cylindrical optics.

The Rochester-based optics developer and manufacturer announced today that it has acquired Harold Johnson Optical Laboratories Inc. (HJOL), located in Gardena, Calif. HJOL manufacturers custom optics in prototype and production volume quantities for customers in the defense, industrial, medical and research industry in the United States and globally.jml

“HJOL’s capabilities are a great complement to JML Optical’s existing strengths.” said JML President and CEO Bob Bicksler. “HJOL has a well-earned reputation for customer service and is among the industry leaders in manufacturing and testing cylindrical optics. We look forward to offering these expanded capabilities to both existing and new customers.”

In addition to cylindrical optics, HJOL products include spherical and plano optics, prisms, coatings and assemblies. The company was founded in 1967 to provide lens designers and engineering companies a source for breadboard models, prototypes and production optics.

“The entire Harold Johnson team works extremely hard to support customers. I know that JML shares this customer-centered mindset and that our customers will continue to have world-class optics and world-class support going forward,” said HJOL President Hall Johnson Jr.


Manufacturing Day Bells Rang in New York

Posted October 4, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Economic Development, Education & Training, Manufacturing, National Photonics Initiative, New York State Optics, Photonics

Tags: , , , , , ,

Big day of news for our industry yesterday, Manufacturing Day in America!


At an event to celebrate Manufacturing Day at New York Photonics member EMF Corporation in Ithaca, New York with their Congressman from New York’s 23rd district (which includes Corning), Tom Reed, and OSA CEO Liz Rogan.


R to L: Liz Rogan, CEO of the Optical Society of America, Congressman Tom Reed, NY 23rd District, Paul Schulz, President EMF Corporation, Tom Battley, Executive Director, New York Photonics

Congressman Reed deserved the wonderful welcome he got at EMF.  Reed and Joe Kennedy, (D, MA) cosponsored the Reinvest in American Manufacturing & Innovation (RAMI) Bill that passed the House on September 15th.  The bipartisan bill, supported by president Obama is also in the Senate (S. 1468) under the sponsorship of Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), has the potential to create another few Manufacturing Institutes as part of the president’s National Network of Manufacturing & Innovation.

Reed deserves to be recognized for his leadership, for his independent initiative, and last but certainly not least and especially significant for his constituents in the 23rd, his championing of manufacturing and manufacturing jobs.  His critics can say what they will but this guy supports manufacturing.  His questions at EMF showed insight into manufacturer’s problems, from workforce development and schools, to tax credits and rare earths.

Thank you, Congressman Reed for your efforts on the behalf of Manufacturers in New York and across the nation.


While we were headed to Ithaca we heard about the forthcoming announcement that afternoon from the Department of Defense (well, actually from President Obama, celebrating Manufacturing himself in Princeton, Indiana) of $200M in funding for a National Manufacturing Institute in Photonics.

This announcement is the result of so much work by so many people that it is difficult to appreciate unless you have been part of the effort. Connect the dots:

These have also been the subjects, sequentially (in case you haven’t noticed), of the last four New York Photonics annual meetings.


Jay Eastman with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter at the New York Photonics Annual Meeting

At her press conference in Rochester to announce the upcoming competition (with a great deal of collaboration, we hope) for a
National Institute of Photonics, Congresswoman Slaughter said,

Rochester is the world capital of optics and photonics, and that’s why I’ve been fighting like heck for over two years to get this investment”

“What the world wants most in optics and photonics is already being developed right here in Rochester. We’ve got the manufacturing facilities, the research institutions, the highly-skilled workforce, and now we have the public-private investment opportunity that we need to get this industry to the next level. This manufacturing institute will have a transformative impact on our local economy that will help support the thousands of jobs we already have in this industry, and potentially bring many more to Rochester. Our region has been leading the world in optics and photonics for decades, which is why we’re going to pursue this competition aggressively.”

National Manufacturing Day was a great day for Western New York and for the nation’s optics, photonics & imaging industry.  A lot of people, to many to list here, deserve credit for their hard work.

Congresswoman Slaughter’s Letter to Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Andre J. Gudger

Posted October 1, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Economic Development, Freeform Optics, Manufacturing, National Photonics Initiative, New York State Optics, Photonics, Politics, R&D Policy

Yesterday, September 30, 2014, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter wrote a letter to André Gudger, Acting Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense in the DoD Office of Manufacturing & Industrial Base Policy (MIBP). MIBP’s Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program will stand up two manufacturing innovation institutes that play a critical role in the Obama Administration’s national manufacturing agenda.  (NNMI)

IMG_7856Slaughter’s letter supports the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster and New York Photonics efforts to establish Rochester in a leadership position for a Manufacturing Institute in Optics, Photonics and Imaging.

The letter is here:


Congresswoman Slaughter was the keynote speaker at the New York Photonics annual meeting on September 3rd.  The panel discussion documented New York State efforts to establish a National Center for Optics, Photonics and Imaging technologies.

Photos from the Annual Meeting are here.


Will the Next Musk Move Happen In Buffalo?

Posted September 19, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Economic Development

Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla, is also chairman of SolarCity, which is in line to cash in on the Buffalo Billion program through Empire State Development. In June SolarCity bought Silevo, a fledgling solar panel manusolar_cityfacturer that had previously committed to building a plant in Buffalo. The state had already agreed back in November to build and equip plants for Silevo and Soraa, an LED lighting manufacturer, at a cost of $225 million, but since purchasing Silevo, SolarCity executives have floated the prospect of a bigger plant employing more people— which, of course, would require more government assistance.

Read more here.


Corning Asks For Voluntary Layoffs in Canton Plant

Posted September 11, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Economic Development, Manufacturing, Materials, New York State Optics

Union workers at Corning Inc.’s Canton plant have been asked to take unpaid voluntary layoffs because of a slowdown in customer demand for some products produced at the factory.

A notice posted at the plant Tuesday came less than three weeks after company officials broke ground on a $21 million expansion project that’s supposed to create 40 new permanent jobs.canton

“We’re hoping this is just a bump in the road,” said James H. Ridgeway, north country representative for the United Steelworkers, the union that represents about 130 hourly workers at the Canton plant. “We find it kind of ironic that this comes after they announce a big expansion.”

Company spokesman Joseph R. Dunning said the expansion will allow the company to increase the supply of products where customer demand is on the upswing. Those include specialized glass products for the Department of Defense and the aerospace industry.


Push for National Manufacturing Institute in Optics and Photonics is focus of RRPC Annual Meeting

Posted September 10, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Economic Development, Events, New York State Optics

Tags: ,

The Rochester region is lighting the way to an exciting new era of collaboration aimed at fueling innovation and manufacturing in the nation’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter delivers opening remarks at RRPC's Annual Meeting Sept. 4 as RRPC Executive Director Tom Battley looks on.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter delivers opening remarks at RRPC’s Annual Meeting Sept. 4 as RRPC Executive Director Tom Battley looks on.

At the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster Annual Meeting held Sept. 4 at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, leaders in business, government and academia called on the more than 200 attendees to join the push for creation of a National Manufacturing Institute (NMI) for Optics and Photonics to be centered in Rochester. The NMI would be part of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation proposed by President Barack Obama, bringing together the nation’s research and manufacturing sectors in development of new technologies from concept to production, boosting innovation and increasing manufacturing jobs.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY 25th), who has led the push in Congress for Rochester’s NMI designation, opened the Annual Meeting by reaffirming her support of the industry.

"Rochester is now leading a national effort," U of R CEIS Deputy Director Dr. Paul Ballentine told the crowd

“Rochester is now leading a national effort,” U of R CEIS Deputy Director Dr. Paul Ballentine told the crowd

“Landing an optics and photonics institute in Rochester would bring new jobs and a public-private joint investment of more than $140 million,” said Congresswoman Slaughter. “We’ve been working on this since 2012, and it’s not a sure bet, but we’re hopeful and continue to work hard to make it a reality.”

Attendees network after the meeting at the Rochester Museum and Science Center

Attendees network after the meeting at the Rochester Museum and Science Center

In June, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a Request for Information from the industry in consideration of a NMI for optics and photonics. The response was overwhelming, generating the most interest of any other industry on the shortlist for consideration.

Slaughter told the crowd that the Photonics Manufacturing and Innovation Consortium will meet in Washington D.C. this week to discuss the design of a possible NMI for photonics. The discussion, she said, “will give key stakeholders in industry, academia and government an opportunity to hear what has been learned so far in extensive discussions with the U.S. photonics  community and to provide feedback.”

The region has already received three major designations under President Obama’s plan to jumpstart U.S. manufacturing, the

State Senator Joseph Robach speaks during the Annual Meeting

State Senator Joseph Robach speaks during the Annual Meeting

most of any other region in the country, and all for optics and photonics.  Most recently, the City of Rochester won an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designation for the nine-county Finger Lakes region. The designation by the U.S. Department of Commerce will give the region preferred consideration when applying for a potential $1.3 billion in economic development grants, with particular focus on strengthening next-generation manufacturing and development in the areas of photonics,  optics and imaging.

Rochester is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in optics and photonics education, innovation and manufacturing. The region’s network of educational, research and manufacturing resources include:

  • More than 75 companies involved in optics, photonics and imaging development and manufacturing. They employ roughly 17,000 and account for more than $3 billion in annual sales.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) – Home to the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, and the Center for Integrated Manufacturing/Golisano Institute of Sustainability. RIT has more than $11 million in active awards for research in the fields of optics and photonics.
  • University of Rochester – Research in optics and photonics is centered in U of R’s Institute of Optics, Laboratory for Laser Energetics and URnano. The Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS) brings together companies and university researchers who have a common interest and encourages them to collaborate. Scholarships were made available through a grant from the Employee and Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor for high-tech job training at U of R and RIT. The ETA grant is part of a multi-agency grant program that promotes advanced manufacturing jobs creation in regions having strong industrial clusters.
  • Monroe Community College – Its Optical System Technology Program develops technicians for the optics and electro optics workforce.

A panel of speakers answered audience questions, mainly centered on the topic of the NMI designation. The panel included:

  • Steve Anderson, Industry and Marketing Strategist for SPIE
  • Paul Ballentine, Deputy Director, CEIS, University of Rochester
  • Susan Christopherson, Professor and Department Chair, Cornell University Department of City and Regional Planning
  • Ryne Rafaelle, Vice President for Research and Associate Provost, RIT
  • Kevin Füchsel, Head of Strategy, Marketing and Coordination at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering

Also in attendance were New York State Senator Joseph Robach, (R-56th), and New York State Assemblyman Mark Johns (R-135th).

Attendees listen as panelists answer audience questions

Attendees listen as panelists answer audience questions

Dr. Ballentine spoke about the importance of bringing together competitors in business and academia for the common goal of growing the industry nationwide.

“Rochester is leading a national effort now,” he said. “We’re taking the high road and doing what’s right not only for Rochester, but the whole country.”

Other nations have already successfully developed similar manufacturing institutes. Attendees heard from Dr. Füchsel about the history and structure of the Fraunhofer Institute, which is a collaboration between academia, business and government, developing and applying new technologies to marketable products.

“You have to collaborate to get good products. Rochester is a good place to collaborate,” Dr. Füchsel said.

The U.S., followed by Germany, is home to the largest percentage of the 2,748 companies that manufacture and ship core photonics components worldwide, such as LEDs, lasers, detectors, images sensors and optical filters, according to a SPIE market analysis. But American and German companies fall behind Japan when it comes to revenues from these companies, said SPIE’s Anderson. In 2012, Japanese firms accounted for nearly half of the $156 billion in revenues from sales of core components. Anderson said that the vast majority of  U.S. photonics industry is largely made up of smaller firms, which accounts for the discrepancy. It is hoped a NMI for optics and photonics could help boost those revenue numbers in the U.S.

RRPC announces annual awards recipients

Posted September 9, 2014 by rrpc
Categories: Awards

Tags: ,

The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster/New York Photonics (RRPC) has honored three leaders in education and business for their contributions to New York’s Optics and Photonics Industry.

RRPC Executive Director Tom Battley presented the awards in front of more than 200 representatives of industry, government and education from across the region at the RRPC’s 2014 Annual Meeting on Sept. 4 at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

Michael Pavia

Michael Pavia

The RRPC Entrepreneur Award recipient for 2014 is Sydor Instruments Co-Founder and President Michael Pavia, who was recognized for demonstrating creativity, innovative spirit and drive in pursuit of the dream of creating an industry-leading company in the optics, photonics and imaging industry. Sydor Instruments provides custom diagnostics and ultrafast imaging systems, specializing in streak cameras, smart cameras and electro-optic detection techniques. Pavia’s company recently acquired the UK-based ballistics testing system supplier Sabre Ballistics. The deal doubles the size of Sydor’s international customer base, with a projected 50 percent increase in revenues. Pavia is an Adjunct Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business.

Jay Eastman

Jay Eastman

The RRPC Leadership Award recipient for 2014 is Dr. Jay Eastman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of  Optel, Inc. Eastman was recognized for his work with fellow members of the RRPC and the community to advance the region’s optics, photonics and imaging industry. His company designs and manufactures medical products and provides medical device regulatory compliance assistance for third party customers. Previously, as CEO of Lucid, Inc., he directed the development, manufacture and sale of non-invasive medical imaging devices for the diagnosis of skin cancers and other dermatological disease. Prior to Lucid, Eastman founded Optel Systems, Inc., the first company to develop, manufacture and sell laser diode based bar code scanners. The company was acquired by PSC Inc. in 1986.


Stephen Jacobs

Stephen Jacobs     

   The RRPC Education Award recipient for 2014 is Dr. Stephen Jacobs, Professor of Optics and Chemical Engineering at the University of Rochester, and Senior Scientist at U of R’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). He was recognized for inspiring students to embrace optics, photonics and imaging sciences and guiding them in career development.  Jacobs has spent his entire career working in the LLE, where he became a Senior Scientist in 1982. He developed the innovative Optics Suitcase educational initiative, designed to introduce middle school age students to the exciting range of concepts within the study of light. To date, 701 suitcases have been assembled and distributed to educators worldwide. Each case includes a teaching guide and materials for demonstrations and experiments that teach optics in a fun, interactive atmosphere.

A special presentation was made to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY 25th Dist.) in honor of her late husband, Robert Slaughter. The RRPC has donated $2,500 in Mr. Slaughter’s name to the Dr. Walter Cooper Academy Fund of the Rochester Education Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase books for students at the City of Rochester school. Mr. Slaughter, who passed away earlier this year, was remembered as an avid reader who valued education.



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