- LEOMA Discontinues Operations
After 15 years of service to the US laser and electro-optics industry, the Laser and Electro-Optics Manufacturers' Association (LEOMA) was put into a "simmer mode" by its board of directors in January. According to executive director Breck Hitz, membership had declined to the point where it was no longer practical to continue normal operations.
As it now stands, the association will file an annual tax return and hold a single annual meeting. It also will continue to maintain the LEOMA Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement, which requires that any dispute among signatory companies be subject to mediation before litigation.
In its heyday, LEOMA membership approached 50 companies. The association held an annual meeting in Washington for company executives and an annual workshop for human resources leaders. It also initiated the establishment of photonics training programs at two community colleges, conducted an annual survey regarding compensation of optical engineers and technicians, and did an annual survey of the laser marketplace.
LEOMA also led the industry in the creation of laser and optics standards through both the International Standards Organization and the International Electrotechnical Commission. In the early 1990s and again recently, it coordinated the industry's input to the US government's export-control program.
The fundamental problem, Hitz said, was that the benefits of most of the association's programs accrued to members and nonmembers alike, which essentially left little incentive for companies to join.
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