ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 16, 2013 — The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster presented awards for entrepreneurship, leadership and education as well as a special lifetime achievement award at its annual meeting Sept. 5 at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Michael Bechtold, CEO of Optipro, received the RRPC Entrepreneurship Award. He started Optipro, a machine-tool business, in Ontario, N.Y., in 1982. Eight years later, as the company grew, he began working with the University of Rochester’s Center for Optics Manufacturing to design and manufacture specialized deterministic optics manufacturing machine tools and metrology equipment. The company now employs 65 people; in 2011, it added 20,000 sq ft to its building and is currently embarking on another 10,000-sq-ft expansion.
Paul Ballentine, associate director of the Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences (CEIS) at the University of Rochester, was given the RRPC Leadership Award for working with RRPC members and the community to promote the region’s optics, photonics and imaging (OPI) industry. Ballentine moved back to Rochester from Austin, Texas, in 2011 to take a leadership position at CEIS. His efforts for the OPI community included leading the team that won the Rochester Regional Optics and Photonics Jobs Accelerator grant award in 2012 and bringing in a number of organizations — the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, High Technology of Rochester, Monroe Community College (MCC) and RRPC — in an effort to increase jobs in the region’s optics and photonics small and medium-size enterprises.
James Van Kouwenberg, training coordinator and master optician at Optimax Systems, received the RRPC Education Award for inspiring students to embrace OPI sciences and guiding them in career development. A graduate of MCC’s Optical Systems Technology program, he has taken on numerous community photonics education programs in addition to his in-house training responsibilities at Optimax Systems. He has worked with regional grammar, middle and high schools; with the RRPC Optics Summer Sizzler, held annually at MCC; and with East High School’s Optics Manufacturing program.
Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster Executive Director Tom Battley presents US Rep. Louise Slaughter with the RRPC Optics & Photonics Award. Courtesy of RRPC.
The RRPC Optics & Photonics Award was awarded to US Rep. Louise Slaughter for her long-standing support of Rochester’s OPI industry. She recently secured $2 million in funding for a project including Exelis Rochester, University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) and QED Technologies. Since 2004, she has secured more than $682 million in funding for the LLE, located on the University of Rochester campus. Established in 1970 as a center for the investigation of the interaction of intense radiation with matter, LLE has a fivefold mission: to conduct laser-fusion implosion experiments in support of the National Inertial Confinement Fusion program; to develop new laser and materials technologies; to provide education in electro-optics, high-power lasers, high-energy-density physics, plasma physics and nuclear fusion technology; to conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density physics; and to operate the National Laser Users’ Facility.
For more information, visit: www.newyorkphotonics.org