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Rep. Honda Sees Photonics at Work in Directed Light Visit

SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 20, 2013 — California Rep. Mike Honda toured Directed Light Inc. this week, becoming the latest member of Congress to learn how photonics boosts the local and national economy as part of the National Photonics Initiative (NPI).

The congressman met with employees, local business leaders and researchers to discuss the benefits of photonics and the role that Directed Light plays in solving the challenges of a modern world by harnessing the power of light. Directed Light serves the industrial, medical and scientific laser communities through its three business units: laser contract manufacturing, laser components sales and service, and medical laser and intense pulsed light components and service.

Rep. Mike Honda learned how photonics boosts the local, state and national economies during a visit to Directed Light Inc. in San Jose, Calif. The visit is part of the National Photonics Initiative, a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government working to raise awareness among lawmakers of the importance of photonics to the national economy. Courtesy Directed Light.

“Many people take for granted the modern-day technologies made possible largely by photonics,” Honda said. “My tour of Directed Light today highlighted how photonics enables our day-to-day lives, and I saw first-hand the ways in which optics and photonics support our local economy. We must ensure US workers receive the training they need to have careers in this important, expanding industry.”

As one of the businesses supporting more than 20,000 California jobs dependent on optics and photonics, Directed Light is part of a growing industry in critical need of qualified workers. NPI — a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government — seeks to expand STEM education and training programs to ensure that the photonics industry has enough qualified workers.

Under the initiative, in August, Rep. Ron Barber visited the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences and Rep. John L. Mica paid a visit to the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida.

Through NPI, Directed Light is working to raise awareness about photonics and unite experts in the field to identify and advance areas of photonics critical to maintaining US competitiveness and national security: advanced manufacturing, communication and information technology, defense and national security, energy, and health and medicine. US investment in these photonics-driven fields will create jobs and grow the economy, positioning the country as a global technology leader, NPI said.

“Educating the public about photonics is key to the future of our industry and country,” said Mark Taggart, president of Laser Mechanisms Inc. and chair of NPI Advanced Manufacturing Subcommittee, who delivered remarks during Honda’s visit. “By embracing the goals of the NPI, Rep. Honda and other leaders in Washington, D.C., support America’s workers, businesses and overall industrial and economic strength.”

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