FITCHBURG, Mass., July 7 -- US Rep. John Olver (D, MA) visited Headwall Photonics Tuesday to view an example of high-technology enterprises that are replacing traditional manufacturing in this central Massachusetts city. The businesses that once occupied areas mills and factories have long since departed the area; many have moved overseas for reduced labor costs and low-cost manufacturing.
Headwall Photonics COO David Bannon, right, describes the company's Hyperspec VS50 imaging spectrograph to Rep. John Olver (D, MA).
Based in the former Fitchburg Paper Co. building, Headwall was founded in 2003 after a management buyout of the optical division of Agilent Technologies (formerly American Holographic).
Headwall is using its expertise in nanophotonics engineering and manufacturing to produce spectral engines and optical subsystems for the analytical, life sciences, defense and telecommunications industries. It designs application-specific wavelength technology using embedded 'original' holographic diffraction gratings. Applications include interplanetary space exploration, airborne instruments for target recognition by the Department of Defense, process monitoring applications for the petrochemical industry and color-matching of complex materials such as textiles.
Darrin Milner, director of engineering at Headwall, said the company's forte is "developing smaller, specialized optical products capable of performing in the harshest environments."
David Bannon, Headwall's co-founder and COO, said it maintains a presence in central Massachusetts because "with the abundance of high-tech support from the local Fitchburg community and congressional leadership from individuals such as Congressman Olver who understand the technology, we are able to take advantage of the qualified work force in the area and draw upon the excellent colleges and universities within the region. It makes a lot of sense to continue to expand our business here, and we feel a strong commitment to the community."
Congressman Olver, a former chemistry professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, toured the facility and met with Bannon and Milner. They said he was particularly interested in the company's technology development and its economic impact in the area. (Headwall has doubled its work force in two years.)
"Technological innovation is at the core of the region's economic growth," Olver said. "Headwall Photonics is uniquely positioned to be a contributor to this success."
For more information, visit: www.headwallphotonics.com