Arizona Optics Industry Continues Growth of Optics Valley

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The Arizona optics industry continues its upward trend with a $500,000 contract awarded to a business consultancy firm that is a member of the Arizona Technology Council, an organization dedicated to growing Optics Valley.

Optics Valley is an industry cluster with a mission to catalyze, convene, and connect optics, photonics, astronomy, and supporting businesses throughout Arizona.

Strategy1, which describes itself as a leading business consultancy that provides innovative and customized solutions that drive strategic alignment of people, plans, and processes, received the funds from the Small Business Association in 2019 as the base year and four additional option years.

John Dennis, president and co-founder of Strategy1 and co-chairman of Optics Valley, said the organization’s goal is to position Optics Valley as the leading organization for galvanizing optics innovation and talent and to provide a central network for established optics leaders.

“This SBA contract provides a huge boost to our ability to recruit members and grow the Optics Valley Committee’s program services and influence,” Dennis said.

In addition to Strategy1, key program partners include Pima Community College, the University of Arizona Tech Launch Arizona, and Tech Parks Arizona. In 2016, the council signed a collaborative agreement with the Arizona Optics Industry Association to create the Optics Valley Committee.

Dennis said the goal of Strategy1 is to adhere to the initiatives outlined by the Optics Valley Committee, which include:
  • Facilitating the growth of existing optics companies with proactive workforce development, direct mentoring and coaching, and innovative professional programs.
  • Promoting the formation and development of new entrepreneurial companies for optics and photonics technologies and applications by supporting existing incubator programs, applying focused assessments, and fostering education.
  • Enhancing the visibility of the optics industry as a critical enabling technology for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” through active community marketing program and participation in key industry conferences and trade shows.
“We are dedicated to making the Optics Valley Committee the centerpiece of an integrated, mutually supportive ecosystem that includes academics, optics companies, and support services,” said Steven G. Zylstra, the council’s president and CEO. “The SBA contract will provide the additional resources needed to achieve our goal of making the Arizona optics industry a recognized world leader in the innovation economy.”

Additional support for technology creation and invention will come from the University of Arizona, especially its College of Optical Sciences; BIO5 Institute; and Steward Observatory. Networking and community support will come from a wide variety of organizations, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, Small Business Development Corporation, Startup Tucson, Southern Arizona Leadership Conference, and the Tucson Metro Chamber.

Published: March 2019
BusinessAmericaseducationOpticsArizona Technology CouncilOptics ValleyStrategy1Small Business AssociationcontractRapidScan

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