With the fall colors just starting to appear in northern Michigan, EOT was proud to host the quarterly meeting of Mi-Light, our Michigan photonics cluster. What’s this all about, you ask? According to the Mi-Light Mission Statement:
“Mi-Light serves as the focal point for the photonics industry in Michigan, bringing together professionals from companies, academia and organizations, dedicated to mutually supporting, promoting and growing Michigan's photonics industry. Mi-Light’s mission is to promote and grow our internationally-recognized talent pool and leverage our strong industrial and academic capabilities in order to expand the photonics industry, attract funding and stimulate innovation in Michigan.” – www.mi-light.org
Representatives from many regions of our great state made the trek north to discuss our industry’s past, present, and most importantly, our future. The weekend started out with an enjoyable and relaxing reception Friday evening at the top of The Grand Traverse Resort sponsored by local resident, successful businessman, and philanthropist, Casey Cowell. Mr. Cowell actively supports and promotes anything “high tech” in northern Michigan and was a welcome addition to our group.
With an awesome view of Grand Traverse County as the backdrop, Mi-Light Board Members and meeting organizers Michelle Stock and Rick Kurtz welcomed and thanked everyone for making the trip. Mi-Light members then had the opportunity to hear from our local officials including Ed Baily of Northwestern Michigan College, Tom Menzel-GT County Administrator, Jean Derenzy-GT County Planning and Development, and Lydia Murray from the MEDC.
Saturday’s formal meeting was held at EOT’s new 40,000 square foot facility in Traverse City and started off with a casual breakfast where members were provided another opportunity to network. With coffee and bagels in hand, we commenced our meeting which included the opportunity for members to present an overview of their respective company’s history and market strengths. Ed Baily from Northwestern Michigan College spoke about their Engineering Technology program and its photonics emphasis while soliciting feedback for ways to increase awareness. Janis Valdmanis, General Manager for ThorLabs UFO, gave a detailed presentation on their successful ultrafast optoelectronic products along with background on their office in Michigan. Special guest, Tom Hausken-Senior Advisor for the Optical Society of America (OSA), coordinated his visit to Michigan in order to attend and provide our group with a thorough update on market conditions, influences, trends, and what to expect for the next few years based on his comprehensive market knowledge.
To close out the business portion of our meeting, Todd Heger-Product Line Manager at EOT, discussed the history of EOT and our continued efforts to serve the photonics industry with innovative products. After much valuable discussion throughout our day, the meeting concluded with EOT’s CEO-David Scerbak leading the group on a plant tour of our new facility with additional networking before we parted ways.
We would like to extend our thanks to the other Mi-Light members who made the effort to attend our meeting including Anca Sala from Baker College, Paul and Mrs. Bourget from Lumenflow, Nick Powell from Dow Corning, Deanna McMillen from L-3Com, Mi-Light Executive Director-Helen Ewing who joined us via phone, and EOT representatives Ben Nelson, Michael Bean, Steve Johnson, and Haily Papes. We enjoyed hosting this event as we all continue to benefit from the efforts of Mi-Light.