OLA and Vision Council Explore Synergies, Including Co-Location of OLA Annual Meeting with Vision Expo West 2010

FAIRFAX, Va.—Optical Laboratories Association (OLA) and The Vision Council have announced they are exploring ways that the two associations can combine their efforts and activities for the benefit of their respective members, including combining the annual OLA meeting with International Vision Expo West.

“OLA and The Vision Council have always worked together on projects of mutual interest,” said J.Larry Enright of Perferx Optical, president of OLA. “It just makes sense to look at the full range of our memberships and activities to determine how we can each best serve the ophthalmic industry.”

An open forum to discuss the collaboration between OLA and The Vision Council will be held during the December 4 General Session at The OLA 2009 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. with representatives from both organizations.

“We realize the first question on everyone’s mind would be regarding the combining of the OLA annual exposition with International Vision Expo West,” said Mike Daley, chairman of The Vision Council. “However, there are various other considerations for OLA and The Vision Council, including overlapping memberships, activities within the organizations and the priorities of each organization. It is our responsibility as member-driven organizations to take the time to consider every opportunity for actions that will benefit our membership as a whole.”

OLA vice president Jon Jacobs of Superior Optical Lab, commented, “Changes in the industry have altered the business interests of our memberships. The definitions of ‘supplier’ and ‘laboratory’ are changing. As the industry moves forward, we need to re-align our organizations to mirror the structure and meet the needs of the industry and better serve all of our customers.”

Jeff Szymanski of Toledo Optical, an OLA board member, said OLA is surveying its members in advance to confirm their core values and expectations from the OLA Annual Meeting, and that feedback will guide the proposal to be considered in December.

“At the start, there are many more questions than answers,” said OLA-president-elect Kevin Bargman of Hawkins Optical, “but the underlying question is always, ‘How will this benefit our members?’”

The two associations said they will continue to collect member feedback on proposed changes to help guide their discussion. The organizations aim to have a final proposal at the end of the first quarter of 2010 for consideration by their respective memberships.