US Optical Hosts Grand Opening Event

By Andrew Karp
Group Editor, lenses and technology

Roger Spillman of Insight Vision, left, and some US Optical employees at the US Optical’s grand opening event. Left to right, Lynn Sweet of Council Optometric, Kim Hall of the Onondaga County economic development manager, Hank DelFavero, US Optical customer service manager and Roger Spillman of Insight Vision relaxing after attending a seminar and taking a lab tour. 
EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y.—A diverse group comprised of more than 100 eyecare professionals attended the grand opening of US Optical, the 10-month old East Syracuse lab dedicated to producing free-form lenses. Guests from upstate New York, New York City, Atlanta, Texas, Florida and California participated in the Oct. 25 event, reflecting US Optical’s national customer base.

The event offered continuing education courses and an opportunity for guests to see and learn about the latest free-form lens processing technology.

“It was a real success,” said Ralph Cotran, who owns and operates the lab in partnership with his brothers Ron and Robert. “The NYSSO (New York State Society of Opticians) classes were well attended, with an average of 35 opticians in each class.”

The presenters were Dick Paul from Vision Products, Inc., Northeast, who discussed Seiko’s internal free-form progressive lenses; Barbara Welty of Carl Zeiss Optical, who focused on AR lenses; Laurie Pierce of Shamir Insight, who spoke about Shamir’s recently expanded freeform family of lenses, including the new Shamir Element. All classes were worth one CE credit and were approved by the New York State Society of Opticians.

Richard Ketchum, left, Richard Levy, center and Debbie Martini from Eye Openers enjoying the cocktail party. Lynn Sweet and Sam Rosenwie of Council Optometric listen to Ron Cotran explaining free-form manufacturing.
Following the courses, Ron Cotran took visitors on a tour of US Optical’s robotic free-form line, and were given free, customized free-form progressive lenses. They also toured the lab’s Carl Zeiss coating center.

A highlight of the event was the awarding of a certificate of eligibility from Onondaga County, Empire Zone, designating US Optical as a “Regionally Significant Project” in New York State. Kim Hall, coordinator of the Onondaga County office of economic development, Empire Zone, was on hand to deliver the certificate.

“We received this certificate for our commitment to invest significantly in New York State, our commitment to hire 50 employees or more in the next three years and our commitment, development and production of free-form and digital technology,” explained Ralph Cotran. “US Optical will receive tax incentives and benefits from New York State over the next 10 years.”

Guests later enjoyed a cocktail party and catered dinner at which iPods, Zeiss cameras, Seiko watches and other prizes were raffled off.