Mike Hundert, Vision Council chairman.

SAN DIEGO—As optical executives gathered this week at The Vision Council’s annual Executive Summit here, the organization announced this morning that it has established a new Optical Retail Division. The event at the Hotel Del Coronado, held Jan. 24 to 26, draws executives from across the optical industry to hear about current economic trends and business strategies. “The relevance of retail’s role in the optical industry cannot be understated,” said Mike Hundert, CEO of De Rigo REM and chairman of The Vision Council’s board of directors.

“As the industry has evolved, so has the relationship between retail and wholesale. The Optical Retail Division will enable The Vision Council and its members to stay at the forefront of how consumers experience and purchase optical products, and further our ability to empower better lives through better vision.”

The 2018 Executive Summit has 35+ retail representatives from 16 different optical retailers in attendance, many of whom are existing members of The Vision Council through operating divisions such as the Lab Division. These companies, who have become the founding Optical Retail Division members, are able to maintain membership under each applicable division.

Many of these representatives attended an inaugural Optical Retail Division meeting here, where they learned more about The Vision Council’s current programs and discussed potential future programs for the Division. The organization will continue to engage with these and other key leaders in optical retail in the development of programs and services, and is in the process of recruiting an Optical Retail Division liaison to further these relationships and best meet the needs of the newly announced Division. This meeting included representatives from MyEyeDr., Grand Vision/Insight Optical Company, Sam's Club Optical - Home Office, Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente, SCPMG, National Vision, Inc., Rosin Eyecare and Wal-Mart - Home Office.

The annual meeting kicked off with The Vision Council’s inaugural “State of the Industry” address. Senior director of Industry Research Services, Steve Kodey, provided a U.S. optical market overview with the latest VisionWatch market research data that indicates the market is expected to grow by 1.8 percent in 2018.

Each member of The Vision Council’s officers was confirmed for a second one-year term today during the summit’s business meeting portion, including Mike Hundert, chief executive officer and chief creative officer of De Rigo REM as chairman, Ken Bradley of Eschenbach Optik as vice chairman, Robert Liener of A&A Optical as the secretary/treasurer, and Marty Bassett of Walman Optical as immediate past chairman. Confirmed for a second two-year term as directors at large were Ray Khalil of Lafont USA, Don Oakley of VSP Optics Group, and Catherine Rauscher of Transitions. Rebecca Geifer of Modo Eyewear was confirmed for an initial two-year term as director at large. The complete roster for the 2018 board can be found online at thevisioncouncil.org.

“The continued growth of our industry is dependent upon the personal growth and development of the executives who are moving the industry forward. It is an honor that our industry’s leaders trust The Vision Council, year after year, to provide the catalyst for that growth,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “I’m incredibly proud of the team of experts we have at our organization, including those presenting today’s State of the Industry, who are sought after by so many in the industry. With these resources, and the guidance of the optical leaders who make up our esteemed board of directors, I’m excited for what’s to come as we continue to strengthen our programs, our industry and the next generation of industry leaders.”

More information about The Vision Council’s Optical Retail Division is posted at thevisioncouncil.org/opticalretail. Any questions about the new division, or information on becoming a member can be directed to Greg Chavez, The Vision Council’s executive vice president of operations and membership, at gchavez@thevisioncouncil.org or (703) 740-1399.