NASHVILLE—OLA 2008 opened here on Nov. 6 amid a backdrop of thought provoking sessions as both attendees and exhibitors sought ways to improve business opportunities and tactics.

Members of the OLA board of directors (l to r) Mike Francesconi, Jonathan Jacobs, Kevin Bargman, Barney Dougher, J. Larry Enright, and Ed Dietz, III, cut the ribbon opening the show floor to attendees.
Nancy Friedman, known as the Telephone Doctor, opened the morning session with “Getting the Right Attitude: Keys to a Customer Service Culture.” Friedman stressed to the audience that, “more business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than to poor product.” She then outlined seven characteristics of a positive mental attitude that employers should look for when hiring new people to work on the front lines.

“Nancy Friedman’s presentation at the General Session was the first encore performance in my 14 years of arranging keynote speakers for the OLA,” said OLA executive director Bob Dziuban. “Nancy’s message is perfectly suited to the customer service culture of optical labs. Many OLA members use The Telephone Doctor’s video series for staff training,” he noted.

The day’s education program also included a panel discussion comprised of executives from some of the industry’s largest lab organizations. They spoke about the challenges of growing a lab’s business in the current economic climate during a session titled “Perspectives on the American Wholesale Optical Industry,” which drew an attentive audience.

“It was no surprise that this session on the future of the American wholesale optical industry was an SRO event. And the parallel classes on Thursday morning saw intense discussions as well, with engaged participants pursuing their interests with the speakers throughout the session,” Dziuban said.

In the afternoon, OLA attendees took to the Exhibit Hall with enthusiasm and energy as the doors swung open to the show floor featuring nearly 100 exhibitors. Digital surfacing technologies, automated finishing and coating systems, and the latest frames and lenses were available for attendees to “kick the tires or look under the hood.”

View VM's 2008 Top Labs Report.