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Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Optics Industry Association Sign Collaborative Agreement

Posted on: Aug 15, 2016 | By: Alec Robertson

The two organizations join forces to build on long-standing optics sector success in Arizona

 PHOENIX and TUCSON, August 15, 2016 — In a move to boost their ongoing efforts to grow the science and technology sectors of Arizona’s economy and increase the number of high-paying jobs in the state, the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Optics Industry Association (AOIA) today announced the two organizations have signed a collaborative agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Council will form an Arizona Optics Industry Committee to advocate for and promote the interests of the industry by holding optics-focused events and helping to influence legislative policy positions at the local, state and federal levels. The committee will develop a roadmap for the optics industry sector in Arizona and use the Council’s established leadership and infrastructure to address critical issues.

“The Council has proven its ability to be an advocate and collective voice for science and technology companies throughout our state,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “By working together with the AOIA, we are well-positioned to refocus the agenda and industry ecosystem to grow the optics-industry hub that has long existed in Arizona.”

Through its 24-year history, the AOIA has promoted the growth of the optics industry both locally and internationally. It served as the primary connector between the optics industry and other leading science and technology industries in Arizona: aerospace and defense, bioscience, semiconductor, astronomy and manufacturing. It also has been actively engaged in a wide variety of industry affairs, including establishing other optics-related organizations in cities around the world, protecting Arizona’s dark skies for the astronomy community, promoting science and math education, and supporting more industry-friendly U.S. export regulations.

“We are excited to leverage our history of success and leadership with the Council’s statewide reach,” said Bob Breault, president of the Arizona Optics Industry Association. “The Council’s membership base is diverse, which, in the end, will benefit our members. The agreement we have reached is really the next step in our vision. We want industry leaders connected and working together on a mix of very diverse projects ― all here in Arizona.”

Tucson is home to one of the world’s largest clusters of optics companies, earning the region the name “Optics Valley.” Part of the reason companies choose to make Tucson their home is the world-renowned College of Optical Sciences at The University of Arizona.

“Our goal is to catalyze, convene and connect the optics industry sector across Arizona, building on AOIA's long-term success,” said Alex Rodriguez, vice president of the Arizona Technology Council’s Southern Arizona office. “We look forward to playing an integral part of the on-going collaboration between Tucson’s optics companies and The University of Arizona’s College of Optical Sciences. The college graduates more highly qualified scientists with master’s and doctoral degrees than any other in the nation and our desire is to keep them right here in Arizona. The Council and the optics companies are in a terrific position to continue to build momentum for this vital Arizona industry.”

Current AOIA members will receive a letter about the transition and will be invited to join the Council. If current AOIA members have questions about joining the Council, they can contact Alex Rodriquez at (520) 275-0519 or