The Arizona Technology Council (ATC) and the Arizona Optics Industry Association (AOIA) have signed a collaborative agreement to help expand the science and technology sectors in Arizona and boost the number of high-paying jobs in the state.
ATC will create an Arizona Optics Industry Committee to advocate for and promote the interests of the industry via optics-focused events and influence legislative policy positions at all government levels.
“The council has proven its ability to be an advocate and collective voice for science and technology companies throughout our state,” Steven Zylstra, president and CEO of the ATC, said. “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.”
In its 24-year of existence, the AOIA has promoted the growth of the optics industry on local and global levels. It acts as the connection between the optics industry and other science and technology fields in Arizona such as aerospace and defense, bioscience and manufacturing. It also establishes other optics-related organizations, protects Arizona’s dark night skies for the astronomy community and promotes science and math education.
“We are excited to leverage our history of success and leadership with the council’s statewide reach,” AOIA President Bob Breault said. “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 has become known as Optics Valley for being the base for one of the largest groups of optics companies.
“Our goal is to catalyze, convene and connect the optics industry sector across Arizona, building on AOIA's long-term success,” Alex Rodriguez, vice president of the Arizona Technology Council’s Southern Arizona office, said. “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.”