Spotlight On... COLA

By Labtalk

TEMECULA, Calif.—Lab executives from California and the western states gathered here April 26-27 for the COLA annual spring meeting.

Following the yearly golf outing at the famous Temecula Creek Inn, attendees celebrated the winner of the association’s Goodfellow Award. The honor is given to a lab executive and/or business leader who goes above and beyond to help others grow the industry. This year’s honoree is David Rips, President of Younger Optical, which today is the world’s largest independently owned spectacle lens company. A 2013 inductee into the OLA Hall of Fame, Rips started at Younger, the family business, in 1959. In the ensuing years, he famously balanced two part-time careers—one, in the optical industry and, the other, as a professional poker player.

He was uniquely successful in both. Under his leadership, Younger received 12 OLA Director’s Choice Awards for a number of product innovations. In accepting the award, Rips said, “Since the 13th century, people who sell and make eyeglasses have been among the most important people in society. What industry would I rather be in?”

In addition to continuing his leadership role at Younger, Rips told the audience of lab executives and vendors that he plans to use social media to “teach the world about how great the optical industry is,” with a particular focus on the important innovations that give eyeglass wearers the “gift of sight.”

Steve Sutherlin, lab division liaison for The Vision Council, COLA’s parent organization, remarked, “I can’t think of an individual more deserving of the Goodfellow honor than David. He is a true innovator and entrepreneur. His contribution to, and his passion for, our industry is unmatched. I marvel at what he has accomplished in his career, and am honored to call him my friend and colleague.”

The next day featured an agenda of informative speakers, including Hedley Lawson, an attorney and Managing Partner, Aligned Growth Partners, who addressed legal issues relating to California’s new recreational marijuana laws, the state’s new salary history ban (for prospective new hires) and sexual assault/harassment in the age of the #MeToo Movement; Rick Van Arnam, VCA legal counsel, who provided an update on California Prop 65 product labeling legislation; and Bill Oakes (Qualcomm) and Sabine Rentschar (VSP), of the American Society for Quality, who shared their thoughts on “continuous improvement” in business. Finally, speaker Mike Karlsrud, a business consultant, focused his talk on “Danger in the Comfort Zone.”  ■


Progressive Identifier Goes Digital

A valuable old tool is getting a new look—and, like the lenses it catalogs, it is going digital.

The Progressive Identifier Catalog, an annual publication produced under the auspices of the VCA, is moving from print to online with the 2018. The new format will add value to the resource for users, enabling a number of new functions, including, a fully searchable database of progressives; search capabilities allowing users to find lenses by brand name, manufacturer and even “symbol” (the marking on the lens surface) and live updating; VCA members can even add their own, private-label progressive brands to the catalog.