Sponsored by Next Generation Manufacturing, Shipman & Goodwin and TRCC, the event featured two speakers – Christine Gemelli, Manager, Connecticut Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), and Dennis Leonard, Vice President of Operations at IPG Photonics, Oxford, MA.
Dr. Grace Sawyer Jones, President of TRCC, welcomed CTOPA to the college, and Judy Donnelly, Program Coordinator, Laser and Fiber Optic Technology at TRCC, later gave a tour of the unique optics labs that are part of the newly constructed campus.
Ms. Gemelli discussed how the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and how local high-tech companies can benefit from them.
A total of 11 federal departments participate in the SBIR program, and five of the 11 departments participate in the STTR program. The 11 include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health & Human Services, Homeland Security and Transportation as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the National Science Foundation.
“Through these two competitive programs,” she said, “the SBA ensures that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts, awarding $2 billion to small high-tech businesses. And this is grant money that does not have to be paid back.
“Under this program,” she continued, “companies can win $1 million, plus or minus, in grants, can win more than one grant per year and can win them year after year. Companies also retain their intellectual property and can become sole source suppliers to the government.”
In 2008, Connecticut had 113 grant winners from 53 unique companies that received $46 million in grants.
In the second presentation, Mr. Leonard from IPG discussed how fiber lasers have made a major impact on the worldwide material processing market, with their reliability proven on multiple material processing applications at all power levels in production environments.
He also discussed IPG’s hiring practices for technical resources. For engineers, he explained, they look for innovative, highly efficient individuals that produce quality work and that have Bachelors or advanced degrees. However, some engineers have grown out of their technician pool, he noted. For technicians, they desire an Associates degree in electronics or electro-optics, and military experience is welcomed.
In addition to these presentations, the CTOPA elected its Board of Directors just prior to the meeting.
The newly elected Officers of the Board included: Paul Denney of the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) Laser Application Laboratory, East Hartford, CT, as Chairman; Giovanni Tomasi of RSL Fiber Systems, East Hartford, CT, as President; Michael Retsky of Electron Optics Development, Trumbull, CT, as Treasurer; and Richard Rogoff of ASML, Wilton, CT, as Secretary.
Also elected to the Board were: Karen Birch, Next Generation Manufacturing, Hartford, CT; Robert Breault, Breault Research Organization, Tucson, AZ; Judy Donnelly, Three Rivers Community College, Norwich, CT; Ernest Guignon, Ciencia, East Hartford, CT; John Hansson, OFS Specialty Photonics, Avon, CT; Anastasios Maurudis, BioPhotonic Imaging, New Haven, CT; and Tom Nunn, Andor Technology, South Windsor, CT.
The Connecticut Optics and Photonics Association (CTOPA) was established in 2007 to promote the growth of the optics and photonics industry in the state of Connecticut through technological exchanges, educational activities, business seminars and networking opportunities. As of April 2008, the CTOPA was officially incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association. For more information, please visit www.ctopa.org.
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