I think many of us are very concerned about the political, economic, and social situation in Ukraine, which at the end of February was very fluid with the Russian military entering the country in a massive attack. There is an immediate question as to how the US and Western Europe’s economic sanctions against Russia might affect the world’s largest industrial fiber laser manufacturer IPG Photonics.
In their fourth quarter earnings call presentation on February 15, 2022, Tim Mammen (Exec. VP and CFO of IPG Photonics) stated, “We are closely monitoring the situation between Russia and Ukraine. As we have disclosed before, we supply components between our major manufacturing operations in the U.S., Germany, and Russia. At this time, it’s unclear if sanctions would be put in place and should they be, if they would cover components bought or sold from our Russian subsidiary. Sanctions could also target Russian banks and the banking system. In response to this uncertainty, we’re developing contingency plans to mitigate possible disruptions, including increasing local inventory levels of key imported components and increasing production at other locations.”
A disclaimer on my part: I am privileged to have been elected, in 1993, as the second non-Ukraine and first North American member of the Ukraine Academy of Engineering Sciences. Further, one of my oldest, special friends is Kyiv Polytechnic Institute Professor Vladimir Kovalenko, a well-known Ukraine laser processing practitioner, author, lecturer, and educator. During a lengthy teaching assignment in China, Vladimir was elected as a National Distinguished Expert of China, where he was responsible for my appointment as Distinguished Expert of Overseas Expertise at the Zhejiang University of Technology in China.
Vladimir, and his wife, have been ardent supporters of democracy in Ukraine, and at one point in time he notified me that he was manning a barrier in the streets in a protest that occurred in electoral fraud2004 Ukrainian presidential electionafter claims of massive corruption, voter intimidation and
Ukraine citizens are zealous advocates for their country, always ready to rally in support of others in need. I learned this firsthand when on one of his visits to the U.S., Vladimir’s flight home had to be postponed several weeks due to airline flight cancellations. I was able to tap into the tight-knit U.S. and Canadian Ukraine communities who rallied to offer Vladimir-funded speaking engagements that allowed him support here in North America during this period. There are slightly more than one million Americans of Ukrainian descent, representing 0.3% of the American population and about 1.4 million persons of full or partial Ukraine origin residing in Canada (the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine itself and Russia).
So, I am not surprised when I hear about the patriotic response of Ukraine citizens. I can attest it’s in the genes.