Professor Volodymyr S. Kovalenko celebrates 80

June 22, 2021
On June 20, 2021, Professor Volodymyr S. Kovalenko celebrated his 80th birthday while still active in industrial laser material processing.
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On June 20, 2021, Professor Volodymyr S. Kovalenko joined a very limited group of scientists and educators as he celebrated his 80th birthday while still active in industrial laser material processing, a field of technology in which he has been active since 1964.

I’m not certain when I first had the pleasure of meeting Volodymyr, as too many years have passed and written correspondence has long since disappeared. I think it might have been June 1979, when I participated in a symposium on laser processing in Moscow. If not, certainly at a conference shortly after this date. From that time onward, he and I met periodically as our paths crossed at various laser processing events around the world. He always liked to comment about a presentation he made in Japan sometime in the late 1970s where he and I were the only fluent English speakers present, citing this as our first meeting. I’m sure when he reads this he will correct my dates in his typically jocular manner, as he has a delightful sense of humor that has attracted him to colleagues all over the world.

Over our long association, Volodymyr and I had many occasions of note. Chief among these may be a visit he made to the U.S. at the height of a period of massive political unrest in the Ukraine. He was staying at my home as I had scheduled some visits for him to present his views on industrial laser processing to manufacturing companies, which he did in his usual inimitable fashion. He is a compelling speaker and at that time had strong views on the future prospects for laser technology in manufacturing. After continuing his travels in the U.S., he returned to my home prior to leaving the U.S. for Kiev, a trip that was canceled as Ukraine Airlines was grounded indefinitely.

It was at this point that I was introduced to the widespread Ukraine presence in North America as various organizations rallied to support Volodymyr’s continuing stay in the U.S. with invitations for him to speak, until we were able to arrange air travel back to Kiev. I was astounded by the Ukraine organizations in the U.S. who welcomed Volodymyr.

As my houseguest, he and I had long hours to exchange thoughts on our countries and the technology we both love. As a result, a bond was established that rules our relationship until today.

Even though occasions to meet have not occurred lately, Volodymyr and I remain in contact, most recently with common interests in advancing industrial laser education in Europe and China.

It gives me great pleasure to honor Professor Kovalenko as he celebrates his 80th birthday.        

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