Bill Wells, former Newport Spectra-Physics vice president, dies

William (Bill) Wells, former long-time vice president of export operations at Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division (Mountain View, CA), died Sunday, Oct. 7, from complications of metastatic melanoma.

Nov 1st, 2007
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William (Bill) Wells, former long-time vice president of export operations at Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division (Mountain View, CA), died Sunday, Oct. 7, from complications of metastatic melanoma. He was 65.

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As many people in the industry know, Bill’s friendships extended around the world. One of Bill’s dreams was to encourage the study of foreign culture through language. He embraced the idea that one-on-one interpersonal communication would lead to greater global understanding.

In the early days of Spectra-Physics (1980), Bill elected to live in Japan, where he learned to speak fluent Japanese and established Spectra-Physics, KK. Later, he helped establish the Spectra-Physics European distributor sales channel, SP Export, which today is one of the most successful distribution organizations in the laser industry. At Spectra-Physics, SP Export stands as a unique and tightly knit family with extraordinary vibrancy and growth where Bill’s spirit will live on. Shortly before his retirement, Bill helped establish both the Chinese and the Taiwanese distributor subsidiaries for Newport.

“Bill Wells was a true international pioneer within the laser and photonics industry, yet throughout his career he remained humble and true to his conviction that growing a global community was not only good for business but aided a greater understanding among cultures,” said Reinhard Ebel, director of the Spectra-Physics international business unit.

One of Bill Wells’ many accomplishments was-in addition to his international presence and contributions-his participation in and leadership of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DOC) Sensors and Instrument Technical Advisory Committee, which is responsible for educating the DOC about commercial trends and technology advances within the laser industry. Under his chairmanship, new export regulations were implemented establishing fair trade practices of U.S. companies that allow the laser industry to remain competitive in the world arena.

He is survived by his wife Judy and three children, Jennifer, Jonathan, and Nicole.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Bill Wells Memorial Fund, UC Berkeley, University Relations, Gift Administration 2080 Addison Street, MC 4200, Berkeley, CA, 94720-4200. See www.wellsrepublic.com for more information.

Merrill M. Apter
Senior Director, sales and business development,
Newport’s Semiconductor Diode Laser group

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