LEOMA Goes Into 'Holding Pattern'

Feb. 2, 2004
San Jose, CA, February 2, 2004. After nearly 20 years as the North American laser industry's only industry trade group, the Laser and Electro-Optics Manufacturers' Association (LEOMA) is going into hibernation. The decision was made by the LEOMA board at a meeting held during Photonics West.

San Jose, CA, February 2, 2004. After nearly 20 years as the North American laser industry's only industry trade group, the Laser and Electro-Optics Manufacturers' Association (LEOMA) is going into hibernation. The decision was made by the LEOMA board at a meeting held during Photonics West.

According to executive director Breck Hitz, the issue is primarily one of finances, an issue that has plagued the organization for many years. Member dues are based upon annual revenues, ranging from $600/year for a company with annual revenues of $600,000 or less to $2200/year for a company with annual revenues in the $200 million range. Over the years, these dues paid for a number of activities designed to advance the laser and optoelectronics industry, including programs to alleviate worker shortages, lobbying activities with government agencies, litigation reform, and participation in the ISO laser standards committee. But Hitz said that many companies just couldn't justify the expense.

"LEOMA has always been a struggle to survive," Hitz said. "It's the same thing as public TV�everything we do benefits the whole community whether or not you pay for it. But for much of the industry, the view was that whether or not they paid for it, they still benefited from our activities."

This attitude translated into less financial support than the organization needed to sustain itself. In recent years, a handful of individuals and companies have kept LEOMA afloat; according to Hitz, in the late 1990s Spectra-Physics donated $40,000 to the LEOMA treasury. Then, in 2000, four firms�Spectra-Physics, Coherent, Melles Griot, and Newport�put in $10,000 each to keep LEOMA going.

In the long run, however, there has just not been enough industry-wide support. In its newly streamlined capacity, LEOMA will function only as is needed to maintain the organization's name and alternative dispute resolution activities. LEOMA will still have a web site and Hitz will continue as executive director, overseeing the annual meeting and filing an annual report. Hitz has also been hired by four of the member companies�Spectra-Physics, Coherent, JDSU, and Newport�to function as a consultant in export control and ISO standards.

Founded in 1985 and originally called the Laser Association of America, at its high point LEOMA comprised around 50 member companies, with these companies accounting for about 90% of the lasers being manufactured in North America at the time (late 1990s). At present there are around 20 member companies.

Laser Focus World

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Motion Scan and Data Collection Methods for Electro-Optic System Testing

April 10, 2024
Learn how different scanning patterns and approaches can be used in measuring an electro-optic sensor performance, by reading our whitepaper here!

How Precision Motion Systems are Shaping the Future of Semiconductor Manufacturing

March 28, 2024
This article highlights the pivotal role precision motion systems play in supporting the latest semiconductor manufacturing trends.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!