COLA Spring Meeting


Temecula, Calif. once gain provided the setting for the annual COLA Spring Meeting April 25-26, and as always the two-day event provided lab executives and vendor representatives with a chance to learn, network and, of course, have a little fun.

After the annual golf tournament, which as usual started the proceedings, COLA attendees gathered for dinner at the Temecula Creek Inn to recognize one of their own with the “Goodfellow” award. The Goodfellow honor is presented each year to an individual who actively contributes to the advancement of the optical industry, and the 2019 honoree was Keith Grossman, co-founder of Simplify Optics in Los Angeles, who has also served on the board of COLA in several capacities.

“I am truly honored to be included in the group of Goodfellow recipients,” Grossman said after being presented with the award by last year’s winner, David Rips of Younger Optics. “Whenever I look at that award, I am always in awe of the incredible people who came before me that I still admire to this day.”

The second day of the event was all about learning and networking. Michael C. Vitale, ABO, Senior Technical Director & Lens Division Liaison, The Vision Council, and Rick Van Arnam, Regulatory Legal Counsel Barnes, Richardson & Colburn, LLP, presented an update on the Vision Council’s advocacy efforts on California Proposition 65, legislation that governs the handling of products containing BpA (including polycarbonate). The pair noted that the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) deemed the group’s application for a waiver for lens processing facilities “complete” in March. At press time, the Vision Council was still waiting for a ruling; however, Vitale and Van Arnam advised attending labs to “continue to label” all products containing BpA. The Vision Council’s guidance on this issue can be found at: hangesMemo_06_27-mcv-final.pdf.

Hedley Lawson of Aligned Growth Partners, Gina Rosenberger of VSP and Monica Alvarez of Costco delivered a talk entitled “Attracting and Retaining Critical Talent,” which focused on best practices for hiring and retaining quality staff. Among their recommendations: develop a talent acquisition strategy and partner with local trade schools to identify potential employees. They also emphasized the importance of “marketing” your lab to potential employees to attract quality candidates.

Scott Axonovitz, Chief Revenue Officer, Visibly, provided COLA attendees with an overview of his company and telemedicine in eyecare in general. He noted that, in 2019, consumers will spend $108.8 billion on Home Health Care and TeleMedicine Services, and that that number is expected to increase to $186.8 billion by 2027.

COLA 2019 also included a panel discussion called “Rightsizing Your Lab,” featuring panelists Steve Swalgen of Santinelli International), Jeff Grumbling of Optotech, Al Bednar of Coburn Technologies and Robb Kohn of Automation & Robotics. Panelists offered advice on how to correctly invest in lab equipment, ensure product quality and invest in automation, among other topics.


Labtalk June 2020