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17 April 2013

Mi-Light photonics cluster alliance launched in Michigan

On 10 April, Mi-Light (the new non-profit alliance that brings together professionals from companies, academia and organizations to mutually support and promote photonics-related business in Michigan) was officially launched with its first annual meeting, which included the election and installation of its inaugural board of directors.

Mi-Light’s new board members include: chair Michelle Stock of MLStock Consulting; vice-chair & acting treasurer David Shindell of Data Optics Inc; secretary Anca Sala of Baker College; as well as Bodo Ehlers of Rigaku Innovative Technologies Inc; Sheila Jensen of diode laser firm Visotek Inc; Michael Klos, general manager of IPG Photonics Corp’s Midwest operations; and Richard Kurtz, CEO of Advanced Photonix Inc of Ann Arbor, MI.

The meeting was preceded by a networking event attended by guests and supporters of Mi-Light including Michael Finney, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Finance for the initiative was provided by the 21st Century Jobs Fund, a Michigan Strategic Fund program designed to accelerate the growth and diversification of Michigan’s economy.The MEDC, a public-private partnership between the state and local communities, provides administrative support for the fund.

In 2012, MEDC awarded Mi-Light $89,000 to kick-off activities supporting and promoting the growth of the State’s photonics industry cluster. Leaders from Michigan photonics companies, many of which are based in Washtenaw County, began meeting in 2008 to collaborate on developing Michigan’s photonics industry.

“We appreciate the foresight of the MEDC and the State in recognizing the important role that Michigan has to play in the global and rapidly expanding photonics industry,” says Mi-Light’s chair, Michelle Stock. “Industry and educational organizations from across the entire state are participating in Mi-light initiatives that will benefit many dimensions of the state economy.”

As well as Baker College, other educational establishments that are members of Mi-Light include Northwestern Michigan College, Grand Valley State University and the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Michigan. Other member companies include imaging metrology firm Coherix, Dow Corning Corp, Electro-Optics Technology Inc, EMAG Technologies Inc, Fraunhofer USA, L3 Communications’ EOTech division, Laser Mechanisms Inc, LumenFlow Corp, and Nanocerox.

Mi-Light will use the MEDC funding to:

  • promote Michigan’s industry and research assets in photonics to a global audience in order to attract companies, talent and new business;
  • increase awareness of Michigan’s breadth and depth of photonics capabilities and assets;
  • develop photonics education and training programs in Michigan to increase the availability of skilled technical personnel at all levels; and
  • stimulate collaboration among its members and with outside organizations.

Tags: photonics


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