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Four honored with photonics awards

Gathering at the Hyatt Regency Rochester on Tuesday, Sept. 12, critical members of the photonics industry honored four members for their outstanding work in education and development.

Hosted by the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC)/New York Photonics, the annual awards, presented by RRPC Executive Director Tom Battley, recognized four pioneers in the areas of leadership, education, entrepreneurship and distinguished service in the fields of photonics and optics.

The entrepreneur award went to Lasermax CEO Dr. Susan Houde-Walter. A University of Rochester Ph.D. recipient, Houde-Walter’s company is a certified woman-owned small business specializing in laser technology for use in military, law enforcement and security arenas. Houde-Walter was recognized for “demonstrating creativity, innovative spirit and drive in pursuit of the dream of creating an industry-leading company.”

Houde-Walter formerly served as president of the Optical Society of America, as well as a professor in UR’s School of Optics from 1993-2005.

The award for leadership went to Dr. John Bruning. Retired since 2009, Bruning served in various capacities, from general manager to president, at Rochester’s Tropel since 1984. Tropel is a leading manufacturer of precision optics and specialized meteorology equipment.

Bruning was recognized for “working with RRPC members and the community to promote the Rochester Region’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Industry.”

The award for education went to Monroe Community College endowed professor of optics Alexis Vogt. Vogt, an optical physicist, has held positions and internships at Bausch & Lomb, Corning and, most recently, at Melles Griot, where she served as applications engineer, business development manager and senior product manager. Netting a 2015 IDEX KEEP Award for her work at Melles Griot, Vogt was offered financial incentives to stay at the company. She, instead, opted to move into education at MCC.

The program Vogt teaches in, Optical Systems Technology, is the only one of its kind in the nation.

John Herbrand received the distinguished service award. He has been RRPC’s attorney since it was formed in 1998. Herbrand has more than 30 years experience working with businesses in technology development and manufacturing, and he has primarily represented high-tech start-ups for the past 20 years in his private practice as a corporate attorney.

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