Lab Division feted six individuals at its 17th annual Hall of Fame banquet in September.

Left to right: Honorees Michael C. Vitale, Dick Whitney, Kimberly Hutton (accepting for John M. Young), Christie Walker, Craig D. Giles and James C. Tooke

James C. Tooke of Zyloware Eyewear was this year’s recipient of the Directors’ Choice Award, presented each year by the Lab Division of The Vision Council to an individual, company or organization that made outstanding contributions to the ophthalmic industry.

At a banquet held Sept. 14 at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Directors’ Choice and 17th Annual Hall of Fame Awards honored individuals “who have contributed to the advancement of the lab industry through innovation, education and leadership.”

Tooke, a regional account manager with Zyloware, began work in the optical industry in 1972 as a territory manager with Univis. In 1977, he started Independent Multi-Line Sales, which covered all 17 Midwest states. A former U.S. Air Force captain, Tooke has been selected “Man of the Year” twice by the Midwest Optical Laboratory Association.

“Always one to support lab associations and informal gatherings of optical folks, Jim is not only a friend to many but a mentor as well,” said Drake McLean, Lab Division chair. “His dedication to the optical business and the individuals within makes him deserving of the Directors’ Choice Award.”

Five individuals were also inducted in the Lab Division Hall of Fame: Craig D. Giles, Michael C. Vitale, Christie Walker, Dick Whitney and John M. Young.

Giles, retired executive vice president and general manager of Walman Optical, joined Walman in 2005 after the company’s purchase of Soderberg Optical, where he was president of Soderberg Opthalmic Services and served on its board of directors. Giles currently serves as president of the UMOGD Sight Preservation Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation that raises funds for visually and physically disabled young people, specifically for the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind. Giles has also served on the board of directors of Global Optics and as regional director of the Optical Laboratory Association.

Vitale, ABOM, LDO, NCLE, is currently the technical director and Lens Division liaison for The Vision Council. He began his career at Lens Tec Inc. and has held positions at Essilor of America and Sutherlin Optical prior to joining The Vision Council in 2012. Vitale also serves as secretariat to ANSI ASC Z80 and as a technical expert for ANSI, ISO, ASTM and other standards groups.

Christie Walker has been editor of LabTalk magazine for 19 years. Prior to LabTalk, Walker was a photojournalist for the Daily News and has published five fiction novels. She has attended and reported on every OLA/Lab Division and COLA event held the last 19 years and has worked as a reporter for Vision Monday at 38 consecutive Vision Expos. In 2011, Walker received the Pleiades Award by the Optical Women’s Association and in 2012 was recognized as one of the “Most Influential Women” in the mentor category for her work with OWA.

Dick Whitney began his career at American Optical, conducting physical and optical testing. In 1990, Whitney and Dr. John Winthrop were awarded a patent for aspheric spectacle lens surfaces. Today, Whitney is the manager of industry standards for Carl Zeiss Vision and chair of The Vision Council’s Lens Technical committee, a position he has held since 1977 that was once chaired by his father. Whitney also serves as chair of ANSI Z80.1 and has been involved in ANSI, ISO and The Vision Council’s committee work for 25 years. As executive director of the Zeiss-sponsored Optical Heritage Museum in Southbridge, MA, Whitney has worked to preserve items from the original American Optical museum and increase its collection.

John M. Young founded Colts Laboratories in 1997, the optical industries’ first independent testing facility. An engineer and optician, Young has been involved in many facets of the industry, including research and development, engineering and quality. He holds numerous patents for the design of optical lenses, devices and FDA drop ball testing protocol. Young began his career in the optical industry in 1969 at American Optical, where he worked in research and development and ran its in-house testing lab. In 1990, Young became director of quality at Essilor, later becoming vice president of new product development.

Cara Aidone Huzinec is assistant editor of Optical Lab Products.


Leave A Reply