(Press Release)

NORWALK, CT – Celebrating 30 years of contributions to the vision community, International Vision Expo & Conference has announced its inaugural class of Visionaries, recognizing a new generation of change-makers.

International Vision Expo launched its Visionaries campaign in 2015 to showcase the stories and achievements of individuals and groups working to make a difference and push progress for the eyecare and eyewear professions. This year's Visionaries are leaders and creative powerhouses who represent innovation and entrepreneurship, and are strongly dedicated to vision care, fashion and technology.

The 2016 Visionaries are:

  • Dynamic Duo: Ron Melton, OD, FAAO, and Randall K. Thomas, OD, FAAO
  • Creative Force: Eyewear Designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (edCFDA) featuring Christian Roth, creative director, Christian Roth Eyewear; Shane Baum, CEO and founder of Leisure Society; Blake Kuwahara, creative director, Blake Kuwahara Eyewear; Selima Salaun, founder and creative director, Selima Optique; Gai Gherardi, co-founder/co-designer, l.a.Eyeworks; Robert Marc, president and chief creative officer, Robert Marc Eyewear
  • Community Builder: Alan Glazier, OD, founder, ODs on Facebook
  • Next Generation Innovator: Kristin O'Brien, OD, Vision Source of GVR
  • Celebrated Speaker: Phernell Walker, II, ABOM, Master Optician
  • Inspirational Professor: Diana Shechtman, OD, professor, Nova Southeastern University
  • Passionate Philanthropist: Brittany Graber, ABOC, president and owner, Ulla Eyewear
  • Aspirational Mentor: Ryan Parker, OD, Family Vision Center
  • International Buyer: Melly Mae Martucci, optometrist, owner, OPTICA MASTERVISION, Panama
  • Inspired Entrepreneur: Ryan Horne, owner and founder, SPEX by Ryan
  • Designers: Christopher and Andrew Shalhoub, owners and founders, Parkman Sunglasses

"These visionaries represent the expansive network of creative talent, leadership and innovation within the Vision Expo community," says Tom Loughran, industry vice president, Reed Exhibitions. "These Visionaries set the standard of excellence for the vision community and are characteristic of the contributions and achievements of every single individual at Vision Expo where tens of thousands of professionals gather year-after-year. Vision Expo is where visionary ideas and visionary leaders are born."

From the classroom to the exhibit hall to evening parties in Midtown, the 2016 Visionaries will be engaged in every aspect of Vision Expo East, held April 14-17 in New York. Be sure to meet them at the following:

  • Dr. Alan Glazier and the edCFDA will be hosting separate events and receptions on Friday afternoon and evening.
  • Dr. Kristin O'Brien will be at all YPC events, including the Friday lunch and Saturday party.
  • Phernell Walker and Drs. Diana Shechtman, Alan Glazier, and Melton and Thomas will all be delivering education sessions. Between them, they'll have more than 18 hours of education. Search Vision Expo’s education program for the full list.

You can also find many of the Visionaries around Vision Expo at events and on the exhibit floor. To learn more about the background and accomplishments of the 2016 Visionaries, visit VisionExpoEast.com/Meet-the-Visionaries. If you’re interested in becoming a Visionary or nominating someone else, you can do so on Vision Expo’s website. Nominations are due by Feb. 29.

To engage with and support the growth of the eyecare community year-round, join VisionariesCommunity.com.

Registration for the 30th International Vision Expo East is open. To learn more, visit www.VisionExpo.com.

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