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Vision Council Lab Division Announces Directors’ Choice Award Recipient and 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees




(PRESS RELEASE) ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Lab Division of The Vision Council announced the industry veterans who will be recognized during the Directors’ Choice Award and 19th Annual Lab Division Hall of Fame celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 26, in conjunction with the Lab Division Meeting and International Vision Expo West.

The Division has named Dave Cole, former president of Transitions Optical, as the 2018 recipient of the Directors’ Choice Award honoring his 26-plus years in the optical industry, as a champion for a game-changing technology, and as a partner to optical labs. Established in 1987 under the Optical Laboratories Association, now the Lab Division of The Vision Council, this award honors individuals and companies that have made outstanding contributions to the ophthalmic industry. Now in its 32nd year, the award is still recognized as one of the most prestigious in the industry.

Dave Cole will be recognized alongside this year’s Lab Division Hall of Fame inductees at the Hall of Fame banquet, held during The Vision Council’s Lab Division meeting at International Vision Expo West.

“The rich history of the optical industry is celebrated through the annual induction of individuals into the Lab Division Hall of Fame and the honoring of the Director’s Choice recipient,” said Ashley Mills, CEO of The Vision Council. “Individuals selected for membership to the Hall of Fame are those who have influenced or contributed to the advancement of the optical laboratory industry, and on behalf of The Vision Council, it is my sincere pleasure to honor the 2018 inductees who have had a direct hand in helping to move our industry and vision forward.”


2018 Lab Division Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Ronald F. Cooke, O.D., Diversified Ophthalmics, Inc
  • Dr. Cooke created a large and successful network of laboratories, started one of the first true buying groups and soft lens distribution centers and ultimately combined the first “one stop shop” organization in the wholesale optical market.
  • Ralph G. Kent Jr., Luzerne Optical Laboratories
  • Ralph is recognized for his long history of accomplishments in the industry from his time at Bausch & Lomb and Multi-Optics (later Varilux), to SOLA Optical, Younger Optics, and Luzerne Optical.
  • Daniel C. Lundberg, Digital Vision, Inc
  • Dan has spent the past 29 years working with the Digital Vision, Inc. (DVI) – selling, installing, supporting, and designing software for optical laboratories.
  • Mike Nathe, Essilor of America
  • With 35 years of industry experience, Mike is recognized for his work with Midwest Vision Centers, Custom Eyes, Optical Resources and ultimately Essilor with Signet Armorlite.
  • Richard C. Palmer, Practical Engineering, Inc / Walman
  • Richard is recognized for his 45-year career in the industry – most notably with Walman Optical.
  • Mike Sutherlin, Sutherlin Optical
  • Mike was Vice President of Sutherlin Optical, helping lead them to being one of the largest independent labs in the country, and later an Essilor Partner Lab.
  • Michael Walach, Quest Optical Specialty Lab
  • Michael is recognized for his 45-year career in the industry – most notably his multiple patents for progressive lens technology and for specialty lenses.
  • Dana Weeks, Optical Services International
  • Dana is a 28-year veteran of the optical industry, serving as President of Optical Services International for 23 years.

Nominations for candidates for the Hall of Fame are submitted by members of The Vision Council. The selection of the individuals for the Lab Division Hall of Fame is made by an anonymous committee of industry veterans. Consideration is given for contributions to the optical laboratory industry, Lab Division of The Vision Council, the candidate’s individual accomplishments, personal character, reputation, and length of time active in the industry.

All members of the vision community are invited to attend the Hall of Fame events, recognizing those who have contributed to the establishment of the wholesale optical industry. Tickets for the Lab Division Hall of Fame and Directors Choice Dinner can be purchased here. To learn more about or register for the Lab Division Meeting, visit



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