pride power progress
April 2019
News : From The Opticon Hub
Moses Nawlo

One of the OAA’s many goals is to bring opticians together in hopes of creating a strong and unified voice . Vision Expo aids us in our mission by bringing opticians from all walks of life together and promoting the sharing of ideas.
The OAA’s participation in Opticon, at Vision Expo, has proven successful, in that it grants us the opportunity to meet and learn more about you and your professional needs .
 We love seeing and hearing from you!

The OAA Member:
"I love the Opticon Hub! This is the place to congregate with friends, meet new ones, and catch up on national news."
~Shirley Early, Todd Rogers Eyewear Ambassador

The Opticianry Student:
" This is my first Vision Expo, and I never realized before how big the industry is. It’s really nice that the Opticon Hub is here so I can take a break and people watch. "
~Anonymous, NJ

The Educator:
"It’s a great experience interacting with fellow eyecare professionals and having conversations about the importance of proper education with others in the field with the goal of uplifting the industry. Conferences and expos help me understand these new trends."
-Steven Indelicato, Adjunct Professor at City Tech & VP of Indelicato Opticians

The Optician/Optometrist:
"The Opticon Hub at Vision Expo East in NYC was a tremendous experience this year. As the leading source for education for Opticians, Contact Lens Technicians and other eyecare professions, the booth was a wealth of knowledge and a phenomenal resource."
-Dr. Aarlan Aceto, OD, Program Coordinator and Associate Professor at MXCC
Your State Association
Update on Virginia-HB2099
Judy Canty, President OAV
The Bill

In early October 2018, the Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee recommended to the Virginia General Assembly that several licensed professions be deregulated to comply with the Governor’s request to reduce the size and budget of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Chief among those profession were licensed opticians. The Opticians Association of Virginia immediately formed a legislative committee to address this threat and to protect licensed opticians.
Our Action

The committee began working to find a lobbyist and planning for a four- to five-month-long campaign targeting the JLARC committee members and eventually the General Laws Committee in the House of Delegates. We developed six talking points to ensure that every optician in VA was speaking from the same page and that, if and when they were asked for a comment, our message would be consistent.

We contracted with a lobbying group who had worked with OAV in the past and allowed them to help us develop a cohesive and powerful strategy. OAV then also contracted with a grassroots messaging company to compile a detailed email list and reached out to potential donors for the financial support we would need in addition to that supplied by the OAA.
When called upon by our lobbyist, our members, non-members and patients bombarded the members of the General Laws Committee with phone calls and emails; over 19,000 calls and emails were received in just a matter of days. That single event had such impact that the Committee Chair asked us to stop on account of our having glutted their phone lines, voice mail and email systems. It was a signal that the General Laws Committee heard us.

The Result

We closely monitored the progress of this bill (HB2099), which appeared to have languished in committee, with no public commentary or hearing scheduled. As the 2019 Session neared its end, our lobbyist was notified and confirmed to us that the bill died in committee and will not be acted upon.

Thank You

The Opticians Association of Virginia could not have weathered this battle without the financial and professional support we received from the Opticians Association of America and its Affiliated Association members. We are immensely encouraged and honored by the outpouring of support that came not only from our state but from every corner of the US.

We know that this is not the end of the battles Licensed States will face; but we also know that, together as opticians, we will face whatever comes with pride, power and a unified voice.
OAA Election Results :
Who's in?

Clockwise from Top: President - Bob Reynolds, Vice President - Dibby Bartlett, 2nd Vice President - Johnna Dukes, Secretary/Treasurer - Russel fritz Jr., Director Representing States - Sue Shire

At the recent OAA Delegate Assembly Meeting, the Opticians Association of America reelected Bob Reynolds as OAA President, Dibby Bartlett as OAA 1 st Vice President, Johnna Dukes as 2 nd Vice President and Russ Fritz as Secretary/Treasurer.

Sue Shire (Michigan) was newly elected to the OAA Board of Directors representing state associations and societies. Sue was sworn in at the conclusion of the Leadership Conference by OAA President Bob Reynolds. Sue will begin her first term as a Board Director for the Opticians Association of America immediately. In addition, Sue Shire has accepted the position of Chair of the 2020 OAA State Leadership Conference. (Yes, we're already planning!)

Bob Reynolds on his reelection as OAA President: “It is an honor to know that the membership of the OAA has confidence in my leadership of the organization for another year. The association and its membership have made great strides in advancing the profession of opticianry over the past few years, and I am just glad to have been along for the ride. The future is very bright for the American Optician.”

The OAA congratulates all the elected individuals and encourages each to continue to bring your unique passions and talents to the table in continuing to move our association toward greatness.  

The Vision Of Hope Foundation (VOH)- whose mission is to provide vision for the needy, one pair of glasses at a time, through education, leadership and mission work- elected a new Executive Committee and two new Board Members at their recent meeting which took place at the 2019 State Leadership Conference.

Board of Directors elected Kyle Beaudet (pictured) as Chairman, Sue Shire as Vice-Chair and Russ Fritz as Secretary Treasurer.  These individuals were elected to a one-year term and can serve up to three terms in office before the VOH Bylaws require these positions to be refilled due to term limits. 

Newly elected Chair Kyle Beaudet had this to say about being elected: “It is truly a humbling experience to be elected as a leader of OAA’s philanthropic arm. Being able to give the gift of better vision to those who otherwise would not receive it is an amazing opportunity and what opticianry should be about. I hope that I can continue the great progress the Foundation has made since its inception and help to move the vision and mission of this great organization to a place that will truly make a difference in the lives of others.”

During the Foundation’s recent meeting, the VOH’s Board of Directors also reelected Jen Hyde to a second term on the Board, while electing both Diane Charles and Kristina Luka to their first term as directors of the Foundation. 

The Vision of Hope Foundation is an essential element to the Opticians Association of America's overall strategic plan, and the OAA could not be more thrilled about the newly elected Executive Committee and Board of Directors. 
OAA Honors
2019 State Leader Of The Year
Russel B. Fritz Jr.  

The Opticians Association of America is proud to announce Russel B. Fritz, Jr. of Connecticut as the  2019 OAA State Leader of the Yea r!   Whether working with an opticianry school, assisting a state association, counting pennies for the OAA or writing bylaws for different organizations, our State Leader of the Year never backs down from a challenge. Congratulations and well deserved Russ!

The Opticians Association of America's State Leader of the Year Award is the highest honor and the most prestigious award our association can bestow upon any individual. The award is given annually to an individual who has displayed extraordinary and outstanding service to their home state, the Opticians Association of America, and the profession of opticianry.

The 2019 recipient is the 26th State Leader of the Year.
OAA's 2 019 Future Leader Award
Moses Nawlo
The OAA wishes to recognize a past Student to Leadership Program attendee each year moving forward. This honoree is someone who has taken their experience at the OAA State Leadership Conference and used what they learned to become a rising leader within the profession of opticianry.

The OAA is proud to honor a former attendee who has truly taken what he learned at the conference and within the program, and made the most of the opportunities presented since. This future leader has served in several capacities within the OAA structure and is, in fact, currently a member of the Board of Directors for our national organization.

Congratulations to the winner of OAA’s 2019 Future Leader Award,  Moses Nawlo (pictured).

For over 90 years, the OAA has been advocating for opticians. And while our mission hasn't change—times have, including the ways in which we communicate with the industry, partners, members and the American consumer.

Last year, we launched a brand new website with more features and ways to engage than ever before.

We're continually listening to you, our readers, and improving our newsletter in order to keep you informed, connected and inspired.

Our next goal is to expand our reach, not only among our members, but with the world. With a new focus on social media channels , we’ll be able to:

  • Expand the OAA’s online presence and impact
  • Share our vision and amplify the collective voice of opticianry
  • Rapidly spread news and calls to action
  • Create an ongoing community where ideas can be shared
  • Encourage, entertain and remind opticians in innovative ways that what we do matters.

How you can help:

  • Follow our social media accounts.
  • Like, share and comment on posts. Make your voice and perspective count!
  • Consistently use our hashtags: #oaa #opticiansassociationofamerica
Coming Up!


2019 Spring Education Conference
DoubleTree Hotel Westborough

2019 Downstate Conference
Long Island Marriott

2019 Spring Convention
Crowne Plaza Lansing, Michigan

SAT.13 - SUN.14
2019 Spring Convention
Hilton Hotel (Vancouver, WA)

Houston Area Meeting

2019 April Education Meeting
Milleridge Inn (Jericho, New York)


FRI.3 - SUN.5
2019 Annual Conference
Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn, Newport

SAT.4 - SUN.5
2019 Annual Convention
Turning Stone Resort & Casino, Verona

2019 April Education Meeting
Milleridge Inn (Jericho, New York)

FRI.17 - SUN.19
Spring Fling 2019
Ocean Creek Resort, North Myrtle

2019 West Coast Better Vision Conference
Safety Harbor Resort & Spa

Mark Your Calendars
September 18-21, 2019