Arkansas Photonics Industry Alliance to Align Optics Companies

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013 12:00 am  

“My company relocated to Arkansas because of the very strong work ethic,” Warden said. “Not only do they have a great work ethic, but they have a pretty strong, and I think better than average, mechanical aptitude. I think it’s because they’ve grown up out here in small towns and they are used to doing something for themselves.”

The cluster, Warden said, should help other employers recognize this.

To Burgess, the photonics industry is an “unsung hero” in Arkansas.

“The main reason we began to talk about a photonics cluster is we saw Arkansas is ripe with photonics companies, but there was nothing tying the community of photonics companies together in the state,” Burgess said. “There are photonics clusters in seven or eight other states in the U.S., and they have been very successful in growing their economic fortunes by having a cluster and having the cluster focused, at least on some level, on economic development.”

“It’s a fairly small industry,” Warden said. “And when the companies partner together, one company may be good at one thing and another’s good at another. If they work together, they can leverage both companies’ strengths.”



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