Tom Battley was appointed Executive Director of the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster in June, 2004, and Executive Director of The New York Photonics Industry Association in September that same year. Prior to that Tom was Monroe County Economic Development Director for nine years, overseeing a staff responsible for assisting businesses in achieving their objectives using a variety of financial vehicles, tax incentives, and job training programs. During Tom’s tenure Monroe County participated in $2.4 Billion in business investment in the Rochester Community, including major technology investments in Optics, Biotechnology, Telecommunications, and Precision Manufacturing. Tom is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional with the National Development Council.
Before being invited to join the Monroe County leadership team Tom was a co-founder, in 1986 of Teknic, Inc. Teknic creates and sells precision servo control products to the OEM capital equipment market.
Tom is a technology evangelist, excited to be promoting New York State’s Optics and Photonics Industries, and serving the membership of RRPC and PIANY in pursuit of their objectives: collaboration to develop a robust and qualified workforce; increasing the commercialization of new ideas; an increased number of contract opportunities for the membership, and the development of a healthy and growing New York State Photonics Industry.
Since 2004, as direct results under Tom’s leadership, Rochester’s OPI ecosystem has grown and flourished, including revitalization of the MCC Optical Systems Technology Program; the Summer Sizzler, an optics immersion program for high school students and their teachers; the establishment of dual credit optics programs with area high schools and MCC; regular international conferences; topical meetings for OPI manufacturers about best practices in everything from manufacturing and sales to ITAR compliance.
Tom has initiated and grown new education opportunities for growing the workforce pipeline, and worked with regional, state and federal agencies to achieve new growth opportunities for light-based businesses in New York State.
Most recently Tom’s work for the past three years has included being an advocate for the National Academies study Optics & Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation; and the National Photonics Initiative, which grew out of the study. This work led directly to the offering of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation in Integrated Photonics opportunity with the Department of Defense and the Obama Administration. In July of 2015, a team led by New York State was awarded the NNMI in Integrated Photonics, with Rochester designated as its headquarters: AIM Photonics.