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Optical Design & Engineering

SPIE celebrates 40 years in Bellingham, Washington; dedicates headquarters to first Executive Director

SPIE Newsroom
27 October 2017

On October 27th, SPIE celebrated 40 years based in Bellingham, WA with a visit by the Society's Board of Directors, and a ceremony dedicating its headquarters to its first Executive Director, Joe Yaver, and his wife Agnete (Anita).

Yaver was the Executive Director of SPIE from 1969 until 1993, and is credited with building the foundation for SPIE's current multidisciplinary, international scope, and shaping its place in the photonics industry. Yaver moved the headquarters from Los Angeles to Bellingham in 1977, and established the Bellingham campus in 1983.

Yaver died unexpectedly in his sleep at his home in Bellingham on 29 November, 2016. He was 83.

Agnete & Joe Yaver

Agnete & Joe Yaver

In the forty years since SPIE moved to Bellingham, the staff has expanded from a few dozen people to nearly 200 employees and an annual budget of more than $40 million. Meaningful and lasting connections with the regional colleges, Western Washington University, the City, and the local community have been established and maintained to the benefit of all.

Joe Yaver, at left, reviews blueprints and site plans for the current SPIE headquarters in Bellingham, completed in 1983.

From a two-room office to a hilltop campus serving an international community: Joe Yaver, at left, reviews blueprints and site plans for the current SPIE headquarters in Bellingham, completed in 1983.

The ceremony included the unveiling of a new plaque dedicating SPIE headquarters to Joe and Agnete (Anita) Yaver.