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

Celebration to culminate with visit by the Society’s Board of Directors, local dignitaries at ceremony dedicating headquarters building to its first Executive Director, Joe Yaver

27 October 2017

Agnete & Joe Yaver

Agnete and Joe Yaver

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — On Friday 27 October SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics will celebrate 40 years based in Bellingham 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, California, to Bellingham in 1977, and established the current headquarters campus at 1000 20th Street in 1983.

Past SPIE President Brian Thompson remembered Yaver's dedication to the Society: “A major highlight of those years was working closely with Joe and helping his well-constructed dream for SPIE become true. The main problem we faced was needing to restructure our headquarters and increase its staffing, which was impossible to do while based in L.A. Joe’s solution was to move our headquarters to a much more affordable location. Joe’s efforts were successful — we moved to Bellingham and became a very welcome addition to the community, and what we have today is that dream come true."

In the 40 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.

Local dignitaries will be on-hand for the building dedication at 1 pm on 27 October.

In memoriam: Joe Yaver, SPIE leader and visionary

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2016, SPIE provided $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org


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