Alexandria, VA (January 2, 2013) – The Vision Council, the largest association of manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry, and the California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA), an organization of full-service optical laboratories from California and other Western states, today announced that they have entered into a comprehensive Joint Operating Agreement – effective immediately – with the goal of fully merging the COLA into The Vision Council’s Optical Lab Division (formally the Optical Laboratories Association) within the next several months.

“This is a union of two long-standing associations that share a common commitment to the vision industry and have the best interests of their members at their core,” said Mike Francesconi, chair of The Vision Council Optical Lab Division. “The combination presents a significant opportunity to take our products and services to the next level. Together, we will be a stronger organization for our members, and a more resourceful association for the entire optical laboratory business.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the current COLA leadership will remain in place to ensure a seamless transition. COLA members will join The Vision Council as The California Lab Committee under the Optical Lab Division umbrella, one of six operating divisions within The Vision Council that provide guidance, education programs, marketing materials, research, and advocacy outreach to address common interests among members. In addition, each member of the COLA is eligible to serve on the various committees, subcommittees and taskforces under The Vision Council structure.

“We are very excited about this new chapter in our organization,” said Lori Treadwell, president of the COLA. “This partnership will provide our membership with the essential resources they need to stay informed and competitive. We’re confident that COLA’s proud past, and its future, is in good hands.”

The Vision Council has committed to support the continuation of the association’s programs, including their annual meeting in the spring. In addition, COLA members will be immediately eligible to receive all benefits and services offered by The Vision Council, including:

  • ♣ Member pricing for exhibiting at International Vision Expos
  • ♣ Complimentary  optical industry research reports
  • ♣ Reduced registration fee for the Optical Lab Division meeting (formerly “THE OLA”)
  • ♣ Member discounts for products and services
  • ♣ Technical representation

For more information about The Vision Council, including member programs and services, visit

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses.


About the California Optical Laboratories Association (COLA)

Founded in 1957, the California Optical Laboratories Association is an organization of full-service optical laboratories from California and other Western states.