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13 October 2008

Michael J. Bechtold Wins Optical Society's Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award


Lyndsay Meyer
The Optical Society

Michael J. Bechtold Wins Optical Society’s Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13—The Optical Society (OSA) has named Michael J. Bechtold the winner of the Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award in recognition of his work revolutionizing the process of optical fabrication by producing the first affordable CNC machine designed for the optical industry. Bechtold is the co-founder and president of OptiPro Systems in Ontario, N.Y. He will receive the award next week at OSA’s Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics, in Rochester, N.Y.

“Michael Bechtold has been making important contributions to the optical engineering field for nearly 30 years,” said Elizabeth Rogan, OSA executive director. “He is respected amongst his colleagues for his work on improving precision optical manufacturing processes through the design and manufacture of computer-controlled machine tools. OSA is delighted to honor Michael for his pioneering achievements.”

Bechtold graduated in 1976 from SUNY Cortland with a B.S. in education. After working at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, he co-founded OptiPro Systems in 1981, which evolved into a company designing and building CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools for the metalworking and manufacturing sector. In 1991, the company’s “Opticam SX project” with the American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association and the University of Rochester’s Center for Optics Manufacturing propelled OptiPro’s focus toward affordable, deterministic manufacturing and measuring solutions for precision optics.

The Engineering Excellence Award was first awarded in 1989 and recognizes technical achievements in optical engineering by individual(s) or teams. Bechtold joins an exceptional group of 72 past Engineering Excellence Award recipients. The award was renamed to honor Paul F. Forman in 2007 and is sponsored by Zygo Corporation, Optical Research Associates, Cambridge Research & Instrumentation, Inc., Canon Inc. and individual contributors Gary and Carolyn Bjorklund and G. Michael Morris.

For more information on the award or the nomination process, visit OSA’s Awards & Honors page.

About OSA
Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit

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