On Oct. 1, Mike Daley began his tenure as CEO of The Vision Council. The organization represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. Previously, Daley worked for Essilor for 34 years, retiring in 2008 as president and COO of the company’s Lens Division. Daley has served on ICO’s Board of Trustees since 2010.
What does The Vision Council do?
Our overall mission is to be the global voice of vision care products and services. We represent laboratories and manufacturers of optical lenses, frames, equipment, sunglasses, readers, low-vision materials–just to name a few. Our job is to advocate for our members to help the industry overall and make their business stronger by helping to grow the industry.
You served as board chairman of The Vision Council prior to your appointment as CEO. Can you discuss both your history with The Vision Council and your professional history in general?
I actually joined the association back when it was the Optical Manufacturer’s Association. I’ve been involved for a long time. I believe in the need for businesses and companies to belong to associations. You need to have that unified perspective, you need to have that network.
I went to Ferris State, which had a two-year health optics degree. So I went there for two years, really liked it, and graduated in ’73. I went on and got my business degree through Michigan State, and then I was called back to Ferris to teach in ’75 and ’76. Then I interviewed with and got hired by Varilux in 1976 and worked there for more than 30 years, rising up through the ranks with Essilor.
Consumer outreach is a big part of what The Vision Council does. How do you go about this?
Think About Your Eyes is a campaign that was started by the industry and has now been taken on by The Vision Council. TAYE is our major marketing and member-support program. The American Optometric Association now is on board, and Alcon, Essilor and Luxottica are big contributing partners as well. We’re trying to go to the consumers with the message that the best way to take care of your eyes is to see your eye doctor and have a comprehensive annual eye exam. Everybody wins: If the consumer takes better care of their eyes by getting annual comprehensive eye exams, they not only benefit but so do those in the profession and also our members.
What are your members thinking about right now?
Technology, including the internet–how eyeglasses are dispensed and delivered online. We don’t speak for the optometric profession, but we partner very closely with the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry. We want to know what’s going on in their world that will benefit our members, and figure out how we can advocate together for the best possible policies to create growth for the industry and take care of the consumer.
Technology also includes the new wearables. There’s so much right now going on outside of the mainstream eyeglasses, frames and contact lenses. All these wearable technologies, as well as smart phones and tablets, affect how people use their eyes. Vision is becoming critical to the success of these new technologies–being able to see and use these products in a way that doesn’t harm the eye.