Past Letters

President’s Letter April 2023

   I hope everyone is doing well.The next SCAO education meeting will be June10 &11, 2023 at Embassy Suite Greystone in Columbia.  We ask all those planning to attend to please go to to register in advance. This will be the last meeting that is planned for SCAO education this year. Registration opens each day at 7am each day.   Phernell Walker will be presenting 4 ABO hrs followed by 1 NCLE hr given by BW Phillips. We are fortunate to have both of these national speakers for this event. On Sunday, Keith Hayes will be teaching our 4 hr apprentice class.   

 If enough members were to show interest for a 2 hr lensometry class for that weekend, Grant Brown would be glad to instruct one. Please register by calling 843-795-7917 prior to May 10, 2023. The cost for this class is $75. The space is limited because we supply lensometers and other tools and material for this class so we ask you to call as soon as you can.   

After the education we will be having our annual business meeting.  To run for a position on the board, you must be a SC licensed optician in good standing. To serve on the executive board you must have been elected to serve on the board. At this meeting, all board positions will need to be voted and elected. All interested members who wish to run for a position must have your intent to run emailed to David Gosnell prior to 45 days before our annual meeting as required in SCAO by-laws.  

 Thank you for allowing me to have served as your president. I feel so fortunate to have been able to have met so many great people in our profession both in our state and nationally. It is time to turn the position over to a new face with fresh ideas and energy. I am excited to see what the future holds for SCAO. Please get involved with this great association and together we can build on what vision our forefathers founded. Thank you to all who have served this association in the past.  Once again thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a great association. 


President’s Letter June 2021

I hope that everyone has been as safe as possible through these difficult times; we are definitely learning new ways to conduct business and to be safe and forward thinking at the same time.  We were able to conduct five in-person meeting days this year and finished our last one on August 8th.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we try to provide education in person and to follow the guidelines as we are in constantly changing times.

We ran all of our meetings this year at the Embassy Suites in Columbia because of space in the meeting rooms for social distancing, ease of access, and its central location.  I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to help make our meetings go smooth and be a big success.  It’s always comforting to have Bill Russell, our “work horse” running the schedule in the rooms.  I want to thank Wesley Scott for going beyond his duties as vice president and I can’t wait to see where he leads our association in the future.

This year we had great speakers as usual.  Our first meetings in May we had Jackie O’ Keefe presenting our ABO hours and B W Phillips doing our NCLE hours.  The next meetings in June were taught by Phernell Walker, both ABO and NCLE.  He had almost learned everyone’s name in the room by the end of the day.  We finished our meetings for the year in August with Pete Hanlin teaching our ABO and Roy Ferguson teaching our NCLE hour.  It is always great seeing these speakers and their willingness to come to SC and lead us in CEC.  Keith Hayes taught our apprentices in May and June.  Grant Brown taught our lensometry class in June and August. Thanks to all our speakers that are willing to give up their time and travel during these uncertain times.

We are hoping that 2022 brings more stability to our lives and way of doing business.  We will be having our winter education, January 22 and 23 2022, in Columbia at the Embassy Suites. Our Spring Fling will be April 30 through May 1, 2022 at Ocean Creek Resort in Myrtle Beach.  The education day for that meeting is Saturday, April 30, 2022.  Of course we will be making adjustments to our meetings and times if the situations deem necessary.  Please keep checking our website for updates

There is a lot going on in our industry and I feel that we have a great team to be able to keep up with these changes and move our association forward.  We had elections for our area reps in June.  Mary Ellen Holliday (Greenville), Skip Patterson (Florence), Jodi McGinnis (Charleston), and Rhody Spooner (Columbia) ran and won their areas. Dawn Arnold was appointed as the Myrtle Beach area rep and Marisol Rodriguez was appointed as the area rep for Rock Hill because no one had run and they came highly recommended and are eager to get involved. Thank y’all for getting involved. The association is for all its members so please get involved in your area.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your President and having patience with any mistakes I might make.  It is an honor to be a part of this association.

Ron Harbert

President’s Letter January 2021

I hope that everyone is doing well during the pandemic.  Unfortunately, with the spike in COVID19 cases, we are postponing our January meeting for continuing education courses. As of now, our first meeting is scheduled for May 1 and 2, 2021 at the Embassy Suite, Greystone in Columbia SC.  We are hoping that after the holidays and the vaccine being administered that things will begin to settle down.  Please remember our meeting’s protocol during these times will be different and that attendees must reserve their place on our website.  We have many protocols in place and we want to strictly adhere to them to keep our members as safe as possible. That is why it is important to make sure that the association has a good email address so we send out information.  Thank you for bearing with us during these changing times.

Ron Harbert





President’s Letter December 2020

I hope that everyone is managing to get through this difficult time.  It has definitely been an unusual and difficult year.  I would like to thank everyone who attended our August and September meetings. We are trying to conduct safe, in person meetings. Thanks to B W Phillips and Grant Brown for conducting our continuing education courses for spectacles and contact lenses.  As usual, we appreciate Keith Hayes for teaching our apprentices.

We are conducting our education meetings differently; from reserving a space on our website, to following rules and protocols once we enter the hotel.  I know that this can take a little more effort for the members and also those involved with the meetings.  If this will help to ensure everyone’s safety then it will be worth the effort and some inconvenience.

The Embassy Suites has been great to work with during this time since this is uncharted times for all.  Our January meetings will be on Saturday, January 23, 2021 and Sunday, January 24, 2021.  Continuing education hours offered for ABO and NCLE credit will be in the big room only without apprentice courses on Saturday.  On Sunday, we will offer ABO and NCLE credit hours in the big room and Keith Hayes will teach our apprentices their ABO credit hours. The big room set up is only capable of holding 125 people each day.  On Sunday, we can only accommodate 50 apprentices in the smaller room. We have these numbers set because that is the maximum amount of attendees that can be in these rooms safely.  The ABO and NCLE course hours offered are the same for both Saturday and Sunday. Since the spectacle and contact lens courses are repeated the second day, you will only be able to come to one day of education for that weekend.

Phernell Walker will be our main speaker for both of the education days. Phernell is one of the top speakers in our country.  He has great enthusiasm and knowledge so we know that those who are coming will be in for a good time while learning. 

As of now, we are going to use the same format for our spring meeting.  It will be at the Embassy Suites in Columbia also.  We are not sure if we will need to have an apprentice class on both days or just on the one day.  We are using the Embassy Suites because it seems to be the most centrally located in the state for our members, also it allows us to utilize both days for education.  As of now, we are just conducting the education hours but maybe we can get back to having our Spring Fling in the future once we are all able to get a better hold on this pandemic and resume some type of normalcy, whatever that may be. Please be safe and thank you for allowing me to serve as your president.

Ron Harbert p.s. Let us know if we can be of any assistance and please get involved with our association. Please check the website for more information. 

President’s Letter April 2020

We have been monitoring the COVID19 pandemic.  The resort has been working with us to allow us to make the right decision about our Spring Fling 2020. It has been a hard decision because we know many people have to plan in advance to be able to make our meetings. Myrtle Beach is closed to tourists until at least April 30th and if it is pushed back any further; it would have cancelled our event anyway.  We have been working with the resort about changing to a better date but that is either during the peak season rates or into the hurricane season.  

With so many people being out of work during this time, we made a tough decision and pushed our meeting to August 2, 2020 in Columbia, at the Embassy Suites - Greystone.  This seems to be the most central location.  Also, with other states around us having similar situations, we were not sure how big a crowd to expect.  Due to the social distancing restrictions, we will need to limit attendance. This is reason that we are asking you to go on the website (following the instructions using the “contact us” box on the main page) and let us know if you plan to attend.  We have the ability to change room set ups depending on the size of the crowd, however the size of the room is finite and attendance numbers are important to maintaining the proper distances. Please monitor our website as things are changing rapidly.

Please be safe during these difficult times.  Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president.

Ron Harbert

Presidents Letter March 6, 2020

We had a large number at our winter meeting in Columbia. There were many that signed up at the door. Thanks to Danny Gosnell for putting together a team to move the registration in a timely manner. Thanks to David Gosnell for making sure people were in the correct line, Melanie and Jennifer for signing people into the meeting and processing money. It would be nice if we could have more people sending in their dues before December 31st so we can make registration a little less stressful.

Pete Hanlin presented our four spectacle hours. He does a great job keeping everyone’s attention while informing them of new ideas and products in the optical industry. Sorry if I had to rush Pete after class and through the lobby, but he arrived at the airport with only six minutes to spare before his flight closed the airplane doors. Thanks to Essilor for sponsoring Pete to come to our meetings. Thanks again, Pete. Grant Brown gave one hour for contact lenses. Grant did a good job but, unfortunately, we had a glitch with our hook up for the audible portion of his presentation. Thanks Grant for working with us through this distraction. Keith Hayes taught our apprentice class once again. Keith teaches formulas which many of us learned many ions ago. We probably need to go into his class again to refresh our memory. Attending Keith’s class is not a requirement but wouldn’t be bad for a sponsor to sit in on their classes at least once while you have an apprentice under your supervision. These courses are ABO approved and can count for your ABO courses. Thanks Keith for your continued efforts for our apprentices.

Our Spring Fling 2020 will be at Ocean Creek Resort, May 1st through May 3rd in North Myrtle Beach SC. We will have a “Meet and Greet” on Friday, May 1st with heavy hor d’oeuvres and beverages. There is a cash bar at this time. We carry the leftover food and more after the meet and greet next door to continue the get together party afterwards in a causal setting. Saturday morning we have education. Registration runs from 7:00 am to 8:00 am when we begin our meeting. We begin at 8:00 am with the Pledge of Allegiance, prayer and announcements. Classes begin immediately afterwards. We have four ABO hours offered and one NCLE hour offered. B W Phillips will be presenting our hours. Keith Hayes will teach four hours to our apprentices. Grant Brown will be teaching a two hour lensometry class following the contact lens class. This lensometry class has a separate charge of $75.00 and space is limited to 10 participants. Our annual business meeting will be on Sunday beginning at 9:00 am. At this time, all positions are up for election. Anyone interested in running for a position, must have their name submitted by fax to David Gosnell at 864-522-3909. According to the bylaws, all names must be submitted 45 days in advance. The Executive Board is the only positions that must first have served on the general board in some capacity.

We are sorry that we didn’t present our Dan Gosnell Award to our apprentice with the highest score on their South Carolina State Practical Exam. We were trying to get the name of the recipient but we didn’t have that information at the time of the meeting. She was in the crowd at the meeting and we wish we could have recognized her because she scored a 100%. This is the first 100% scored on this Practical exam in any state since the ABO has taken over administration state practical exams in the last four years. Her name is Shawnita Montgomery and we are proud to have her as an optician in South Carolina.

Please get involved in your state association and also the state board so that we can keep moving forward with new ideas and younger faces. Everyone understands that each member is as important as the next for the growth and survival of our association.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your president of our association.

Ron Harbert

Our vendors for the January meeting were: Shane cox (West Groupe), Theresa Caruso (Salt Life and Boston Eye Design), Liz Ashworth (Imagewear), David Spencer (Avalon), Joyce Randall (Kodak), Wendy Wilson (Modern Optical), Keaton with Imatrix, and Luxottica Retail. Thank you for the support that you show to our association.

President’s Letter Fall 2019

Our condolences go out to the Davenport family for their loss of Dick Davenport. He was the last of the original five members that started the South Carolina Association of Opticians and the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Opticianry with LLR. The original five members were, Dick Davenport, Bill Brown, Jack Folline, Dan Gosnell Sr., and Harold Minton. Their leadership and vision have allowed our state to have one of the strongest optician’s associations in the country. We need to continue their efforts to ensure we provide education and trained opticians to meet the eye care needs of the consumer. We need new faces and ideas to keep our association moving forward.

Presidents Letter July 2019

     I wanted to thank everyone for attending and participating at our “Spring Fling 2019”.  We moved the date because of the holiday and commitments within the resort.  Unfortunately, the move made our convention closer to graduation and exams for some of our families.  Next year, we are holding the “Spring Fling 2020” once again at Ocean Creek Resort from May 1st through May 3, 2020.

     Our speaker for the spectacle hours was Pete Hamlin with Essilor.  He did a great job and spoke on a variety of ophthalmic topics.  B W Phillips taught our contact lens hour.  Keith Hayes taught our apprentice class and Grant Brown taught a two hour lensomerty class.  We are fortunate to have good speakers who are willing to help teach our members so we are better equipped to take care of the needs of our patients.  Congratulations to Bill Russell and Danny Gosnell for receiving our Optician of the Year award.  They do a great job and they are always willing to do whatever is asked of them to make our association one of the best in the country.

     Our vendors came through with support at our show, willing to be cramped into a small area and to help make the small space workable.  Don’t forget to support our vendors so that they will continue to support us.  Remember that for every two frames that you order, you are entered into a drawing at each table to win a chance for $50.00. The following are the vendors that supported our “Spring Fling 2019”: Aspects – Teresa Caruso, Avalone – David Spencer, Bostonian Eyewear - Mark McLeod, Dolabany – Greg Byrley, Europa Eyewear – Lisa Henry, Luxottica Retail, Modern Optical – Wendy Woods, West Groupe – Shane Cox, and Zeiss – Doug Clarkson.

     We had our annual business meeting at our convention on Sunday morning.  We had elections for area representatives and the following are the areas and our new representatives:  Deann O’Hare won for Charleston, Wesley Scott for Columbia, Chris Enzor for Florence, Wayne Minton for Greenville, and Adrienne Jordan for Myrtle Beach.  Thank you to Vickie Chamberlain, Wayne Ham, Bud Laws, and Cheryl Burgess for serving in the past.  Kenneth Davenport (webmaster) and Grant Brown (newsletter) have stepped down from their positions allowing it to become one position which is now being handled by George Lee Jr.  Remember that the association is for all of our members so please find a place to serve so we can have new ideas and people helping us to grow and improve.  A special thanks to David Gosnell and Jennifer Lentz for moving and signing our people up in the morning as they come and pay their dues and fees.  It is a stressful job, and they do it well.

     Thank you all for allowing me to serve as your president. It is an honor.

Ron Harbert

Contact Us

No Hours settings found. Please configure it