President's Letter

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. 

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.

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