Dr Eugene Arthurs has announced he is to retire as CEO of SPIE on 19 January 2018. Arthurs has spent 18 years employed by the society for optics and photonics, joining SPIE staff as executive director in November 1999.
‘The years I've spent at SPIE have given me many great memories to treasure; I have loved this job and the inspirational people I have worked with, here in Bellingham and in the SPIE community,’ Arthurs said.
Arthurs became an SPIE member in 1972 while still living in his native Ireland. After immigrating to the United States in 1980, he joined Quantronix, leading the development of laser applications and managing its business for the semiconductor equipment market.
From 1983 to 1997, Arthurs served as vice president of technology and marketing of Oriel, becoming president of the company in 1991. During this time, Arthurs worked to change the business model at Oriel to emphasise systems and instruments.
In 1996, ThermoElectron acquired the increasingly profitable Oriel and Arthurs became involved in Thermo's growth-by-acquisition activities. Also while at Oriel, he played an active role on the boards of Oriel Scientific (London, UK), LOT Oriel (Darmstadt, Germany), and was a founder of Andor Technology (Belfast, N. Ireland), a company initially owned mostly by Oriel.
After leaving Oriel, Arthurs joined Cleveland Crystals as CEO. After re-organising Cleveland Crystals he led the sale of the company to Gooch and Housego in 1998. In 1999 he joined SPIE staff.
Arthurs has since been an instrumental part of SPIE’s advocacy work through the National Photonics Initiative in the US, and the broad range of photonics and optics activities the society champions. In an article for Electro Optics, he commented: ‘We [the photonics community] need to get much better at describing our markets and communicating the exciting potential.
‘A lot of the fault of being unrecognised lies with ourselves of course, as we tend to enjoy talking geek with geeks,’ he continued. ‘Communicating with key decision makers in government, holders of purse strings, and with the financial community seems difficult, maybe boring.
‘I see real progress in tackling some of these issues with the ongoing National Photonics Initiative in the US.’
In the same article, he pointed to the photonic internet, photonics in data centres, solar energy, lighting, and medical photonics as big areas of growth for the future.
In a statement released by SPIE, Arthurs said: ‘Connecting with bright people, young and old, across the world who are motivated to change the world for the better has been an extraordinarily enriching experience. I am grateful to them all, and to the many mentors over my career, but especially to my wife, my anam ċara (Gaelic for "soul friend"). I do intend to keep connected to the industry and will have more time for analysis and advocacy. My passion for this remarkable field burns as intensely as ever.’
Arthurs received his BSc with honours in physics and his PhD in applied physics from Queens University Belfast in Ireland. He taught an MSc class in optoelectronics at Queens and conducted research at the Imperial College of London before he took his energies to the business world.