Business leaders meet with Sen. Daines on growing industry in Montana

Business leaders in the Bozeman area hold a roundtable meeting with Sen. Steve Daines on July 16, 2020.

BELGRADE- Business leaders in the Bozeman area met with Sen. Steve Daines on July 16, 2020, to discuss a new and booming industry making big strides across Montana.

The roundtable meeting included businesses like Ascent Vision, Wavelength Electronics, and many more who all reside here in the Bozeman area in the industry of photonics.

The optics and photonics industry uses laser research in a variety of ways including healthcare, law enforcement, transportation, military defense, and even farming purposes.

xmadis

Photo of the X-MADIS, a fully integrated anti-drone system that detects, locates, tracks, and identifies hostile unmanned aircraft systems with help of photonic technologies.

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, detecting, and controlling light.

In Montana, the industry employs almost a thousand workers across the state with almost 35 companies in total.

Sen. Daines is also the co-chairman of the Optics and Photonics Caucus in the Senate who sat in on the roundtable meeting with hopes that the industry can keep growing thanks to local college students here in Montana.

“There’s several hundred jobs right here in the Gallatin valley associated with photonics, and these are growing companies they’re high wage jobs, they’re jobs that we need here in Montana to keep our kids here… these are the kind of jobs that can keep Montana kids here in Montana,” Sen. Daines said.

One of the biggest discussions from the meeting was how much the local colleges here in Bozeman contribute to the growth of photonics across Montana.

Gallatin College at Montana State University currently has a laser engineering program, and it was mentioned at the meeting that Montana State is currently applying for an engineering research center focused on photonics to be decided on in October of 2020.

Sen. Daines said he looks to start legislation on increased research in the industry in the near future.

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