Thorlabs holds official opening

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  • Peter Annuzzi, left, of Wantage and John Kelly of Vernon busy in the Quality Control Department.

  • The rows of shelves dwarf the employees.

  • Lita DeLaTorre of Fredon displays a Lab Snack included with domestic orders. It is pleasant surprise for scientists and researchers working long hours and in the need of a snack.

  • Grinding and polishing the lenses sold by Thorlabs.

NEWTON — The new Thorlabs facility at 56 Sparta Avenue, officially opened Thursday to the sound of dozens of scissors snipping.

Built on a former brownfield, the new three-story, 125,000-sq.-ft. building enables Thorlabs to consolidate various departments while expanding its machine shop located on Route 206 in Andover.

Carmine Lencsak, Thorlabs Chief Operating Officer speaking for the absent company president, Alex Cable, asked guests to join him in celebrating "The opening of our new company headquarters, and a continuation of our journey, for Thorlabs, for the town of Newton, and for all of Sussex County.”

Thorlabs designs and produces components used by the photonics industry in various imaging applications and in the research of visible and invisible light. They also sell components to biomedical, university, college, government and military research labs.

Tracing the development of the site back to 2005, Newton Mayor Helen LeFrois said, “This is a celebration of not just Thorlabs’ success but also the terrific public/private partnership between the town of Newton and Thorlabs.”

County officials were happy that 350 jobs stayed in the state despite financial incentives offered by Pennsylvania. “It is so important for my constituents, of which 60 percent drive outside of the county for their employment, to have quality opportunities here in the county,” said Sussex County Freeholder Director Phil Crabb.

Keeping the company in the area was a team effort. “Keeping Thorlabs here was a concerted effort with the town, county and the state,” said Assemblyman Gary Chiusano. “We all came together with the owner of Thorlabs to make a proposal to enable him to stay in our county.”

Labor Commissioner Harold J. Wirths expressed similar feelings at the state level. “As a Sussex County lifelong resident, and as commission of labor, I’m ecstatic (Alex Cable) picked Sussex County to grow and expand in, and that he stayed in New Jersey,” said Wirths. “It is a great day for Sussex County and a great day for the state of New Jersey.”

After company officers, local officials and employees cut the ceremonial ribbon, the facility was opened for guided tours.

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