Finisar to Accept Advisory Council Spotlight Award from Sci-Tech Discovery Center

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and DALLAS, March 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Finisar (NASDAQ: FNSR), the leader in optical communication modules …

SUNNYVALE, Calif. and DALLAS, March 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Finisar (NASDAQ: FNSR), the leader in optical communication modules and VCSEL technology, will be accepting an award from Sci-Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas during their annual Brainiac Bowl fundraiser and awards ceremony on Friday, March 29.

Each year, the Board of Directors of Sci-Tech Discovery Center recognizes several key sponsors at their Brainiac Bowl. Finisar was selected for the Advisory Council Spotlight Award for demonstrating visionary leadership in STEM education. Specifically, Finisar’s sponsorship will be used to create a Mobile Laser Lab with interactive exhibits centered on optics technology. The Finisar Mobile Laser Lab is designed to provide 5th-12th grade students in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Sherman areas first-hand experience with lasers and other optical components. The Finisar Mobile Laser Lab is expected to debut this spring.

“Finisar, alongside other community partners, has made it possible for us to deliver STEM education to thousands of students in North Texas,” explained Sci-Tech Executive Director Peter Claffey. “Sci-Tech Discovery Center could not operate without the support of strong science pioneers, like Finisar, who are committed to developing young minds and creating a technologically proficient workforce.”

“Finisar is fully committed to helping the local community develop the kind of programs needed to teach young people about the exciting careers available in optics technologies,’ said Jeff Brown, Vice President and General Manager of Texas Operations, Finisar. “As a world leader in laser technology for optical communications and 3D Sensing applications, Finisar is excited to receive this award and be involved in the STEM education of students across North Texas.”

About Finisar

Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ: FNSR) is a global technology leader in optical communications, providing components and subsystems to networking equipment manufacturers, data center operators, telecom service providers, consumer electronics and automotive companies. Founded in 1988, Finisar designs products that meet the increasing demands for network bandwidth, data storage and 3D sensing subsystems. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, USA with R&D, manufacturing sites, and sales offices worldwide. Visit our website at

Press contact:

Victoria McDonald

Director, Corporate Communications


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Grayson College gets $870K in skills-training funding

Jeff Brown, general manager of the Sherman Finisar plant, said 120 … While Finisar used the grants to train new employees, the majority of the …

Grayson College received more than $870,000 in grant funding from the Texas Workforce Commission Thursday for job training for local employers. The two grants that were given out Thursday will help provide more than 15,000 hours of training for new and existing employees at Finisar and the Baylor Scott and White Surgical Hospital in Sherman.

“Today is an exciting day for us,” Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said. “We are celebrating more than 800,000 training dollars that have been pumped into the economy.”

McMillen said Grayson College traditionally receives about $1 million in funding for skills development services through the Texas Workforce Commission. However, the 2018-2019 fiscal year has been an exceptional one, with more than $3 million in funding expected for workplace training courses.

In July, Grayson College announced it would be receiving funding to train the first wave of Finisar’s employees. The optics component manufacturer announced in late 2017 that it planned to manufacture vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser technology, which is used in the production of Apple’s iPhone products, at the former MEMC building in Sherman.

While the majority of the $566,261 in funding would be used to train new hires at the Sherman plant, a small group of existing employees would also receive customized training through the college.

Jeff Brown, general manager of the Sherman Finisar plant, said 120 employees have been trained to date, but there are plans to train about 235 workers in total through the grants.

“I would like to thank Grayson College — we couldn’t have done this without you,” Brown said.

While Finisar used the grants to train new employees, the majority of the employees trained through a $305,240 grant at Baylor Scott and White were existing employees who were receiving specialized training. In total, Baylor Scott and White trained 13 new employees and 160 existing staff members.

Marc Devorsetz, CEO of Baylor Scott & White, said the hospital had a 97 percent participation rate in the training program.

“The high participation had less to do with pent-up demand … and more to do with the kind of employees we tend to attract,” he said.

The training received by staff ranged from certification in recovery rooms and other operating room certifications to radiology.

“Most of all, 170 were trained on the latest and greatest customized patient center care and that is what we do and continue to do,” Devorsetz said.

Beyond training people for jobs, Ruth Hughes, chairman for the Texas Workforce Commission, said the grants result in a far larger impact on the region’s economy. Based on the jobs and services these grants will support, Hughes estimated the impact at $1.5 million and $26 million for Baylor Scott and White and Finisar, respectively

“We see the value of it (the investment) and we are very excited to be your partners in this as well,” she said.

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AMP students, mentors work together at mid-year celebration

Finisar Process Engineering Technician Michael Turner, who helped set up the tour, said it went “fantastic.” “We had a good group of kids paying a lot …

With the school year a little more than halfway through, participants in the Advanced Manufacturing Program got the chance Thursday to celebrate all they’ve already accomplished.

The 79 AMP students from five area high schools — Sherman High, Denison High, S&S Consolidated High, Pottsboro High and Whitesboro High — were invited to tour a local industry and take part in a mid-year celebration at the Sherman Municipal Ballroom hosted by the local Advanced Manufacturing Consortium of the Denison Development Alliance, Sherman Economic Development Corp., Workforce Solutions Texoma and Emerson.

“One of the things that we’ve really focused on is making sure that students going through the Advanced Manufacturing Program are all assigned mentors,” Consortium chair and Emerson Plant Manager Mark Anderson said.

As many of those mentors are from a different generation than the AMP students, Anderson said events like the mid-year celebration help build a relationship and give the mentors a chance to connect with the AMP students. To facilitate that connection and get students working together with mentors, AMP participants from all five schools were grouped together at different tables and given a set of Lego building blocks for a design and construction challenge.

Each team was tasked with creating something recognizable with the blocks, while mentors looked on and offered words of encouragement. Anderson, SEDCO President Kent Sharp and DDA President Tony Kaai then evaluated the creations for creativity, complexity of design, how recognizable it is and the number of pieces used.

The table of students Austen Patterson, Luke Knowlin, Steve Garcia, Caleb Castillo, Ethan Oliver, Cayden Lowery and Jayden Brown won the competition and each received a Sonic gift card and a pair of earbuds.

Before the celebration luncheon, students from Whitesboro High had the chance to tour Denison Industries, Denison High students visited Presco, and Finisar welcomed students from Pottsboro High, Sherman High and S&S Consolidated High.

Finisar Process Engineering Technician Michael Turner, who helped set up the tour, said it went “fantastic.”

“We had a good group of kids paying a lot of attention while we were going through all the areas and had a lot of interaction by everybody,” Turner said, estimating there were around 50 students in the two different groups that went through the plant.

Pottsboro High sophomore Angelina Almazan said Finisar’s facility looked advanced.

“We went around and got to see most of the facility with the clean room and we went through all six zones and out to the back of it,” Almazan said. “We got to check out everything that keeps it clean and everything that keeps it working and what they do. It’s not like anything I’ve seen before or anything I would have expected to see.”

AMP got off the ground in 2016 and is comprised of around 30 area industrial employers, as well as SEDCO, Workforce Solutions Texoma, DDA, Grayson College and the five high schools. The program begins with sophomore-level students, who undergo a year of classes at their respective campuses before moving on as juniors and seniors to hands-on work at Grayson College and an internship with an employer.

Anderson said AMP went from having around 40 students at four area schools last year to nearly 80 students at five schools this year.

“The program’s continued to grow, and that’s good for us,” Anderson said.

Almazan said she’s been impressed with the program so far.

“With the AMP program, it’s interesting because even if you don’t go off and take a job that’s in that sort of field, it’s a class you can take something out of,” she said.

Each of the students that attended the mid-year celebration also received a new backpack with the AMP logo emblazoned on it.

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Finisar could move Allen staff to Sherman by end of 2019

The Finisar Corp. production facility in Sherman could see the addition of 200 workers from the company’s Allen facility by the end of the year. During a …

The Finisar Corp. production facility in Sherman could see the addition of 200 workers from the company’s Allen facility by the end of the year.

During a ribbon cutting event for the local facility in July, Finisar CEO Michael Hurlston told the Herald Democrat he had informed staff in Allen that eventually their 160,000-square-foot facility will be shuttered and moved to the nearly 700,000-square-foot building in the former MEMC building on Sherman’s south side. Finisar Sherman General Manager and Vice President Jeff Brown said in December that could happen by the end of this year.

“We are planning to move the Allen operation to Sherman by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020,” Brown said via email last month.

Hurlston previously stated Finisar plans to make Sherman the “VCSEL Capital of the World.” In July, Hurlston said the Sherman facility “has plenty of room to house” the equipment in the company’s Allen plant.

“What we’ll do is all the equipment from Allen that’s dedicated to our old optical networking business, we’ll keep dedicated to that and then all the equipment that’s here (in Sherman) that’s new — that’s called the six-inch production line — will be on these new consumer applications,” Hurlston said.

Finisar announced in December 2017, it would hire 500 new employees to expand its production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers at its new Sherman facility to help meet Apple’s demand for the technology in its iPhone line. VCSELs are small semiconductor devices that emit light vertically and measure the depth at which that light is reflected. That depth-sensing technology helps power Apple product features such as facial recognition, portrait mode selfies and proximity-sensing capabilities.

In addition to the numerous smartphone applications, Finisar Executive Vice President and General Manager of 3-D Sensing Julie Eng previously said VCSELs could soon be put to use in new markets such as medical and manufacturing, to make vehicles safer for drivers and other motorists and even in vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers.

“We’re trying to go into these more consumer applications and without (the) Sherman (facility), we simply can’t do that,” Hurlston said in July. “What happens is our old business, which is the laser business and optical networking, typically you think of an order of hundreds of thousands of units in a month. The volumes are big, they’re substantial, but when you talk about these consumer applications, you’re talking millions of units even a week, so the numbers are wildly different. And in order to deliver that kind of scale, we need a factory like this — a bigger factory that can deliver that kind of capacity.”

Brown said in December the company has hired 250 employees and expects more will be added as the facility moves toward commercial production. The company shipped out its first samples in the fall. Brown said Finisar’s total investment in the Sherman facility is expected to be approaching $200 million by the end of 2019.

“The factory space in Sherman has been completed,” Brown said via email. “We are now focusing on adding office space and modernizing the existing office space. We expect to continue some level of construction through most of 2019.”


In November, it was announced Finisar is to be acquired by global manufacturer of engineered materials and optoelectronic components II-VI Incorporated in a deal worth about $3.2 billion. In a teleconference call held following the announcement, Hurlston said he believes the combined company will have substantial growth potential.

“By joining II-VI, I’m confident that we’ll be able to accelerate our growth in ways that neither of our teams could achieve as independent companies,” Hurlston said. “Further, we believe this transaction represents a compelling value composition for Finisar shareholders as it delivers immediate cash value while providing the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of our combined organizations once the transaction is completed.”

The definitive merger agreement, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, states II-VI will acquire Finisar in a cash and stock transaction that will see Finisar’s stockholders receiving, on a pro-rated basis, $15.60 per share in cash and 0.2218 shares of II-VI common stock.

Brown didn’t directly address any impact the potential acquisition by II-VI would have on the Sherman facility, but indicated VCSEL production will continue locally.

”As we have communicated to our employees, we continue to believe that Sherman is a world class facility and is expected to deliver high volume VCSEL output for years to come,” Brown said.

During the teleconference call, II-IV President and CEO Vincent D. Mattera Jr. said the merger will create a formidable photonics and compound semiconductor company.

“We believe that combining with Finisar will enable us to be even more effective as we accelerate the development of our portfolio of products in the emerging markets of 5G, 3D sensing, cloud computing, electric and autonomous vehicles and advanced microelectronics manufacturing,” Mattera said.

Mattera said the combined company plans to utilize its existing operations to the best of their capabilities. Once the transaction closes, Finisar and II-VI will have over 24,000 employees in 70 locations worldwide. Finisar Director of Corporate Communications Victoria McDonald said, in a prepared statement issued via email at the time of the announcement, the company expects the transaction to close in the middle of 2019, subject to approval by each company’s shareholders, antitrust regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

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YEAR IN REVIEW: Sherman saw businesses, attractions added in 2018

Finisar. Finisar Corp., which bought the former MEMC building last year and … Finisar announced in December of last year it would hire 500 new …

Sherman started and ended 2018 by working on tax abatements for some prominent local employers and saw a number of things happen in between that will leave a lasting impact on the city.

New attractions and businesses opened, the city recycling program got an overhaul and Sherman residents re-elected their mayor and added a new face to the City Council.


Finisar Corp., which bought the former MEMC building last year and announced plans to create 500 new high-skill jobs in Sherman, was again a major newsmaker for the city in 2018. The council approved a 10-year tax abatement and a five-year Chapter 380 tax rebate agreement for the electronics components manufacturer in March.

Finisar announced in December of last year it would hire 500 new employees to expand its production of VCSELs at its new Sherman facility this year to help meet Apple’s demand for the technology in its iPhone line of products. VCSELs are small semiconductor devices that emit light vertically and measure the depth at which that light is reflected. City staff estimated the tax abatement agreement would save the company around $3.3 million in property taxes, and the tax rebate agreement would save it around $1.2 million.

“Assuming a level investment of $140 million at the current tax rate, the city will realize about $2.7 million in property taxes, and Finisar will receive a benefit of about $3.3 million,” Director of Finance Mary Lawrence said of the tax abatement agreement before discussing the tax rebate agreement. “A tax abatement may only last for 10 years, including extensions, so we grant additional incentives after the tax abatement period expires. The additional five years is about $3 million total in property taxes — the city realizes about $1.8 million of that, with Finisar getting the benefit of about $1.2 million.”

The five-year tax rebate agreement will see the city giving a grant back to Finisar after its full tax bill is paid in years 11 through 15.

In July, Finisar held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new facility after six months of work. Finisar Chief Executive Officer Michael Hurlston said the company’s production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers will open new opportunities for the manufacturer.

“The company is moving from a great history to a new set of things that we’re trying to do,” Hurlston said. “But the main thing today is we’re open for business in Sherman, and we expect to be hiring and bringing jobs to the local community.”

Then in November, it was announced Finisar is to be acquired by II-VI Incorporated, a global manufacturer of engineered materials and optoelectronic components, in a deal worth about $3.2 billion. In a teleconference call held following the announcement, Hurlston said he believes the combined company would have substantial growth potential.

Recycling changes

The council decided to alter Sherman’s Recycling Program to only accept cardboard and newspapers during its meeting on Oct. 15, but then revised it again three weeks later and made it optional for residents. The program allows residents to recycle aluminum, tin and steel cans, paper and certain plastic bottles, and cardboard and newspapers.

Sherman’s issue with its Recycling Program started earlier in the year when China, which had long been the largest buyer of recyclables in the world, started an anti-pollution program that requires waste paper, metals or plastic be 99.5 percent free of contaminants like food waste or foam cups. The Associated Press reported U.S. single-stream recycling processing plants usually turn out bales of paper or plastic that are at most 97 percent pure. During the council’s first discussion of the change, Lawrence said Sherman’s recyclables are about 40 percent polluted.

Tax abatements

The council approved a five-year property tax abatement for J.P. Hart Lumber Co. during its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday. With Hart Lumber investing $8 million in its Sherman facility, the abatement agreement is expected to provide a $68,000 benefit to Hart Lumber over those five years.

The Sherman City Council approved an eight-year property tax abatement agreement with GlobiTech Inc. in August contingent on its corporate board approving a planned expansion to include a capital investment of $23 million on a 78,000-square-foot facility building that includes 10,000 square feet of cleanroom space and the addition of $24 million in equipment. The expansion is also expected to include the addition of 32 new jobs to the company’s current total of 247 employees.

City staff estimated the agreement would save the local GlobiTech facility an estimated $800,000 during that time. Two months later, GlobiTech officials said it was delaying the planned $47 million expansion.

“GlobiTech received HQ approval for the Fab 3 project but has determined that we now need to take a more cautious approach on initiating the project in light of the recent U.S.-China trade/tariff situation,” GlobiTech Inc. President Mark England said in a written statement. “Nevertheless, in this interim period, GlobiTech continues to move forward by completing our air permit requirements and finalizing our Fab 3 designs to be able to restart in earnest upon seeing positive market and political signs.”

New additions

In mid-October, Texoma got its first QuikTrip convenience store in a 5,858-square-foot Sherman location on the southwest corner of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75. The store is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has around 20 employees.

That addition was quickly followed by the unveiling of Sherman’s remodeled skate park at Hawn Park in late October. A series of public meetings throughout the year provided local input on the $250,000 renovation done by SPA Skateparks of Austin.

The city opened its first dog park in early December with a ceremony that saw a number of city officials and area canines attending. The new dog park area is located behind Veteran’s Field in the northwest corner of Fairview Park.

The city also unveiled its renovated Sherman Public Library in August after spending nearly $2 million on the project, which was slated even before the building was damaged by a series of intentional fires in April 2017. Renovations included the demolition of a 3,300-square-foot addition on the building’s south side, expanded parking, new roofing, heating, cooling and electrical systems systems, as well as a new fire alarms, restroom layouts, furniture and shelving.

Developers of the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille entertainment complex in Sherman broke ground on its new building in June. In addition to the 72,995-square-foot entertainment complex, the development will include a large Lone Star Food Store gas station and convenience store on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417, along with a hotel and convention center on the south side of the development and two smaller businesses along the Hwy. 75 service road that developer Mark Schulman said will likely be restaurants. Developer Mark Schulman said he hopes to have the entertainment complex opened by the middle of May.

In early December, the council also approved a contract with Dean Construction to serve as construction manager-at-risk for the Pecan Grove Athletic Complex project. Dean Construction took on the risk for the work for a guaranteed maximum price of $3,938,495.48. Assistant City Manager Steve Ayers said he expected work to start on the project within weeks of the approval.

Budget, personnel

As part of the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget, city staff left Sherman’s property tax rate and utility rates unchanged from the 2017-2018 year. The budget approved by the council also included the addition of 22 new city positions and a 3 percent across the board raise for all 457 Sherman employees.

During the municipal election in November, Sherman voters elected new council member Sandra Melton, and re-elected returning council member Willie Steele and Mayor David Plyler.

Then in December, City Manager Robby Hefton announced the appointment of Terrence Steele as Sherman’s second assistant city manager. Steele had served as director of administration through a contract with Strategic Government Resources, an administrative management consulting group, for the last year.

“Over the course of the last year, Terrence has been a valuable addition to our team,” Hefton said in a press release. “He has a wealth of experience and knowledge related to workforce and economic development, and his time as a member of the Sherman City Council gives him a really unique perspective on our City operations. His standing in the community and his ability to establish and maintain relationships is a reflection of the high character he brings to public service.”

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