Our History

Our History


The Florida Photonics Cluster was the vision of Bill Schwartz.  Bill is best known as president and chief executive officer of Schwartz Electro-Optics, a company he founded in 1983.  Often referred to as the true pioneer of Florida’s laser industry, laser research groups or companies he led have been the source of 15 of Orlando, Florida’s 40 laser companies and organizations.

Bill headed up laser research, development, and production programs at Lockheed Martin’s Orlando division before founding International Laser Systems (ILS) in 1968.  He was president and CEO of ILS for 15 years until it was purchased by Litton and renamed Litton Laser Systems in 1983.  He then founded Schwartz Electro-Optics.

Bill Schwartz passed away in 2000, but his vision for the future of photonics lives on through the FPC.

Bill Schwartz 1927-2000