Vision Care Technology
Tonya Banning is a second-year student in Goodwin College’s Vision Care Technology program pursuing her associate degree. In addition to Tonya’s college studies, she is a school bus driver with Smythe Bus Company. Tonya joined the advisory committee to meet more of her peers. Tonya enjoys spending free time with her family.
Steve Canada is a licensed optician at Sam's Club Optical in Orange, Connecticut. He is a graduate of the Opticianry Science program at Newbury College in Brookline, Massachusetts. Steve joined the Vision Care Technology Advisory Board to find a group of like-minded individuals who want to make and keep opticianry a vibrant and growing profession. Steve enjoys helping others to see physically as well as spiritually, hiking, letterboxing, and driving Jeeps. Steve is a Connecticut Freemason and a student of Gnosis and other self-improvement schools of thought.
Linda Conlin is a licensed optician employed as managing editor for 20/20 Magazine Pro to Pro and as a dispensing optician for The Optical Shop at Greenwich Ophthalmology. She earned her B.S. degree from Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut. Linda also is an independent provider of continuing education for opticians. Linda joined the VCT Advisory Committee to promote education and opportunities for those who want to serve the vision care needs of their communities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, home canning, and visiting and researching lighthouses.
Maria D'Amore has been a licensed optician for 26 years, specializing in contact lens fitting for 15 years. She is currently employed by Partners In Vision/Essilor, a management and consulting company. She is the managing optician for the Eye Center of Southern New England in Cheshire, Connecticut. She is a graduate of Middlesex Community College with a degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing and Design. Maria joined the committee to help promote and educate our future licensed opticians of Connecticut. Maria loves to spend quality time with her family. She enjoys cooking, reading, and spending summers at the beach.
Steve Davis is a second-year Vision Care Technology student and holds a full-time job as an apprentice optician at BJ’s Optical. Steve joined the advisory committee to expand his role in the optical community and to be directly involved with the continued success of the Vision Care Technology program at Goodwin. In addition to his academic studies and career, Steve is an intense fan of the NFL and NBA and enjoys his wife and three children.
Paula Dowd is the Department Chair, for Health and Natural Science at Goodwin College and serves as an ex-officio member of Goodwin College’s Vision Care Technology Program.
Russell Fritz has been a Connecticut licensed optician for many years and recently retired from Fritz & Hawley Vision Center. Russ has been very involved with optical organizations on the state and national level, working to advance the profession of opticianry.
John Ingriselli is a senior sales representative for Coburn Technologies. He has been with Coburn for 33 years, spending more than 22 years in service (tech support, field support, management). John knows every aspect of ophthalmic processing (surfacing, coating, AR, finishing) and interacts well with his 3,500 customers. Customers are always first and John continues to do his own installation, training, and service. John joined the Advisory Committee to help develop a program in which students will get the tools they need to succeed in the ophthalmic industry.
Brandi Kay is a licensed optician and the Director of Stores at Harvey & Lewis Opticians in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She is excited to be a part of the Advisory Committee and hopes to help students understand the full experience of being an optician, beginning with the technical aspect and focusing on customer service. Brandi is involved with her children’s school, holds office in the PTO, and is an active member in her community. Brandi enjoys spending time with her husband and four children —hiking, snowboarding, mini golf, and relaxing with a movie. Brandi is an avid reader. Her favorite quote is, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't” — Bill Nye.
Deborah Kotob is a Master Optician, with 20-plus years in optical experience. Having owned her own independent optical shops, she relates to the challenges that practice owners and opticians face on a daily basis. She has authored numerous ABO seminars on all optical related topics and has been published in national trade magazines and Opticians Handbook. As an ABO Advanced Technical Level III speaker, Deborah has presented courses at such national venues as Vision Expo East and West and OptiCon. She is currently the Education Facilitator for Vision Ease where she is a trainer and content developer for continuing education courses and live and webinar trainings. She is also the content developer for and administrator of the VISION EASE Education site, a learning management site.
Elyse McDonald is a student assistant in Goodwin College’s Career Services Department. Elyse earned a Health Science associate degree at Goodwin in 2017, and hopes to complete a Health Science bachelor’s degree in the near future. She is currently enrolled in Goodwin College’s Vision Care Technology program. Elyse joined the advisory committee to help contribute to the growth of the Vision Care Technology program and to learn as much as possible on her vision quest! In her spare time, Elyse loves cooking, photography, and spending time with her daughter.
Diane Mintich is a licensed optician, employed as a manager at the Walmart Vision Center. She graduated with associate degrees in General Studies from Tunxis Community College in 1995 and Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing from Middlesex Community College in 1998.
Diane started her career in a high volume one-hour lab at LensCrafters in 1994 and became a licensed optician in 1998. Her research paper on Keratoconus earned her the Beverly Myers Student Research Scholarship, considered the highest national honor for optical students.
Diane has worked in a surfacing/finishing laboratory, as contact lens fitter, and as a department head. She has taught license-prep courses for her company colleagues, managed her brother's independent optical boutique, and sold, dispensed and repaired eyewear. She appreciates how her work affects people’s health and wellness and still enjoys the "Wow" response from clients trying on glasses for the first time.
Diane has enjoyed playing local sports, softball, volleyball, bowling, and most recently bocce. She enjoys playing setback, traveling, and hiking. Diane is the proud mom of two fabulous young men, Joseph and Brian, and is overjoyed with her grandson, Jason. Diane has been ABO and NCLE certified and has maintained her affiliations as COA fellow and NAO member.
Susan Piscatelli is a licensed optician at Shoreline Eye Associates in Guilford, Connecticut. Susan was trained through the optician apprentice program and has maintains her license and education through many years of optical continuing education courses. When Susan was asked to volunteer for the OPS Advisory Committee, she felt her years of experience may be helpful to others pursuing the career she is so passionate about. Susan is involved in the Chamber of Commerce and volunteers for the Special Olympics. In her spare time Susan enjoys reading, hiking, theatre, and dancing.
Maryann Santos is a licensed optician in Connecticut and program director of the Vision Care Technology program at Goodwin College. She serves as an ex-officio member of the Vision Care Technology program advisory board. She holds associate degrees in Ophthalmic Design and Dispensing and Business Administration, a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and a master’s degree in Education concentrating on curriculum and instruction from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut. Maryann has worked in the optical industry for over three decades in the lab, dispensary, and fitting contact lenses. Maryann enjoys working with the advisory board. In her spare time, Maryann enjoys walking, making paper flowers, and quilling. She also plays the viola and loves spending fun times with her husband, son, and daughter.