An Influential Leader in the Fiber Optics Industry
JIM HAYES, AND HIS WIFE KAREN, BEGAN THEIR CAREER IN FIBER OPTICS IN 1980, WITH THE CREATION OF THE WORLD’S FIRST FIBER OPTIC TEST EQUIPMENT COMPANY TITLED, APPROPRIATELY, THE FIBER OPTIC TEST EQUIPMENT COMPANY (FOTEC). HE WAS RECRUITED BY BELL LABS IN THE 1980S TO BUILD TEST EQUIPMENT FOR AT&T. JIM DECLINED THE OFFER AND INSTEAD CREATED SHORT TRAINING COURSES IN FIBER OPTICS ACROSS THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD.
In 1992, it was suggested the training courses become a full-week conference, and the first “Fiber U” conference was held in Nashville in 1993.
During the 1995 Fiber U, the instructors discussed the need for a vendor-independent certification organization for fiber optic technicians… and the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) was born. Jim Hayes was one of those co-founders and has been involved in the organization ever since, serving as President for most of his tenure. Jim’s role has been to create strategy for FOA, coordinate the development of reference materials (online and printed), develop training curriculum, and to participate in standards activities (TIA, NECA, ISO/IEC, etc.).
“His global view of fiber optics and safety continues to advance the message of damage prevention.”
Asking people who know Jim to describe him, descriptions that came up included: smart, wise, visionary, tenacious and generous. Karin Stub, VP of Communications at Infrastructure Resources describes Jim as a respected pioneer and a leader within the industry.
“Jim has developed several fiber optic textbooks and training programs that have become staples for technicians around the world,” said Jerry Morla, Founder of FiberWizards. “The Fiber Optic Association that Jim leads recently passed its 25-year anniversary and has certified more than 90,000 technicians worldwide.”
Jim frequently authors articles for various magazines and publications (including Excavation Safety Magazine) on many fiber optic technical and workforce development topics. He also writes a newsletter that highlights advancements made across the world. His global view of fiber optics and safety continues to advance the message of damage prevention.
“Jim promotes adherence to codes and standards for safety fiber installation,” Jerry Morla added. “He leads one of the most influential, non-profit global organizations in fiber optics. Jim develops and shares resources on safe fiber work practices, and constantly promotes calling 811 before doing any excavation work.”
Those who know Jim and have worked with him, indicate they appreciate his mentorship, his willingness to enhance their training, the opportunities he gives them, and the encouragement he provides to help them along their professional development path.
And somewhere along the line, Jim has found time to author 10 books, mostly technical textbooks, except for his last book titled “Delusional Management,” a combination of memoir and a critique of management in high tech companies.
Karin Strub, who has worked with Jim on different articles and presentations, said, “Jim Hayes is a true professional who has advanced safety and the damage prevention message throughout the global Fiber Optic industry. He is definitely deserving of the title Damage Prevention Hero.”