NZ Optics Magazine 12 Feb 1997
Hon. Maurice Williamson, Minister of Science and Technology, officially commissioned the Hirstlens contact lens laboratory on 12th February.
Former and present staff joined with practitioners and other special guests to witness the event. Among the invited guests were Mrs Hirst, Gene Hirst's wife, and Stan McKee, a former employee who worked for the company for 37 years.
In opening the laboratory Mr Williamson said computers and contact lenses were a strange mix. "It is unusual for a company to be at the forefront of optics and information technology."
He went on to elaborate about the information technology age that is sweeping the world and quoting from US Vice President Al Gore “8 out of l0 new jobs will have an information Technology component."
"Since the turn of this century, there has been an enormous turnaround in employment. In the year 1900, based on US figures which apply elsewhere, over 75 percent of the labour force were involved in manual, either skilled or unskilled, occupations. When we end this century in three years time, it will be less than 24 percent. it is a complete reciprocal - managerial, service industries and the information sector have just taken over. Some of the traditional occupations that we have trained people in for so many decades, will simply disappear."