Headwall Photonics Blog

Spreading Holiday Cheer at Headwall

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Dec 21, 2016

In 2016 Headwall embarked on a mission of volunteerism. The small, 50-person technology company headquartered in Fitchburg understood that the community it called home was also home to disadvantaged families in need. So beginning with a variety of projects throughout the area, Headwall employees embraced the opportunity to ‘give back’ by partnering with a local charitable organization called Our Father’s House.

“Our goals were twofold,” said Robin Jacobs of Headwall. “We wanted to help out wherever the need arose and we wanted to have broad employee participation,” she said. In addition to sprucing up neighborhoods and planting trees, Headwall and its employees purchased and assembled hundreds of ‘personal care kits’ for disadvantaged people in the area. “It really was a fun experience each time we assembled these kits,” said Robin. “We all knew we were putting a smile on someone’s face and making their difficult life a little less difficult.”

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Headwall had almost 100% employee participation in purchasing new gifts for area children. 

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Headwall employees carrying gift bags to Our Father’s House transport truck

Just before Thanksgiving, Headwall assembled all the makings for complete feasts to be distributed to area families through Our Father’s House. “We thought of everything,” said Robin. “Right down to the cooking pan for the turkey!” The partnership with Our Father’s House works well because they handle the distribution and organizational logistics to make sure that everything that Headwall donates fills a need.

Right after Thanksgiving, Our Father’s House pulled together a list of 41 children living at the Devens Transitional Center. These children, some as young as two, were in desperate need of new winter clothing such as hats, coats, and mittens. Almost immediately all 41 children had been spoken for, with gift bags containing brand-new outfits crowding the Headwall lobby. “We really captured the spirit once again,” said Robin. “Taking care of 41 children across a company our size meant we had just about full employee participation.”

Seeing a smile on the face of each child as they unwrap their gift is a very rewarding experience. “Many of these kids have never been given brand-new gifts before, and it was fun for each employee to pick a name off the tree here at Headwall and know that we were making that child happy.”

 

Tags: Fitchburg, Our Father's House, Charity, Giving, Christmas

The Spirit of Giving at Headwall

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Fri, Nov 18, 2016

The corporate environment is always a bustling one: Getting and shipping orders, building sensors, designing new products, and maneuvering through a seemingly endless stream of meetings. But at Headwall, we take the opportunity to ‘give back’ to several central Massachusetts communities with families in need. This can range from assembling ‘personal care kits’ to cleaning and beautifying neighborhoods. This happens several times during the year, and is a part of Headwall's ongoing pledge to donate and contribute wherever possible to those less fortunate.

Today, Headwall employees gathered all the fixings for full Thanksgiving dinners to be distributed to dozens of area families during the upcoming week. This was done in coordination with ‘Our Father’s House, Inc. of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, which is a nonprofit focused on assisting the homeless in Northern Worcester County. Everything from the turkey and stuffing right down to the baking pan was included and boxed, before being carefully loaded aboard a truck at Headwall’s facility.

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“This is something we take a tremendous amount of pride in doing,” said Robin Jacobs of Headwall. “We have partnered with Our Father’s House consistently and we know our help and assistance is so appreciated.” In addition to the turkey dinners and personal accessory kits, Headwall had a company ‘coat drive’ so that as many homeless people as possible could have warm outerwear before the winter chill sets in. "Our entire employee base rallies around these projects whenever they arise," said Robin. "It's a collective sense of joy to be involved with charitable work like this, and our relationship with Our Father's House is a very rewarding one."

“I can’t express enough how grateful we are to Headwall for their continued assistance,” said Kevin MacLean, Director of Homeless Services at Our Father’s House. His organization has evolved into much more than just a shelter for the homeless and now offers comprehensive case management. Our Father's House works with other local agencies to make sure that the needs of the homeless are dealt with proactively rather than reactively. “That’s why our partnership with Headwall is so valued,” said Kevin. “There are families and individuals who will now have a nourishing meal on Thanksgiving and warm coats for the winter.” 

Tags: Fitchburg, Our Father's House, Charity, Giving, Thanksgiving

Community Partnership in Action!

Posted by David Bannon on Thu, Apr 28, 2016

Great companies can serve not only as an economic engine for customers, employees, suppliers, and business partners but also as a strong community partner based on how that company integrates itself into the communities in which it operates.

So many times, employees follow the same morning routines to get to work – a cup of coffee on the go, a 25 minute commute to work, pull into the parking lot, and do your thing every day. But picking your head up and looking at the community and the surrounding neighborhood as you go to work every day reveals a lot and helps to define where we can have a positive social impact as a company and as an individual.   This perspective helps us to understand our community’s strengths, resources, cultural diversity, as well as a heightened awareness of community need.

community_partnership.jpgA cornerstone of strong, thriving companies is to establish a brand as a good community partner; defining a commitment to social responsibility and community philanthropy needs to be more engrained in the cultural fabric and strategies of companies.

As an element of our FY16 success plan, Headwall has undertaken a new community service initiative with our employees. A group of employees conducted site visits to a number of community service organizations. As a result, Headwall is working to support Our Father’s House, a local non-profit organization based in Fitchburg that is providing shelter and transitional services to homeless men, women, and children in the community.

VOLUNTEER_PROJECT.jpgAdditionally, a group of five volunteers from Headwall went to a work project for Growing Places, a local organization that runs community gardens and teaches gardening classes to residents of Fitchburg and Leominster. The group met at the Growing Places warehouse in Leominster, where the first project involved power-washing three tanks to be used for storing water at the community gardens. One tank had been full of black dye, another contained glue, and a third one held corn syrup. 

Everyone involved got stained with the black dye, and were ultimately unsuccessful in cleaning that tank. In the end, two tanks were cleaned and delivered to the Sundial Community Garden, and the Cleghorn Community Garden, both in Fitchburg. You can read more about the projects here.

The work was challenging, but much of the danger was mitigated by putting the most dangerous engineer in a cage. The two cleansed tanks were loaded into a truck and delivered to the community gardens. The first garden was surrounded by a fence that the volunteers had to lift the tank over. After both tanks had been installed at the community gardens, the group moved on to a third site, adjacent to the Cleghorn Garden, to plant two large apple trees that had wintered over but were lying on their sides.

The trees were removed from the shallow holes in which they had spent the winter, the burlap and wire baskets were removed from the root balls, and two large holes were dug. A full group effort, led by Kevin Didona, successfully placed the trees upright in their new homes. The dirt was replaced, and the community now has two lovely apple trees.

The staff at Growing Places was very pleased with all we were able to accomplish, and there will be opportunities for more cooperation between that group and Headwall Photonics in the future. We have discussed the possibility of a project at the Headwall facility where volunteers can build frames for raised beds at the community gardens.

 

Tags: Fitchburg, community partnership, Volunteering, employee activities

U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas Visits Headwall

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Oct 29, 2014

Niki Tsongas, Congresswoman from the 3rd Congressional District in Massachusetts, visited Headwall today to meet with Company officials and speak to employees. Ms. Tsongas applauded Headwall’s focus on technical leadership across its core markets. “I’m fascinated by all the exciting applications for your products,” Tsongas noted. “My work in Congress is aimed at strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit I see when I visit companies like Headwall.”

Niki TsongasDuring the visit, Congresswoman Tsongas toured Headwall’s Fitchburg facility and saw firsthand how the Company’s vertically-integrated approach moves spectral imaging sensors from design to production very rapidly. The sensors, used by industry and government, collect a complete ‘spectral picture’ of whatever is within the field of view. This can be from a satellite, a manned aircraft, a small UAV, or along a high-speed inspection line where product quality can be determined by hyperspectral imaging.

During the ‘town hall’ meeting with employees, Tsongas fielded questions from employees on a range of topics, including her position on STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “Education in these areas represents the catalyst for companies like Headwall to flourish,” noted Tsongas. “You need people who can hit the ground running, and education is fundamental to achieving a labor force that is ready to go in very challenging areas across science and technology.”

Headwall CEO David Bannon thanked Congresswoman Tsongas for visiting Headwall. “We’re very honored to have you here today because it reinforces Washington’s support for small, entrepreneurial, technology-driven companies like ours.”

Congresswoman Tsongas was elected to the United State House of Representatives in a 2007 special election, becoming the first woman in 25 years to serve in Congress from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She represents the Massachusetts Third District, which had previously been known as the Fifth District until her most recent reelection in 2012. Tsongas holds the same seat that was held three decades earlier by her late husband, former Congressman, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Paul Tsongas. The Third District spans portions of Essex, Middlesex and Worcester counties.

Tsongas serves on the House Armed Services Committee, a position she sought out when first elected. In 2013, Tsongas’ hard work led to her being named to a leadership position as the top Democrat on the Subcommittee for Oversight and Investigations. The Third District has a long history of military service, which is reflected both in the number of residents who serve in the active duty military as well as in the numerous veterans who call the Third District home.  Tsongas also represents one of the largest concentrations of defense related employers in the country that manufacture the products, develop the technology and create the jobs that keep our nation strong and our service members safe.

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Tsongas has pushed for development of lightweight body armor and new measures to better prevent and respond to incidents of sexual assault in the military.

Tsongas also serves on the Natural Resources Committee, which oversees legislation related to domestic energy production, National Parks, rivers, forests, oceans and wilderness areas.

More can be learned about Congresswoman Tsongas at her official web site.

 

Tags: Headwall Photonics, Fitchburg, Niki Tsongas, U.S. Congress, 3rd Congressional District, Massachusetts

Savvy About Hyperspectral Imaging? We Should Talk!

Posted by Christopher Van Veen on Wed, Mar 07, 2012

When the world decides to beat a path to your door, what do you do? You hire great people! We’re poised for big things in 2012 and terrific people are needed to help us get there. Take a look at our just-posted career opportunities!

Hyperspectral ApplicationsAt Headwall, our hyperspectral imaging products are based on some of the coolest optical and sensing technology around. Instruments you only saw in laboratories are now doing great things all over the world because they’re smaller and more affordable than ever. Hyperspectral imaging is helping to make crops we plant and harvest safer and more plentiful. Forensic science is getting to the root cause faster thanks to our technology. From reconnaissance and surveillance aboard UAVs to health-care and remote sensing, hyperspectral imaging is making whole new worlds possible.

We're looking for talented people who can fill these roles:

You'll be working with extraordinarily bright people at our headquarters facility in north-central Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston. You'll be contributing to the advancement and deployment of our remarkable technology, which is already in widespread use around the globe.

Tags: hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral, Headwall Photonics, Fitchburg, Careers