Jim Hayes


I'm Jim Hayes. I'm a writer, manager and consultant specializing in fiber optics. I was a high tech entrepreneur who (along with my wife and business partner, Karen) started one of the world's first fiber optic test equipment companies, Fotec, in 1981. Fotec was acquired in 2001 by Fluke Networks and we left in 2002.

I now consult in fiber optics and communications, write, teach and with Karen manage the Fiber Optic Association (FOA), the international professional society of fiber optics. I have  been training cabling installation technicians since 1982 through an organization we called Fiber U, now part of FOA. The Fotec, Fiber U and Cable U websites I created were the most popular websites in communications cabling in the early days of the web as the FOA and Fiber U sites are today.

I'm the President of The Fiber Optic Association. Karen is the general manager. We also run VDV Works LLC, a consulting company. At FOA, we're responsible for managing a worldwide network of FOA Approved training organizations as well as developing and editing curriculum and reference materials, the FOA Guide website and the FOA textbooks. We've revived Lennie Lightwave's Guide To Fiber Optics and Uncle Ted's Guide To VDV Cabling on the web for everyone who missed this great introduction to fiber optics from way back in the early 1990s. We provide instructors with complete training programs in fiber optics and cabling. I also have nine books in print, write articles and columns on cabling for many publications and serve as a contributing editor to Electrical Contractor magazine. I'm a frequent speaker at seminars and conventions.

We consult with companies on communications technology and assist those developing technical training programs. We also provide technical and marketing assistance in several high tech areas. I am available for speaking engagements, consulting and training. Contact me for details.
This is my professional resume.



In 2001, I was honored to have been selected as one of fiber optics' "luminaries" by Fiberoptic Product News magazine for my contributions to the industry through training.



Broadband Properties magazine recognized me as one of the Fiber To the Premises Pioneers in 2007 for my work at the FOA in promoting education and recruitment of personnel critical to the success of FTTP deployment.
CIM Cover

In 2013, Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine selected me as one of the 20 most influential people in the cabling industry.




Madison High School, Madison, TN, 1957-63, Honors, Forensics/Debating, learned computer programming in 1962 from IBM in a pilot program - with computers that had tubes!

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, B.A. 1967, Cum Laude, With Honors in Physics-Astronomy, Minor in Math (and enough hours for a minor in Philosophy.) While at Vandy, I developed the first computerized data acquisition system for astronomical photometry, writing all the software, helped build and debug the hardware and creating data analysis algorithms.

University of California, Santa Cruz, Lick Observatory, 1967-8. Worked on Ph.D. in Astronomy. Transferred much of my computerized data reduction program to Lick before I left for more lucrative commercial pursuits!

Work Experience

2003-Present  The Fiber Optic Association . Founder, President and technical person, responsible for the FOA publications, online and print, curriculum, newsletter, etc. working with the extensive FOA group of advisors.
2002-Present VDV Works LLC, technology support company for the voice-data-video industry, founded in 2002 with my spouse/business partner, Karen.

1980-2002, Fotec, Inc. Entrepreneur/Founder/President, fiber optic test equipment. Venture funded, profitable, sold to Fluke Networks (Danaher) in 2001. Here is a short story about Fotec.

1979-80, Teradyne, Market Manager, ATE for telecom ICs (the beginning of the digital phone system)

1978-79, Analogic/Data Precision, Market Development Manager, instrumentation (where I was introduced to fiber optics by AT&T Bell Labs)

1976-78, Panametrics, Marketing Manager, ultrasonic instrumentation

1973-76, Analog Devices, Marketing Manager, modular instrumentation (while at ADI, worked on project for first monolithic A/D converter) and Advertising Manager

1971-3, Tennelec, sales/marketing, nuclear instrumentation

1968-71, EG&G, sales/marketing, nuclear and analytical instrumentation (developed techniques for scanning ICs for elements in structure, authenticating artwork)

Publications (more here)

I've written hundreds of magazine articles-maybe thousands! I have written technical articles for Fiberoptic Product News, Lightwave, Cabling Installation and Maintenance, Electronic Products, Test and Measurement World, Communications News, Roundel, TED, etc.

I am a contributing editor currently for Electrical Contractor, write monthly columns in ISE Magazine and IMSA Journal.

Author or co-author of numerous textbooks, Fiber Optic Testing (out of print), The Fiber Optic Association Guide To Fiber BroadbandThe FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optics, The FOA Reference Guide to Premises CablingThe FOA Reference Guide to Outside Plant Fiber Optics, The FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Network Design,  The FOA Reference Guide to Fiber Optic Testing  The Fiber Optic Technicians Manual and Data, Voice and Video Cabling and Fiber Optic Testing (out of print). Contributor to several other books including The Handbook of Fiber Optic Data Communications.

Started Fotec website in 1994, one of the first 30,000 commercial websites, managed the site and wrote most of the material on it, including creating Fiber U, a web-based training site in 1997.

Today I manage, write and edit the website of The Fiber Optic Association, including the Online Reference Guide to Fiber Optics  and Fiber U, their online learning site.


Oversee and develop curriculum for training and certification programs of  The Fiber Optic Association  that is used by more than 200 schools in 40 countries around the world to certify over 73,000 fiber techs (August 2018.)

Speaker for numerous organizations and meetings, e.g. IEEE, SPIE, OSA, NAED, NECA, NCTA, IBEW, IEC, SCTE, United Nations. Conducted many webinars.

Developed training the first fiber optic training programs starting in 1982 and taught about 20,000 students about fiber optics and communications cabling. Created "Fiber U" and "Cable U" conference formats and ran them for Fotec, NECA and other organizations.

Created "train-the-trainer" programs in fiber and cabling and taught >1000 instructors.

Working with high school teacher intern in 1997, created one of the earliest self-study WBT (web-based training) programs now used by tens of thousands of people monthly.

Other Activities
President and Member of Board of Directors of The Fiber Optic Association (of which I was a co-founder)

Served on boards of several companies in fiber optics and intellectual property management.

Industry advisory boards of several universities and vocational education schools

Professional Memberships

FOA (Founder, President), TIA, ANSI




Collecting Art and Artifacts

Computers - high tech gadgets


Sports car racing as a driver, racing instructor and mechanic, vintage racing 1989-2001, retired from active racing and instructing for track events (BMWCCA, AROC, NASA, etc.), collector of books and literature on racing. Former member and/or participant in SCCA, VSCCA, VARAC and SVRA events.




Jim Hayes
VDV Works, Santa Monica, CA
Telephone: 760-990-3936
e mail: jehjimhayes.com


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1994-2023, Jim Hayes