Maintaining the family business and a tradition of service
It is safe to say that Fazal Khan likes to keep busy. When he started Seneca’s Ophthalmic Dispensers (now Opticianry) program, attending night classes, he was also completing a bachelor’s degree in Management at the University of Toronto.
Today, Fazal is the Registrar and CEO, College of Opticians of Ontario, which regulates the profession of Opticianry in the public interest. He has spent nearly a decade with the College, also serving as President and chairing various committees.
He came to this profession honestly, and early. When Fazal was growing up, his father operated two optical stores and, like Fazal, was president and a board member for the College of Opticians.
Back to the theme of keeping busy, while still at Seneca, Fazal opened and operated his family’s third store. His efforts were recognized with the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneur award. He says he was drawn to the program for its combination of science, health and business—not to mention that he wanted to enter the family business.
“Running a business by day and studying by night, I could apply practical knowledge to the course and similarly, my course work to the business,” says Fazal. “It created good synergy.”
Since graduation, Fazal’s relationship with Seneca has remained strong. He began teaching in the Opticianry program, and he was recognized as a Premier’s Award nominee in 2014.
“I wanted to give back because I enjoyed my Seneca experience immensely,” says Fazal. “I understood the course material and take pleasure in seeing the light come on for others.”
Teaching, serving the College of Opticians and running his business simultaneously has given Fazal a broad perspective on all aspects related to the industry. He is most proud of the collaboration that has taken place among eye-care professionals to evolve the industry.
He sees the next critical step for the industry will be to incorporate more technology into practice. Like his father, Fazal has devoted his career to serving and improving their shared profession.
“I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity I have had to utilize my optical knowledge and be part of the industry’s regulatory advisory,” says Fazal. “I wanted to show others that there are so many great places the field can take you.”