Prism Awards
Presented By
The 2016 - 2017 Prism Award Judges
Uri Abrams
Femtoblanc, USA
Zane Arp
GlaxoSmithKline, USA
Joel Bagwell
Edmund Optics, USA
Uri Abrams is CEO and Founder of Femtoblanc, Inc. He has served the photonics industry for over 20 years in many leadership and senior management roles. He also most recently spearheaded the development of PD-LD’s award winning dual laser system LabSource. Prior to joining the photonics family, he held multiple leadership positions in high-volume industrial sensor manufacturing spaces, with responsibilities including general management, strategic planning, financial management, risk management and IP portfolio management. Uri holds a BSME, MSME and an MS in Operations-Financial Management from Drexel University.
With a PhD in physical chemistry from Texas A&M University and 15 years of industrial experience, Zane Arp is the US Lead for Imaging Technologies at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Zane has worked at Los Alamos National Laboratories, NASA’s Johnson Space Control center at Wyle Laboratories, and GSK with a focus on developing sensor solutions for applications for space sciences, explosives, and pharmaceuticals. At GSK, he is a subject matter expert that is working with GSK’s senior management to define GSK’s strategic direction in next generation optical imaging capabilities. Most recently Zane established GSK’s Center for Optical Molecular Imaging a joint venture with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Joel Bagwell is the Director of Engineering at Edmund Optics, producer of optics, imaging, and photonics technology for the global market. Joel oversees the engineering disciplines in product development, design, R&D, optical fabrication technology, optical coatings, and corporate intellectual property. A member of SPIE, he holds a M.Sc. in Manufacturing Engineering from Drexel Univ., and a B.Sc. in Optical Engineering from Univ. of Arizona, and is currently an adjunct professor in Optics and Imaging at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Leo Baldwin
Amazon, USA
Rosalie Clemens
Rochester Precision Optics , USA
John Dexheimer
Private Equity Investing, USA
Leo is a physicist, futurist, and inventor with a career in applied research and product development. His design work has spanned nuclear reactor cores, submarines, fire-control, aircraft landing, laser micro-machining, nano-structures, solar energy and consumer electronics. His research has spanned nuclear accidents, plastic waste recycling, beer foam, surface plasmons, adaptive optics, and femtosecond-laser-created nano-structures. His government designs are in service in 26 countries. Leo’s commercial work has resulted in 56 US patents and can be found in glass plants and silicon fabs, on iPads and iPhones, and in the Fire Phone and Fire tablets.Leo is currently Principal Engineer at Amazon where he is developing technology for Corporate Projects.
Rosalie has over 20 years' experience in R&D, product line management, and executive business leadership, including serving as interim CEO at a renewable energy company, and she has graduate degrees in engineering physics and business management. Her work has taken her around the world, from building the first commercially available thin-disk laser at Jenoptik (Jena), to developing waveguide technologies and remote sensing for a NASA program (Optical Sciences Center, Tucson), and researching periodically poled nonlinear crystals at Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm). She developed additional expertise in high-security devices for documents and brand protection at 3M and JDSU, and now serves as Director of Global Business Development at Rochester Precision Optics (Rochester).
John Dexheimer focuses on optical and sensing systems and applications, enterprise software-services, and alternative energy solutions. John has advised or led investments in more than 100 completed company financings and mergers in communications, software, electronics, materials, and optics. Companies include: Philips, SAIC-Telcordia, JDS Uniphase, Novell, EMC, EDS, United Technologies, Cisco, KLA, Intel, Raytheon, and Schott. Since 1999 he has helped materials and optics firms receive over $800 million of equity investments. He has an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology.
Jason M. Eichenholz
Open Photonics, USA
Amy Eskilson
Inrad Optics, USA
Simi George
Jason is CEO and Founder of Open Photonics. He is an Experienced Technology Development Executive, Technology Scout and Open Innovation Practitioner. He started OPI because he saw a chasm between garage inventors and academic researchers who wanted to see their work commercialized. Prior to starting OPI, he served as the Divisional Technology Director at Halma PLC responsible for supporting open innovation & technology, strategy development for the Photonics Division as well as other divisions / companies inside Halma. Prior to Halma, Jason was CTO for Ocean Optics and Dir. of Strategic Marketing for Newport and Spectra-Physics. Jason has been actively involved in laser and photonics research and product development for more than 20 years.
Amy Eskilson is President and Chief Executive Officer of Inrad Optics, manufacturer of exceptional crystal materials and high precision optics. An advocate for localized manufacturing, she is focused on delivering unique products with extraordinary optical specifications. Prior to joining the Inrad Optics team Amy spent 18 years with Thorlabs. During her tenure at Thorlabs she was also involved in photonic start-ups Nova Phase, Menlo Systems, Inc. and Idesta Quantum Electronics. Amy currently serves on the Optical Society Board of Directors. Prior to discovering optics and photonics Amy received her BA degree in Communications and spent several years in New York at McCann-Erickson, the worldwide advertising group.
Simi George is a physicist with a background in laser plasmas, optics, optical materials design and manufacturing. Currently, she is a senior scientist and the laser materials program manager for the SCHOTT Advanced Optics division of North America. In addition, she is also pursuing an Executive MBA from MIT Sloan. Her early career championed and advanced Sn-doped droplet laser produced plasma sources research for EUV lithography. Subsequently her career spanned EUV patterning studies of masks and resists for the semiconductor industry, research development of laser gain materials, glass manufacturing, batteries for the future, free-form optics and additive manufacturing. Simi completed her Ph.D. in physics at the CREOL College of Optics & Photonics in UCF, Florida. Dr. George has more than 40 published papers and 10 patents.
David Hardwick
Consultant, USA
Cindy Gong-Harris
Shanghai Optics, USA
Randy Heyler
Ondax, USA
After earning his physics degree from St. Johns Univ. (Minnesota), David started research on early laser technology at Honeywell Research Center. In the past 50 years his career spanned from Development Engineer, Manufacturing Manager, Marketing Product Manager and leader/CEO of several startup laser and fiber optics companies. His resume includes: Spectra Physics, Coherent, Lasertron, and CEO of Melles Griot. He also assisted in founding: Auxora Photonics, Confluent Photonics, IPG Photonics and Altitun. He is semi-retired photonics industry consultant to IMRA America and TEEM Photonics, active OSA member, living in New England.
Cindy Gong-Harris is the Director of Business Development at Shanghai Optics, a leading supplier of custom optical solutions including high precision optical components, lens assemblies, mechanical and optical design services. She has more than 18 years experience developing and managing business opportunities in the Optics and Life Science Industries. She has held executive business development positions in several spectroscopy and life science companies such as: SpectraCode, Digilab, NuSep, Fairbanks Institute and Wasatch Photonics. She holds a BS in Business Management and Management Information Systems and an Executive MBA from Purdue University.
Randy Heyler is President and CEO of Ondax, Inc., the leading manufacturer of high-performance Volume Holographic Grating (VHG) filters and wavelength-stabilized laser sources. He has nearly 30 years of leadership experience in the photonics industry, most recently with Newport Corporation, where his responsibilities included general management, technology planning, strategic and product marketing, OEM business development, branding and product positioning, and industry trade and technical association leadership. He was a founder and VP of the Photonics Packaging and Advanced Automation Division at Newport. He also spent 10 years with Spectra-Physics. Randy holds both a BSME and an MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University.
Marc D. Himel
JENOPTIK Optical Systems, USA
Gloria Hoefler
Infinera, USA
Wilhelm G. Kaenders
TOPTICA Photonics, Germany
Marc D Himel, a Business Development Manager with Jenoptik Optical Systems, brings 25 years of photonics experience to advancing the application of micro-optics to solve complex system’s issues in semiconductor manufacturing, material processing, and other commercial applications. Prior to joining Jenoptik, he worked in the design and development of advanced EUV and DUV lithography systems at AT&T Bell Labs and SVG Lithography Systems, and as a Product Manager at DigitalOptics Corporation. He received his BS degree in Physics from the California Polytechnic State University, his PhD in Optical Sciences from the University of Arizona, and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Himel has more than 46 published papers and one patent.
Gloria Hoefler has been in the optics and photonics industry for over 20 years. She did her MS and PhD in EE at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Gloria has extensive industry experience. She has worked at 3M, HP, Lumileds Lighting, Agilent Technologies, and more recently Business Development Manager at Corning. Gloria also founded and successfully funded Argos Tech, an early stage company that commercialized a novel laser engine for optical sensors. She also negotiated IP terms with Fortune 500 companies and universities to complement Argos' technology for sensor markets. Gloria is currently the Advanced Development Director at Infinera, a pioneer in design and manufacture of large scale photonic integrated circuits (PICs).
Wilhelm Kaenders is founder and President/CEO of TOPTICA Photonics AG, a high-tech optical company that focuses on high-precision lasers and laser systems as test and measurement tools in industry and academia. He worked on tunable diode laser technology in collaboration with the LM University/Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics groups of Theodor Hänsch. Since 2003, the commercial activities have been extended to fiber-based femtosecond lasers for spectroscopy, metrology, inspection and microscopy. Kaenders received his diploma in Physics on research in atom physics using synchrotron and VUV pulsed laser radiation at Bonn University and the International Diploma of Imperial College, London, before finalizing the doctorate at the University of Hannover.
Kenneth Kaufmann
Hamamatsu, USA
Jian Liu
PolarOnyx, USA
Gisele Maxwell
Shasta Crystals, USA
Kenneth Kaufmann has been with Hamamatsu Corp. for 24 years and is currently Vice President of Marketing. He received a Bachelor of Science from City College of New York and a PhD from MIT in physical chemistry. Ken, as VP of Marketing for Hamamatsu, has been an active participant in the Prism Awards since 2008, as an applicant, award winner, presenter, and a judge. Hamamatsu is a global leader in photoelectron conversion technologies. The company’s opto-semiconductor products are used in a wide range of sectors, including the automotive industry. Hamamatsu says its quality policy is to “take responsibility as an opto-semiconductor manufacturer to establish a quality control system that provides products the customers needs and contribute to the progress of industry and science”.
Jian Liu is the founder of PolarOnyx, a world’s leading R&D company in laser 3D manufacturing and its frontier applications. He has led the company to successfully develop the world’s first femtosecond laser based additive manufacturing (AM) system and subtractive manufacturing (SM) system. His past achievements include development and commercialization of several award winning high energy and high power femtosecond fiber laser products in Laser-Femto. Before starting PolarOnyx in 2002, he worked with Lucent/Bell labs in development of specialty fibers and optical amplifiers, and then joined several other Silicon Valley start-ups. He has over 40 granted patents and published over 60 papers. He has been serving/chairing several international conference committee. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.
Gisele Maxwell founded Shasta Crystals in 2006 (she is also CEO and Director) to commercially develop crystals grown by the Laser Heated Pedestal Growth technology. Since its inception, Gisele has raised over $4M in equity investment and over $1.5M in NSF grants. She serves as CEO and Dir. of Shasta Crystals. She then served as a postdoc at Stanford University in the Byer/Fejer group in the Ginzton Laboratories. Gisele worked for two companies where she successfully took nonlinear crystals to market, Crystal Technology Inc. and Silicon Light Machines. She has served as a consultant regarding Czochralski growth for Koike Corporation, Crystal Technology Inc., and Photonic Materials (Scotland). She has also consulted for New Focus Inc. and for Silicon Light Machines. Gisele is a Technical Grant Reviewer for the National Science Foundation and a Reviewer for the Journal of Crystal Growth.
Jason McClure
Princeton Instruments, USA
Craig Milne
Stream Technologies, Canada
Nishant Mohan
Wasatch Photonics, USA
Jason McClure is the Chief Scientist at Princeton Instruments, a producer of high performance CCD, ICCD, and EMCCD cameras; imaging spectrographs; and optics-based solutions for the scientific research, industrial imaging, and OEM communities. Jason joined Princeton Instruments in 2008 where he acts as a thought leader and innovator with a focus on developing new and disruptive technologies while leading engineering teams to bring new ideas to fruition. He is author of several domestic and foreign patents in optics and photonics. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with an emphasis on high pressure condensed matter physics.
Craig Milne is President and co-founder of Stream Technologies Inc. Stream produces a unique class of spectral imaging devices, confining all of the optics into a lens-like attachment to convert almost any monochrome camera to multispectral. At Stream, he oversees all product and business development activities. Craig is an entrepreneur at heart and has been involved in three new venture companies. As a member of SPIE, he holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Toronto and an MBA in Finance from the University of Alberta. Craig also serves as a mentor and business advisor through the University of Alberta as well as to the banking industry.
Nishant Mohan, PhD is Director of Product Management and Marketing at Wasatch Photonics. He leads the efforts toward development and commercialization of novel optical coherence tomography products at Wasatch in Durham NC. Before joining Wasatch Photonics, Dr. Mohan was part of Bausch+Lomb’s R&D division in Rochester NY and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston MA. He holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University and undergraduate in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. Dr. Mohan is an active member of SPIE, currently serves on two committees and was founder member of Boston University Chapter.
Sofia Moreno
Zaber Technologies, Canada
Linda Smith
Ceres Technology Advisors, USA
Laura A. Smoliar
Global Innovation Foundry, USA
Sofia Moreno is an Applications Engineer at Zaber Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of high-precision motion control devices. She has mainly focused on applications within the optics and photonics industry, and internally, she is a customer advocate, acting as a liaison between customers and designers. She has volunteered for several years with GEERing Up!, a non-profit organization that promotes science, engineering and technology to youth. She has also volunteered with Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE), which helps to promote equal opportunity for women interested in careers in the technology industry. Sofia holds a BASc in Engineering Physics from the University of British Columbia.
Linda Smith founded Ceres Technology Advisors, a merger and acquisition firm for photonics businesses. She has more than 25 years experience identifying market opportunities, developing, managing, and financing growth for public and private companies supplying optics, lasers and biophotonics instrumentation. She held executive product management positions at venture capital funded companies commercializing integrated optics, MEMS and nanotechnology. Linda holds B.S. in Optics and Mathematics from Univ. of Rochester and M.B.A. from Babson College. She is an Accredited Sr. Appraiser in Business Valuation, Registered Investment Banker, and Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Woman.
Laura has spent nearly two decades in Silicon Valley’s technology sector. She co-founded Global Innovation Foundry, LLC in 2014 to connect innovation, market opportunity, and investors between the U.S. and Asia. Her own startup experience building strategic partnerships and raising funds from Asia inform her approach to solving complex problems across different cultures and economies, harnessing the best assets of large corporations and small companies. She has extended this into the development of a hybrid investment model (containing non-profit and for-profit components), working closely with the University of California, Berkeley, to create the Berkeley Catalyst Fund. Laura is a Columbia College graduate and a member of the Columbia Technology Ventures Executive Advisor Network. She also holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ferechteh Hosseini Teherani
Nanovation, France
Aaron Weinroth
Tornado Spectral Systems, Canada
Ferechteh H. Teherani has been involved with the development of novel oxide thin film materials and devices for over 25 years. After receiving her PhD from the University of Orsay (France), Dr Teherani was a researcher at Thales & SUPELEC (France), NTT &ETL (Japan), and Northwestern Univ. (USA) before becoming technical director of a start-up based in Paris in the late 1990s. Currently CEO of Nanovation, which she founded in 2001 to commercialize oxide based solutions mainly for the semiconductor industry. An expert for the European Commission, she has also been an Esbach Scholar supervising PhD/masters students at Northwestern Univ. and is currently a conference chair of the Oxide-based Materials and Devices conference at SPIE Photonics West.
Aaron Weinroth is the Chief Marketing Officer at Tornado Spectral Systems where he oversees many aspects of Tornado's technology commercialization activities including product management, marketing, business development, and the company’s intellectual property portfolio. He is also a mentor for start-up entrepreneurs at the Ontario Brain Institute and serves as an external reviewer for the Ontario Centres of Excellence innovation funding programs. Prior to his role at Tornado, Aaron served in senior business and engineering capacities developing and introducing new products in the medical device and imaging industries for both small early-stage growth organizations and the large global corporations that acquired them. Aaron earned degrees in electrical and biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto and is a licensed professional engineer.
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