Prism Awards
Presented By
The 2017 - 2018 Prism Award Judges
Uri Abrams
Femtoblanc, USA
Leo Baldwin
Amazon, USA
Simi George
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.
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.
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
Jason McClure
Block Engineering, 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.
Jason McClure is Director of Engineering, Block Engineering, a company that has been a leader in mid-infrared detection instruments for over 60 years. Previously, Jason was Chief Scientist at Princeton Instruments where he was 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
Stream Technologies, Canada
Nishant Mohan
Wasatch Photonics, USA
Sofia Moreno
Zaber Technologies, Canada
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 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
Ceres Technology Advisors, USA
Laura A. Smoliar
Global Innovation Foundry, USA
Aaron Weinroth
Tornado Spectral Systems, Canada
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.
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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