Prism Awards
Presented By
The 2019 Prism Award Judges
Aaron Weinroth
Tornado Spectral Systems, Canada
Andreas Popp
TRUMPF, Germany
Christopher Rowan
Arscientia, USA
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. Previously, 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.
Andreas Popp is Principal Expert and leading the Technology Scouting of the TRUMPF Group, a producer of Lasers for high power applications and a machine tool company for flexible sheet metal fabrication. Andreas´s technology expertise ranges from many different kind of production technologies, MEMS and semiconductor technologies, Lasers and Optics from milliwatt power levels to multi-kilowatt. As a technology expert, Andreas Popp serves in different leading roles related to TRUMPF´s venture strategy, including venture capital and mergers & acquisitions. Having a passion for inventing, he holds various patents in different technology fields. Andreas Popp acquired a graduate degree in physics from the Technical University Munich (TUM) and a doctorate from the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge (IFSW) Stuttgart. As a post-grad student Andreas Popp realized one of the first tandem-pumped high-power laser, the thin-disk pumped fiber laser.
Chris is the founder of Arscientia and has 30 years of executive management experience as a GM, in marketing, sales, and business development. He has experience in the semiconductor, software, chemical, advanced materials and photonics industries. Chris is the inventor of the Consistency of Purpose (CoP) and Risk to Value (R2V) strategic planning processes. He has successfully launched 5 new product lines. As a GM and responsible for strategic marketing at Cymer, sales increased from $6 million to $203 million in less than 3 years with a market share over 90% and two years later to approximately $500 million. He was a SEMATECH ITRS roadmap voting member, obtained a $1.1 SEMATECH contract for optical material testing, won a DOE CRADA for superconductor research and analysis. Chris holds two software patents and has served on 3 boards and 5 advisory boards and is a founding board member of the Design Museum in Boston. He is a Strategic Advisor to NewCap Partners an investment bank, an MIT Enterprise Forum Co-Programing Chair, a mentor at UCSD’s NSF I-corps program, and has moderated an IEEE panel on IoT and MIT forum on AI in health care. He was a BlueTech investor judge in 2018 and Prism Award judge in 2018 & 2019. He is currently a Cove Fund partner. He earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and was awarded the Hurley Calculus Award.
David Hardwick
Consultant, USA
Edward Gooding
VIAVI Solutions, USA
Ferechteh Hosseini Teherani
Nanovation, France
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 SPIE member, living in New England.
Ed Gooding is Photonic Applications Specialist at VIAVI Solutions, formerly part of JDS Uniphase, a San Jose, California-based network test, measurement and assurance technology company. Ed was previously Director of Sales & Marketing at Hindsight Imaging and Spectroscopy Product Line Manager at Princeton Instruments. He earned an M.S. degree at the University of New Mexico, working on singlet oxygen photophysics with Peter Ogilby, and a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied ultrafast spectroscopy with Robin Hochstrasser. As a postdoctoral associate, Ed built a nanosecond temperature jump resonance Raman instrument to study protein folding dynamics in Sandy Asher’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh.
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.
Gisele Maxwell
Shasta Crystals, USA
Gloria Hoefler
Infinera, USA
Jason M. Eichenholz
Luminar, USA
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.
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).
Jason Eichenholz is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Luminar, a sensing technology company that will become the core platform to enable safe fully autonomous vehicles. As CTO, Eichenholz is responsible for research and development of new products, product roadmap and bringing Luminar’s technology to to market. Over the past twenty-five years, Jason has led the development of hundreds of millions of dollars of new photonics products. Before joining Luminar, he was the CEO and founder of Open Photonics, an open innovation company dedicated to the commercialization of optics and photonics technologies. Eichenholz has a M.S. and Ph.D in Optical Science and Engineering from CREOL and a B.S. in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jason McClure
Block Engineering, USA
Joel Bagwell
Edmund Optics, USA
John Dexheimer
Private Equity Investing, USA
Jason McClure is Director of Engineering, Block Engineering, a leading company in mid-infrared detection instruments. He is currently leading the development of several novel Quantum Cascade Laser based mid-infrared chemical detection instruments. 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. He is credited with developing several ground-breaking imaging spectrographs which have proven transformative to many fields in optical spectroscopy. He is author of several domestic and foreign patents in optics and photonics and an active reviewer for the Optical Society of America. He has been a Prism Awards Judge since 2012 and received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Joel Bagwell is the Director of Research and Development at Edmund Optics, producer of optics, imaging, and photonics technology for the global market. Joel oversees corporate R&D with a focus on optical fabrication technology, optical coatings, novel product development, international technology transfers, and 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 a former professor in Optics and Imaging at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
John Dexheimer is President of LightWave Advisors, Inc. where he assists start-ups and established firms on expanding partnerships and M&A for advanced technology firms. Since 1995 he has been extensively involved in the photonics sector. He has extensive history as a partner in several venture capital funds and as advisor to portfolio firms for many of the large established investors in technology. He has had several executive roles in startups and mature technology firms with revenue of up to $400 million in addition to serving on several Boards of public and private firms. He has assisted in funding and partnering execution of over 100 firms, ranging from small firms up to several valued at over $1 billion. He has been among initial investors and led the IPOs of several firms, including leaders in the photonics sector. He earned an MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. from the University of Minnesota, College of Science and Engineering where he is on the Dean’s Advisory Board.
Leo Baldwin
Amazon, USA
Laura A. Smoliar
Berkeley Catalyst Fund, Founding Partner and Managing Director, USA
Linda Smith
Ceres Technology Advisors, 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.
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.
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.
Manual Aschwanden
Optotune, Switzerland
Marc D. Himel
MKS Instruments, USA
Mark A. Tolbert
TOPTICA Photonics, USA and Germany
Manuel Aschwanden is Chief Executive Officer of Optotune, a Swiss manufacturer of industry shaping active optical components that allow customers around the globe to innovate. Manuel holds an MSc in electrical engineering and a PhD in nanotechnology from ETH Zurich. Besides his excellent engineering skills he also gained a broad knowledge in economics during his business education at Imperial College London and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to founding Optotune in 2008, Manuel has gained experience in engineering at Avalon and ABB.
As the Director of Inside Sales at MKS Instruments’ Newport subsidiary, SPIE Fellow Marc D. Himel brings 30 years of experience to advancing the application of photonics to solve complex system’s issues in industrial, medical, and consumer applications. Before joining Newport, he performed business development at Jenoptik Optical Systems and product management at DigitalOptics Corporation where he concentrated his efforts on the application of micro-optics to advanced lithography, inspection, and consumer electronics. Dr. Himel holds a BS in Physics, a PhD in Optical Sciences, and an MBA. His research and development activity has resulted in over 46 published papers and three patents.
Mark A. Tolbert is the President and CEO of TOPTICA Photonics. With a strong engineering and management background from the University of Rochester, Mark has a degree in Physics and received his MBA from the Simon School of Business. Mark started his career in plastic optics as Director of Sales and Marketing with Germanow-Simon Corporation. His management interests and skills, brought him then to a leading position first within Burleigh and then with EXFO, where he held the position of Director of Business Development, with particular emphasis on the scientific product lines and international business. At EXFO Burleigh Instruments Mark developed various OEM and R&D markets for the automation, nano-technology and biophotonics markets. Mark Tolbert joined the TOPTICA group in 2006.
Markus Arzberger
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, USA
Michael Bove
MIT Media Lab, USA
Nishant Mohan
Wasatch Photonics, USA
Markus is a physicist interested in leading edge opto-electronic technologies at the forefront of consumer, industry and automotive applications. He earned his PhD in Physics from the Technical University of Munich with research focusing on the growth, characterization and applications of self-assembled quantum dots including VCSELs. Markus started his industry career in Germany at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, which is one of the leading global manufacturers in the field of opto components. He has gained more than 15 years' experience as Product Engineer in LED and laser chip production, then as Application Engineering Manager and later as Director of Product Development for infrared LEDs, lasers, and sensors. He relocated to OSRAM Opto Semiconductors’ US operations in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2016 and is currently driving the business for optical sensors as General Manager of the Sensor Product Line
V. Michael Bove, Jr. holds an S.B.E.E., an S.M. in Visual Studies, and a Ph.D. in Media Technology, all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is currently head of the Object-Based Media Group at the Media Lab, and co-directs the consumer electronics working group CE2.0. He is the author or co-author of over 100 journal or conference papers on digital television systems, video processing hardware/software design, multimedia, scene modeling, visual display technologies, and optics. He holds patents on inventions relating to video recording, hardcopy, interactive television, medical imaging, and holographic displays, and has been a member of several professional and government committees.
Nishant Mohan is Vice President of OCT Division at Wasatch Photonics. He has actively participated in research, development and commercialization aspects of optical coherence tomography (OCT) for over a decade. Dr. Mohan also serves on standing committee for Engineering, Science and Technology Policy at SPIE. He is credited with pioneering several optical imaging technologies in both industry and academia. Prior to joining Wasatch Photonics, Dr. Mohan was part of research and development team of Bausch + Lomb Inc in Rochester NY and a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. He received his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and Bachelors in Electronics and Communication Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati.
Qitao Lue
Han's Laser, China
Randy Heyler
Ondax, USA
Rosalie Clemens
GS1, Sr Dir. Emerging Sectors, USA
After graduated in Optics & Lasers from Huazhong University of Science & Technology (China), Dr. Lue became the scholarship holder of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (Germany) in 1984 and continued the Diploma studies at Physics department of University Kaiserslautern (Germany). From 1988 to 1992, he’s been the assistant professor at Physics department of Technical University of Berlin (Germany) and got his Physics Ph.D in 1992. He devotes to industrial laser development and applications for more than 25 years and worked at Rofin-Sinar Laser Inc. for 6 years and at Coherent Inc. for another 3 years. He was the co-founder of Bavarian Photonics GmbH. In June 2008, Dr. Lue joined Han's Laser Technology Industry Group as Executive Vice President & CTO. The DracoTM-series lasers with more than 13000 sold units are widely used in micro-machining systems. He invents 6 international patents and publishes more than 50 technical articles.
Randy Heyler is President & CEO of Ondax, Inc., the leading manufacturer of high-performance Volume Holographic Grating (VHG) filters, wavelength-stabilized laser sources, and THz-Raman® Spectroscopy Systems. He brings over 30 years of leadership experience in the photonics industry, including Newport Corporation where his responsibilities included general management, technology planning, strategic and product marketing, OEM business development, branding/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, and also spent 10 years with Spectra-Physics. Randy holds both a BSME and an MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University.
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 Sr Director Emerging Sectors at GSI.
Simi George
Sofia Moreno
Zaber Technologies, Canada
Sujatha Ramanujan
Luminate, USA
Simi George is a physicist with a background in laser plasmas, optics, optical materials design and manufacturing. Currently, she is a Senior Leader of Enterprise Data at AXA-XL, the world leader in large P&C commercial lines and specialty risks. Previously, she was a senior scientist and the laser materials program manager for the SCHOTT Advanced Optics division, North America. 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, UCF, Florida and an Executive MBA from MIT Sloan.
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.
Sujatha Ramanujan is serial entrepreneur and seasoned executive with 25 years of experience in Clinical Devices and in Consumer Electronics. Sujatha has started, built and grown three startup businesses. Sujatha has held scientific, technical leadership, and laboratory head positions in Chrysler Corporation, GE, Kodak, Carestream, and Intrinsiq Materials. She holds 28 issued US patents. As a corporate investor for Kodak, then later working with regional investment councils she provides guidance to start-ups, and M&A strategies. Dr. Ramanujan holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is a Board Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame. Sujatha is currently Managing Director at Luminate.
Ryszard Romaniuk
Warsaw Univ of Technology, Poland
Uri Abrams
Femtoblanc, USA
Walter Burgess
Power Technology, USA
Ryszard is a profesor at WUT. His 40 years of experience in photonics include R&D, glass, laser and optical fiber industry consulting, governmental positions and postgraduate teaching. His research started with optical fibers for sensors, through photonic sensing networks and finally led him to large research experiments infrastructure desing, manufacturing and maintenance in astronomy and high energy physics. The latter involvements include participation in Higgs Boson discovery team, construction of first X-ray FELs in Europe, observation of optical counterparts accompanying GRB effects, and recently contribution to construction of some of the largest world tokamaks, including ITER.
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.
Walter Burgess, VP of Sales & Engineering at Power Technology, Inc., is a Central Arkansas native with over 18 years of experience in the laser and photonics industry. Walter’s managerial responsibilities include technical direction, product design, production commercialization, overseeing team performance, developing and managing relationships with key customers, managing the sales process from implementation through closing, and P&L responsibility. Industry accomplishments include active roles with two magazine editorial boards. Walter helped Power Technology win the 2008 Arkansas Business of the Year Award as well as the 2010 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade.
Ying Xu
Cepton Technologies, USA
Zane Arp
FDA-Devices & Radiological Health, USA
Ying Xu is Principle Optical Engineer at Cepton Technologies, a 3D sensing solutions provider shipping next generation LiDAR products for the automotive, industrial and mapping markets. Previously, she was Director of Hardware Engineering at EyeQue, a company on a global mission to elevate eye care and eye health, by providing affordable, accurate and personal vision screening tests directly into consumers’ hands. Her specialties include smartphone based near-eye optical device, free-space optical communication, ultrafast laser systems, Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy, nonlinear optics. She received her Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Rochester.
Zane Arp is Director of the Division of Biomedical Physics, Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA. His division is a research and development organization within the FDA that focuses on advancing regulatory sciences. His division regularly produces over 100 publications a year and are key experts in the development of multiple standards that help address critical needs in getting new medical devices on the market to patients in need. He has a PhD in physical chemistry from Texas A&M University and 17 years of industrial experience. Previously, Zane was the US Lead for Imaging Technologies at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where he was co-founder and co-director of the Center for Optical Molecular Imaging, a joint venture between GSK and the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. 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.
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