Prism Awards
Presented By
The 2020 Prism Award Judges
Alan Kersey
CytoVeris, USA
Simi George
Randy Heyler
Coherent, USA
Alan Kersey is President and CEO of CytoVeris, a start-up focused on the development of a Raman Spectroscopy based system for intraoperative real time detection of cancer. He has been involved in optical fiber sensing, optical instrumentation and biotech tools development and systems commercialization through start-ups in Connecticut for over 20 years. Alan was the founding CTO with CiDRA, CEO at CyVera Corp, which focused on the development of an innovative liquid assay for genomic and proteomic analysis. And following the acquisition of CyVera by Illumina in 2005, Alan served as VP and GM with Illumina for their UK group. Alan serves as Chariman of Readdock and on technology advisor boards of several other start-ups. He is a partner with Cycle Ventures, a Connecticut-based venture capital group. He holds over 120 US patents. He has a BS in Physics from the University of Warwick, and a Ph.D. in Optical Spectroscopy and Medical Physics from the University of Leeds, both in the UK.
Simi George is Senior COE Leader (VP), Business Solutions Analyst Center of Excellence 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 Laser and Advanced Optics division, North America. Simi is a physicist with a background in laser plasmas, optics, optical materials design and manufacturing. 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, The College of Optics and Photonics, UCF, Florida and an Executive MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.
Randy Heyler is Dir. and Site GM at Coherent Monrovia (formally Ondax). He was previously President and CEO of Ondax, which was acquired by Coherent in 2018. Coherent Monrovia, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of Volume Holographic Grating filters (VHGs), wavelength stabilized diode lasers and high-performance THz-Raman Spectroscopy systems for the industrial, defense, scientific and life science markets. 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, and branding/product positioning. 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.
Christopher Rowan
Arscientia, USA
Rosalie Clemens
GS1, Sr Dir. Emerging Sectors, USA
Jason McClure
Princeton Instruments, USA
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. 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. He is a Strategic Advisor to NewCap Partners, an MIT Enterprise Forum Co-Programing Chair, and mentor at UCSD’s NSF I-corps program. He is currently a Cove Fund partner. Chris earned a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut and was awarded the Hurley Calculus Award.
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.
Jason McClure is Chief Technology Officer at Princeton Instruments, a business unit of Teledyne Digital Imaging, leading their product development efforts. Previously he was 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.
Marc D. Himel
MKS Instruments, USA
Joel Bagwell
Edmund Optics, USA
Gloria Hoefler
Infinera, USA
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.
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, and novel product development. He holds responsibilities over multiple department budgets, capital expenditures for new programs, M&A activity, organizational development, IP strategy and technical transfer between global facilities. 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.
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).
Stuart Nixdorff
Kopin, USA
Linda Smith
Ceres Technology Advisors, USA
Markus Arzberger
OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, USA
Stuart Nixdorff is currently the SVP of Sales and Marketing of Kopin Corporation, a leading developer of innovative wearable technologies. Throughout his career, he has founded or co-founded four companies, launched over 30 innovative products, generated over $200M in “first generation” revenue, raised over $100M in Venture/Angel funding and secured over $75M in non-dilutive strategic partner funding that contributed to one IPO, one merger and two acquisitions. Stuart started his career launching many of the world’s first CMOS, NearIR and FarIR Imagers into commercial and consumer markets. Prior to Kopin, Stuart was SVP and GM of Wearables for AAC Technologies, the world’s largest mobile phone acoustic component company. His role with AAC Technologies was by way of their acquisition of his company, ID8-Mobile where he served as CEO and Founder developing innovative wireless wearable consumer products for Apple and AT&T.
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 senior marketing and sales management positions at market leaders, Thermo Electron/Newport/Spectra Physics, and QIOPTIQ/Excelitas. She also held executive marketing positions at emerging, venture capital funded companies commercializing silicon based integrated optics and MEMS technologies. 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.
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
Nishant Mohan
Wasatch Photonics, USA
Aaron Weinroth
Tornado Spectral Systems, Canada
Sujatha Ramanujan
Luminate, USA
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. His strengths are in business development and marketing for medical devices (OCT, intravascular, ophthalmic products). 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.
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.
Sujatha Ramanujan is Managing Director at Luminate, an accelerator program that enables startups with investment, mentors, and access to the Rochester, New York optics community. She is an experienced executive and serial entrepreneur 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.
Zane Arp
FDA-Devices & Radiological Health, USA
Walter Burgess
Power Technology, USA
Uri Abrams
Femtoblanc, USA
Zane Arp is Dir. 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 has key experts in the development of standards that help get 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. 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.
Walter Burgess is VP of Sales & Engineering at Power Technology and has over 22 years of experience in the laser and photonics industry. He provides technology leadership, project management, and business leadership to a great team of people who manufacture lasers for cinema display, analytics, scientific, defense, and semiconductor applications. 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. Power Technology won an Arkansas Business of the Year Award and Governor’s Award for Excellence in Global Trade. He is also an entrepreneurial mentor through the Arkansas Venture Center and the NSF I-Corps program.
Uri Abrams is CEO and Founder of Femtoblanc, Inc. He is a senior executive, with over 25 years of success in achieving revenue, profit and business growth objectives within start-up, turnaround and rapid-change environments in the areas of semiconductor, fiber optic communications and other industrial laser system manufacturing applications. Uri has extensive experience in venture backed private companies, M&A's and spin offs. Previously, he was at PD-LD and spearheaded the development of its 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, M & A’s, technology planning, strategic and product marketing, OEM business development, product branding, IP Licensing and technical association leadership. Uri holds a BSME, MSME and an MS in Operations-Financial Management from Drexel University.
Uwe Ortmann
PicoQuant, Germany
Michelle Stock
Consultant, USA
Ryszard Romaniuk
Warsaw Univ of Technology, Poland
Uwe Ortmann currently works as the Head of Sales and Marketing at PicoQuant GmbH in Berlin, Germany. He conducted his studies in Physics at the University in Kiel, Germany, and finished his thesis in 1993. He worked as product manager at BiosQuant GmbH, Berlin, Germany until 1996 and as a development engineer at Edinburgh Instruments, Edinburgh, UK until 1998. Since 2006, he is head of system development at PicoQuant GmbH and focusses on sales and marketing. Throughout his career, Uwe has focused on laser spectroscopy especially time-resolved studies, spectrometer design and finally laser scanning microscopy and single molecule detection. Uwe Ortmann is also a senior member of SPIE.
Michelle Stock is a Business Development & Marketing Specialist with extensive experience commercializing high-tech optical and photonics products. She is the co-founded Arbor Photonics, a venture capital-backed, University of Michigan spin-out that was sold to nLight. Currently Michells is working with companies, offering services in business development, marketing and sales and product management for small and start-up photonics companies, specializing in laser-based and other leading-edge technologies, typically engaged by CEO or VP-level Management; markets addressed include industrial, scientific, biotech and medical. She is also an elected Board Member of LIA.
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.
Ferechteh Hosseini Teherani
Nanovation, France
Andreas Popp
TRUMPF, Germany
Mark A. Tolbert
TOPTICA Photonics, USA and Germany
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.
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.
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. His specialties are in strategic business development with international expertise for emerging technologies. 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.
David Rogers
Nanovation, France
Dave Rogers is a PhD physicist who migrated from pure academia (Glasgow, St Andrews and Carnegie Mellon Universities) into industrial R & D (Philips and NTT). Along the way he picked up an MBA and moved into the world of high tech start-ups (Wintici, Novamat, Oxtronics and Nanovation). His early career was involved with magnetic materials for data storage from which he moved into oxide materials for optoelectronic applications. He has been a conference chair on this topic at Photonics West for the past 14 years. Dave is a frequent invited speaker at international conferences and is currently a director of Nanovation, as well as being an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology of Sydney.
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