2017 OIDA Executive Forum Speaker Profiles


Neal Bergano, Vice President R&D, and Chief Technology Officer, TE  Subcom

Neal S. Bergano is the Chief Technology Officer and VP of Research and Development at TE Subsea Communications LLC, Eatontown, NJ (TE SubCom).  Neal received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York, New York, and the M.S. degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 1981 and 1983.    In 1981, he joined the technical staff of Bell Labs’ undersea systems division.  In 1992, he was named a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff of AT&T Bell Labs, where he became an AT&T Technology Consultant in 1996 and AT&T Technology Leader in 1997.  From 1998 to 2014 he was the Managing Director of the System Research and Network Development at TE SubCom.  He holds 31 U.S. patents in the area of optical fiber transmission systems.  His main research has been devoted to the understanding of how to improve the performance and transmission capacity of long-haul optical fiber systems, including the use of wavelength division multiplexing in optical amplifier based systems.

Mr. Bergano is a Fellow of the IEEE, the OSA, AT&T, and TE Connectivity.  He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.  He served on the Board of Directors for the OSA from 2009 to 2011, and served on the Board of Governors for the IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society from 1999 to 2001.  He is a long-time volunteer and supporter of the OFC meeting, which includes General Chair and Technical Chair in 1999 and 1997, Chair of the steering committee from 2000 to 2002, and is currently the Chair of OFC’s long-range planning committee.  He is the recipient of the 2002 John Tyndall Award, for outstanding technical contributions to and technical leadership in the advancement of global undersea fiber-optic communication systems.


Adam Carter, Chief Commercial Officer, Oclaro, Inc.

Dr. Carter has served as Oclaro’s Chief Commercial Officer since July 2014. Prior to joining Oclaro, he served as the Senior Director and General Manager of the Transceiver Module Group at Cisco from February 2008 to July 2014, where he was instrumental in the acquisition of Lightwire, a Silicon Photonics start-up. He also served as Cisco’s Marketing Director from February 2007 to February 2008. From September 1994 to February 2007, Dr. Carter held various strategic marketing and business development roles at Avago Technologies, Agilent Technologies and Hewlett Packard. In addition, Dr. Carter was a Process and Device Engineer at British Telecom & Dupont from November 1989 to September 1994. Dr. Carter holds a B.Sc. (Honors) in Applied Physics from Portsmouth University and received a PhD from the University of Wales, Cardiff, for his research on plasma etching of III-V semiconductor materials.


David Eckard, CTO for the Fixed Networks Division, Nokia


David Eckard joined Alcatel in 1998 and is currently the CTO for the Fixed Networks Division of Nokia overseeing the technology development for products relating to the xDSL, cable and optical access markets.  David received his BS degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and his MS degree in Computer Networking from North Carolina State University. 
David initially began his career at Nokia as an ASIC designer developing the industry’s first commercial ASICs for the passive optical networking market enabling Nokia to become a market leader in optical access.  Later as the Director of Systems Engineering he continued to help evolve and shape the access products for Nokia. Under David’s technical leadership as CTO, Nokia is disrupting the global cable market with a pioneering virtualized access platform, enriching their existing product portfolio with innovations for the home and pushing the envelope of speed with next generation access technologies.
He is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, holds several patents in optical access and has represented Nokia at ITU and FSAN standardization forums for next generation optical access networks.


Mattias Fridstrom, Vice President and Chief Evangelist, Telia Carrier


With over 20 years in the telecommunications industry, Mattias Fridström can be considered a veteran – but his enthusiasm hasn’t faded.  Mattias combines expert knowledge with anecdotes from behind the scenes and deep insight into the networked economy: What are the challenges of tomorrow for network providers? How can we meet ever-increasing traffic demand and customer quality expectations within the same cost frame?

Mattias holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wollongong, Australia. Since joining Telia in 1996, he has worked in a number of senior roles within Telia Carrier and most recently as CTO. Since July 2016 he is Telia Carriers Chief Evangelist.


Philip Gadd, Vice President and General Manager, Silicon Photonics Product Division, I​ntel

Philip Gadd is Vice President and General Manager for Intel’s Silicon Photonics Product Division. Prior to joining Intel, Philip  was Vice President and General Manager of Foxconn Interconnect Technology when Foxconn acquired Avago Technologies’ Optical Module Division in 2015. Before the acquisition, he served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Fiber Optics Products Division where he managed the overall development, production, marketing and sales of Avago’s fiber optic products used in high-speed wired datacom and telecom applications. He also held various senior marketing management roles at Avago, Quellan LLC, and Hewlett Packard/Agilent. He has over 20 years of radio frequency and high-speed interconnect product marketing and engineering experience, and held technical positions at Avantek and Wessex Electronics.

Philip holds a B.Sc. in Communications Engineering from Plymouth Polytechnic and an MBA from Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom.


Jeffrey Gao, President, Transmission Network Product Line, Fixed Network Product Line, Huawei

Since January 2015, Mr. Gao has been the president of the Transmission Network Product Line.  From February 2011 to 2014, he was the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Huawei's Western Europe Region. From 2008 to 2011, he was the Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for Huawei's Fixed Network Business Unit. Jeffrey Gao has led the innovation cooperation project between VDF and Huawei since 2008, with many successful cases including BBNS, IP MW, and PTN projects. From 2003 to 2008, Mr. Gao was the head of Huawei Datacom PLM. After joining Huawei Technologies in 1997, Mr. Gao worked in the Optical Transport area until 2003. 

Mr. Gao was also one of the winners of the National Science and Technology Achievement Award of China in 2001 and 2002 respectively.




Jiajin GaoDeputy General Manager, China Mobile Technology

Jiajin Gao has been with telecom industry for 20 years and held various leadership positions spanning R&D, Planning, Engineering, Marketing and Operations. He is currently the Deputy General Manager of China Mobile Technology (USA), the Silicon Valley Research Center for China Mobile, where he leads the emerging network technologies including SDN/NFV projects.


Nestor Garrafa, Capacity Planning Senior Consultant, Telxius

Nestor Garrafa is a Capacity Planning Senior Consultant of Telxius. He is in charge of the technological decision for the Submarine and terrestrial network of the Company. Nestor joined Telefonica Group in 2000 and has been responsible for the early adoption of coherent technology in legacy submarine cables, allowing to increment the final capacity of the systems.


Bill Gartner, CVP/GM Optical Systems & Optics Group, Cisco Systems, Inc.

Bill Gartner is Vice President/GM of Cisco's Optical Systems & Optics Group.  In this role, Bill has P&L responsibility for these businesses and is responsible for strategic direction, product development, product positioning and new product introduction. 

Prior to joining Cisco, Bill was Chief Operating Officer of Meriton Networks (acquired by Xtera Networks).   Prior to Meriton, Bill served as President and COO of Mahi Networks and COO of Photuris.

Before joining Photuris, he was Vice President and General Manager of Lucent's Optical Networking Systems business, responsible for Metro, Access, and Long Haul DWDM Products.  His earlier tenure in the industry included roles at AT&T Bell Labs and Paradyne.  Bill has also served on the boards of OptronX (acquired by JDSU) and CyOptics.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, and an Executive Master’s in Technology Management from University of Pennsylvania/Wharton.   He is a University of Pennsylvania Moore Fellow, and holds 3 patents.


Robert Hadaway, Principal, Product Line Management, Ciena Submarine Optical Networks, Ciena

Robert (Bob) Hadaway has broad technical, manufacturing and business experience in Telecommunications, Optoelectronic and Microelectronic industries, resulting from his tenures at Bell-Northern Research, Nortel, Bookham, and most recently Ciena.  A varied and rewarding career has provided opportunity for involvement and leadership in all aspects of research, product development, product delivery, customer partnering, manufacturing and supply management.  Significant international exposure has broadened his work experience, including an expatriate assignment in the United Kingdom, and coincident management responsibility for separate business units in Canada and England.  He has also been responsible for off-shore supply and manufacturing in India and China.  Most recently, as leader global Product Management & R&D, he initiated the original efforts and remains focused on Submarine Optical Systems solutions, taking Ciena to a global leadership position in submarine cable capacity upgrades.  Bob has numerous technical publications, holds a number of patents, has participated as an invited speaker at international conferences and workshops, and participates in Industry, Government and Academic Advisory Boards.


Lee Hicks, Vice President – Network Planning, Verizon Communications 

Lee Hicks is Vice President- Network Planning, and is responsible for developing core network element, platform technology and feature roadmaps that best meet Verizon’s long-term infrastructure requirements.

Prior to his current position, as vice president- Global Network Engineering, Lee was responsible for the engineering and implementation of wireline networks that support consumer, enterprise, and wholesale video, data, and voice services.  He was also responsible for video operations that support broadcast and on-demand content acquisition, transformation, grooming, delivery, and ad-insertion.
Mr. Hicks also served as Vice President - Video Network Services and led the team responsible for the engineering of Verizon’s FiOS video network, including broadcast and interactive video services, video content operations, and in-home network engineering.

Previous to this experience, Lee was Vice President - Network Engineering & Planning for Verizon’s Coast to Coast area and led the team that planned, designed and provisioned Verizon’s wireline infrastructure across 5 regions encompassing over 19M access lines in 18 states.  He was also executive director - FTTP Network Creation, where his responsibility was to guide the formation of the FTTP network and ensure that the capabilities were in place for provisioning of FiOS services.

Wei-ping Huang, Founder and Chairman, Hisense Broadband Multimedia Technologies (Qingdao) Co.

Dr. Huang co-founded Hisense Braodband Multimedia Technologies Co in 2003 and has been responsible for the strategic vision and business development for the company.  He received his Ph.D degree ifrom the MIT in 1989 and was subsequently a professor at University of Waterloo and later McMaster University, Canada until 2013. 

Parthi Kandappan, Senior Vice President. Head of Architecture, Infinera Corporation

Parthiban Kandappan serves as the Senior Vice President, Head of Architecture, rejoining Infinera in January 2014 and bringing with him nearly 30 years of computing and communications technology and management experience. Between 2011 and 2013, Mr. Kandappan served as the General Manager of the Transport Business Unit of Applied Micro. Prior to joining Applied Micro, Mr. Kandappan served at Infinera for nearly a decade in a variety of technology leadership roles, including Vice President, Advanced Systems Design and Vice President, Systems Engineering. Before joining Infinera in July 2002, Mr. Kandappan held leadership roles including Vice President, Hardware Engineering at Zaffire Inc. (acquired by Centerpoint); Switch Architect and founding member at Berkeley Networks (acquired by Fore Systems), as well as senior engineering roles at 3Com and Digital Equipment Corporation. Mr. Kandappan earned a M.S.E.E. from Virginia Tech, where he also completed part of the Ph.D. program, and a B.E. with Honors from University of Madras, India. He has seven issued patents with others filed.


Cedric Lam, Engineering Director, Google Access

Dr. Cedric F. Lam was a co-founder of Google Fiber.  He is currently Engineering Director at Google Access, responsible for the planning and development of scalable and cost-effective next generation access technologies to provide diverse and abundant bandwidths.  Prior to Google Fiber, he was working on transport and interconnect technologies for Google datacenters.  Before joining Google, Dr. Lam was Chief System Architect at Opvista which made ultra-high density WDM transport systems.  Prior to Opvista, Dr. Lam was Senior Technical Staff Member at AT&T Labs, Broadband Access Research Department.  Dr. Lam is a Fellow of OSA.   He has a PhD from UCLA and B. Eng. (First Class Honors) from University of Hong Kong, both in Electrical Engineering.

Kent McCammon, Lead Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Access Architecture

Kent McCammon is a Lead Member of Technical Staff in Access Architectures Department of AT&T. Kent currently works on analytics and prototyping for wireless and FTTP technologies in the San Ramon, CA AT&T Lab. His early focus was optical design, transmission, and testing of PON systems for the first company deployment of FTTP in San Francisco in 2002.  Mr. McCammon has been active in the ITU-T and FSAN Groups to specify PON-based systems and VDSL-based access technologies. Kent has worked on Imaging cameras, WDM networks, and specialized fiber-optic links for the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Lab.  Mr. McCammon received his undergraduate and graduate Electronic Engineering degrees at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo.


Hans-Juergen SchmidtkeHans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering, Facebook
Hans-Juergen Schmidtke is Director of Engineering in Facebook's Infrastructure Foundation team based in Menlo Park, CA. In this role he is part of a team that is Engineering Facebook's Network Infrastructure.  In previous roles at Juniper Networks, Hans-Juergen Schmidtke was VP of Product Management in the CTO office, VP of Advanced Technologies, and Chief Architect for Converged Core. In these roles he was responsible for the architecture of SDN, data center, access, core, edge solution, and WLAN.
Before joining Juniper he was Head of the Fixed Network Operator Business in North America for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) that is now part of Nokia. Over the years at NSN and Siemens Communications, he has held positions in product management and general management in both Germany and the US. He worked on various aspects of optical physics and communications technology from advanced research, to product development, to real-world large-scale deployments.
He studied physics at the University of Dusseldorf and at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, and received his PhD from the University of Wurzburg.

Katharine Schmidtke, Sourcing Manager, Optical Technology Strategy, Facebook


Katharine is responsible for Optical Technology Strategy at Facebook. She has a Ph.D. In non-linear optics from Southampton University in the UK and completed post doctoral research at Stanford University. She has more than 20-years of experience in the Opto-Electronics industry, including positions at Finisar, JDSU and New Focus.


Raj Shanmugaraj, President & CEO, Acacia Communications

Raj Shanmugaraj has more than 25 years of experience in telecom and communications. Prior to joining Acacia, Raj was the vice president of business development in the optical networking division of Alcatel-Lucent USA. He also founded and served as the chief executive officer of Astral Point Communications, and held various senior executive level positions at PictureTel, Multilink and Motorola. Mr. Shanmugaraj holds an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa and a B.E. in electronics and communications from the National Institute of Technology.



Todd Swanson, Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing, Research and Development, Finisar Corporation


Todd Swanson joined Finisar in 2002. Throughout his career at Finisar, Mr. Swanson has held a variety of progressive roles, including Product Line Manager, Director of Marketing and Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to Finisar, he served in various R&D, Manufacturing, Marketing and Sales related roles for Princeton Lightwave, Aegis Semiconductor and Hewlett Packard's OptoElectronics Division from 1995 to 2002. Mr. Swanson holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from MIT.

Preetinder Virk, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networks, MACOM


Preetinder Virk has served as MACOM’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Networks, since January 2017. He previously served as MACOM’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Carrier Networks, from October 2014 to January 2017, and prior to that had served as MACOM’s Senior Vice President, Strategy, since December 2013. From May 2012 to December 2013, Mr. Virk served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Communications Processing, for Mindspeed Technologies, Inc. (“Mindspeed”). From April 2009 to February 2012, Mr. Virk served as Director, Global Network Segment Marketing, for Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., a provider of embedded processing solutions for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. From October 2007 to April 2009, Mr. Virk served as Mindspeed’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise and Consumer Premise. Mr. Virk earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He also is a graduate of Thapar Institute of Engineering in India.


Vijay Vursirikala, Network Architect, Google


Vijay Vusirikala currently manages Optical Network Architecture and Engineering at Google, and is focused on solutions for scaling and optimizing Google's network covering client optics, metro optical, long haul and submarine links. Prior to Google, Vijay was at Infinera, Motorola and Sycamore Networks in senior marketing, business development and architecture roles working on optical networks and systems ranging from backbone core to access networks. Vijay has published extensively, spoken at numerous industry events, and holds several patents in optical devices and systems. He obtained a Ph.D from the University of Maryland, College Park and a BSEE from IIT, Madras in India.

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OIDA Executive Forum provides attendees with an exclusive opportunity to hear insider perspectives in an uncensored environment, while participating in high-level networking.

Join Executives from these Innovative Companies:
  • Acacia Communications
  • AT&T Access Architecture
  • China Mobile Technology
  • Ciena
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Facebook
  • Finisar Corporation
  • Google
  • Hisense
  • Huawei
  • Infinera
  • Intel
  • Nokia
  • Oclaro, Inc. 
  • TE Subcom
  • Telia Carrier
  • Telxius
  • Verizon Communications