We have an engaging and informative program featuring thought leaders in optics and photonics. The Career Accelerator begins at 20:00 EST on Sunday 22 January 2023 and concludes at 12:00 EST on 26 January 2023.  To learn more about the topics and speakers featured each day, please click on the tabs below.

Speakers and timing are subject to change.

14:00 Bus #1

     Departing: Orlando International Airport (MCO) en route to Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

17:00 Bus #2

     Departing: Orlando International Airport (MCO) en route to Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo

20:00-20:15 Welcome Remarks, Longhorn Center

     Speaker: Chad Stark, Executive Director, Optica Foundation

20:15-21:00  Icebreaker

21:00-22:00 Reception, Longhorn Center

08:00-08:45 Breakfast, Longhorn Center

08:45-09:00 Introduction of the Day, Grand Hall

09:00-10:30 Kickoff: Sustainable Networking for Scientists and Engineers

     Speaker: Christina Willis, Senior Analyst, Infleqtion

Sustainability applied to networking is about treating professional support and assistance like a resource and creating more of it than you take. This workshop introduces how to use sustainable networking to create mutually beneficial professional relationships and to set and accomplish career goals. Through individual and group activities, participants will come away with personalized goals and a practical action plan for how to incorporate sustainable networking into their professional lives.

10:30-10:45 Break

10:45-11:45 Leadership Styles and Teams in the Corporate Environment

     Speaker: Sam Rubin, CEO, LightPath Technologies

11:45-12:45 Project Management for Engineering, R&D, Technology Teams

     Speaker: Kenneth Barber, Director, Project Management, Edmund Optics

Discover what it really means to be a Project Manager for Engineering, R&D and Technology Teams. Learn how to apply fundamental project management tools to any project in a practical way. Understand how you can leverage your technical know-how into a career in project management and beyond. Learn about key concepts like the triple constraints with fun examples.

12:45-14:00 Lunch, Longhorn Center

14:00-15:00 Corporate Strategy

     Speaker: Loudon Blair, Corporate Strategy Officer, Ciena

What is corporate strategy and why is it important? In this session we will discuss the value of corporate strategy and explore many of the functions and best practices that encourage successful business.

15:00-16:00 The Role of Marketing and Sales

     Speaker: Anjul Loiacono, Vice President, Quantum Signal Processing, Infleqtion

Marketing plays a critical role in the success of businesses. In high-tech industries, such as ours, marketing varies widely across companies and often roles in marketing are opaque to job seekers. In this session I hope to demystify what is marketing, how it relates to sales and R&D, and how the role of marketing fits within high-tech companies’ objectives. Upon the conclusion of this session, I hope you will have a better understanding of the marketing function in the high-tech industry, which will subsequently help you determine your future career direction.

16:00-18:00 The Amazing Race

     Group activity: Team building scavenger hunt

18:00-19:00 Dinner, Longhorn Center

19:00-20:00 From Physicist to CEO

     Speaker: Gregory Quarles, CEO, Applied Energetics Inc.

The goal of my presentation will be to give you a glimpse of my 30 plus years in industrial positions and some of the skills and opportunities that are needed for success in pursuing your dreams. These topics will include willingness and skill at pivoting in your research, coping with hearing no, learning how to say no, the necessity of setting boundaries, developing the ability to hone soft skills such as your elevator pitch, and expanding your education to learn critical areas, including finance and marketing. It has been a wonderful and exciting journey for me, and I look forward to sharing how you too can become a leader in industry with your optics and photonics degrees. 

20:00-20:30 Daily Wrap Up


08:00-08:45 Breakfast, Longhorn Center

08:45-09:00 Introduction of the Day, Grand Hall

09:00-10:00 Identifying Emerging Technology Trends

     Speaker: Peter Wigley, Technology Strategy Manager, Corning Optical Communications

Identifying emerging technology trends and successfully mapping those trends into research, development and product plans is a complex process, but critical to the ongoing success of a technology company. This is especially true for a company with diverse markets and established keystone technologies. This talk introduces some useful tips on where to look, how to evaluate trends, and how to persuade others within an organization to act, while avoiding some common pitfalls.

10:00-11:00 The Role of a Product Line Manager

     Speaker: Keeley Hurley, Product Line Manager, Coherent

The product manager finds themself seated at the heart of where business strategy, cutting edge technology, and customer needs overlap. Through a perpetual cycle of listening, learning, and communicating, the product manager unites customer requirements and production capabilities in the present while helping to define and shape the roadmap for future innovations.

11:00-11:30 Break

11:30-12:30 The Language of Business: Managerial Reporting and Accounting for Decision Making (Part 1)

     Speaker: George Bayz, Vice President and General Manager, Synopsys (retired)

The art of accounting. We will discuss budgeting, explore the art of accounting, visit the stock market and dive into why this is something all scientists in industry should understand.  

12:30-14:00 Lunch, Longhorn Center

14:00-15:00 The Language of Business: Managerial Reporting and Accounting for Decision Making (Part 2)

     Speaker: George Bayz, Vice President and General Manager, Synopsys (retired)

More fun with accounting.

15:00-15:30 Break

15:30-16:45 Patents and Intellectual Property 101

     Speaker: Thomas A. Franklin, Shareholder, Co-Chair Electrical & Computer Technologies Practice Group, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C.

Technology companies and institutions at all stages face a variety of intellectual property issues.  Addressing these issues well can significantly increase value for the intellectual property owner, while missteps can have the opposite result.  We will introduce important forms of intellectual property, including patents, trade secrets, and trademarks, and discuss the role each plays in an intellectual property portfolio.

16:45-17:00 Daily Wrap-Up

17:00-18:00 Break

18:00-19:00 Dinner, Longhorn Center

19:00-20:00 Putting Theory into Practice: The Financial Scavenger Hunt

After learning about all things around financials, now you get to put your skills to the test. Small groups will review a public company’s financial statement and report out about your organization. Can you find everything in time?


08:00-08:45 Breakfast, Longhorn Center

08:45-9:00 Introduction of the Day, Grand Hall

09:00-10:00 Negotiation Skills

     Speaker: Eve Griliches, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Cisco

The How, When and Why of Negotiation. You’ll learn what to negotiate when you get a job offer, how to negotiate when in a job, and knowing when to leave a job.

10:00-11:00 From Resume Review to Final Offer: Inside HR and the Hiring Process

     Speaker: Alejandro Mendoza, Director of Human Resources, Optimax

The hiring process – from submitting your resume to the offer – including tips on the do's and don’ts during an interview. I will also explore the importance of your role exploring Job Quality topics during the interview process and how HR utilizes this in driving corporate culture as a business partner.

11:00-11:30 Break

11:30- 12:30 Innovation and Product Development

     Speakers: Matthew Weed, Senior Director of Product Management, Luminar

Understanding "value proposition" may seem simple but continual focus on this empathetic idea is essential to successful research and products alike. From fundamental research through customer deployment, join in this exploration of how to identify pain points, enablers, and disruptors as well as how to position each to generate market pull.

12:30-14:00 Lunch, Longhorn Center

14:00-15:00 The Role of an Optical Scientist/Engineer

     Speakers: Clara Rivero-Baleine, Lockheed Martin Fellow, Lockheed Martin Corporation

Projects and business contributions of an optical engineer. I will focus on how to find an optical engineer job, your career path, working in a team, and the potential for growth. I will also share my key takeaways of working as an engineer at Lockheed Martin.

15:00-15:30 Break

15:30-16:30 Wish I'd Known that Sooner

     Speaker: A. Boh Ruffin, Senior Research Manager, Corning Incorporated

Hindsight is a gift that is usually presented after failure and/or calamity.  As a consequence of its usual embarrassing circumstances, this gift is selfishly hoarded. This presentation offers a candidate overview of hard-earned intuitions gleaned by the author and his (anonymous) colleagues.  The desired outcome is to impart non-obvious insights to an audience of students and upstarts interested in increasing their capacity for risk-taking.

16:45-17:00 Daily Wrap-Up

17:00-18:00 Break

18:00-19:00 Dinner, Saddleback Pavilion

19:00-20:20 S'mores with Luminar CTO, East Corral

     Speaker: Jason Eichenholz, Chief Technology Officer, Luminar


08:00-08:45 Breakfast, Longhorn Center

08:45-09:00 Introduction of the Day, Grand Hall

09:00-10:00 State of the Optics and Photonics Market

     Speaker: Jose Pozo, Chief Technology Officer, Optica

Jose Pozo, CTO of Optica, will share his vision for the need for a global photonics industry network. In addition, Pozo will provide a vision of what he expects in the next decade in 3D imaging and sensing, laser-based manufacturing, integrated photonics, medical devices, and quantum technologies; alongside with examples of current photonics trends.

10:00-10:30 Break  (Checkout of rooms if needed)

10:30-11:30 Leveraging the Key Learnings to Enhance your Career

     Speaker: Alison French, Managing Director, Alto Solutions, LLC, USA

11:30 Adjournment and Lunch, Longhorn Center

12:00 Bus #1

     Departing: Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo en route to Orlando International Airport (MCO)

14:00 Bus #2

     Departing: Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo en route to Orlando International Airport (MCO)