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Speaker Profiles

Brett Attaway, EPDA Executive, SUNY Polytechnic Inst., USA

Brett Attaway is Director of Electronic-Photonic Design Automation (EPDA) for the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Integrated Photonics. Brett focuses on EDA/PDA vendors and industry photonics design teams to enable much more integrated electronic-photonic design tools and methodologies that are needed for scalable photonics growth. Brett’s 29 year career has been almost entirely focused on the aerospace and defense microelectronics industry where he has worked half of this from an EDA company (Synopsys) and the other half with DoD contractors (Lockheed Martin and ITT/Exelis/Harris). Brett’s responsibilities have included managing innovation and enabling new products through the creation of novel digital, analog and RF mixed-signal ASICs and SoCs, IC design center management, signal processing for targeting/imaging/radar/communications, understanding customer needs, and strategic business growth. He holds a BSEE from the University of Central Florida at Orlando, Florida.

Robert BlumRobert Blum, Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Development, Intel, USA
Robert Blum is Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Intel’s Silicon Photonics Product Division. Prior to joining Intel, Robert was Director of Strategic Marketing at Oclaro Inc., and held various Director level roles for Oclaro’s DWDM and consumer laser portfolio. Before joining Oclaro, Robert was Product Line Manager for optical transmission components at JDS Uniphase Corporation and held various engineering and marketing management roles at Gemfire Corporation, all in California. Robert worked at Deutsche Telekom’s research labs in Germany as part of his master’s thesis at TU Darmstadt and holds a doctorate degree in Physics from TUHH in Hamburg. He has also studied and done research at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland, and at Stanford University, California.

John Bowers, Deputy CEO, UC Santa Barbara, USA

John Bowers is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of AIM Photonics. John focuses on developing the West Coast portion of AIM and on developing integrated lasers onto the platform. He is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Materials and Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCSB and holds the Fred Kavli Chair in Nanotechnology. He is the Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency. He is a cofounder of Aurrion, Aerius Photonics and Calient Networks. Dr. Bowers is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the IEEE, OSA and the American Physical Society, and a recipient of the IEEE Photonics Award, OSA Tyndall Award, the OSA Holonyak Prize, and the IEEE LEOS William Streifer Award.

Douglass Coolbaugh, COO, SUNY Polytechnic Inst., USA

Douglas Coolbaugh is the Chief Operations Officer of AIM Photonics. He is responsible for the efficient operations of AIM Photonics 300mm integrated silicon photonics platform. He is also SUNY Poly Vice President of emerging technologies (derivatives) group, which focusses on current and next generation silicon photonics and 3D integration. His organization was fundamental in obtaining the AIM IMI award. Prior to this, Doug spent 30 years at IBM corporation in packaging/assembly development as a material scientist and emerging technologies such as RFCMOS/passive technology, and logic development. He was elected a master Inventor by IBM Corporation in 2006 and has approximately 130+ inventions.

Francisco Hernández Guillén, Research Engineer, Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany

Francisco Hernández has been with the sensor and microsystems research group from Robert Bosch GmbH for over 8 years now, helping to define new sensing products for automotive and consumer applications. Over this time emerging technologies have been applied to improve and expand the sensing product portfolio of Bosch. This work can be seen in patents ranging from the field of gas exhaust sensors for the reduction of emission and improved safety in automobiles to IR-based sensors for the new applications of the Internet of Things.  

Mike HaneyMike Haney, Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), USA
Dr. Haney serves as a Program Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).  He is on assignment from the University of Delaware, where he is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Previous positions include Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and co-founder of Applied Photonics, Inc.  He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology, M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana, and B.S. in Physics from University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  Dr. Haney is a Fellow of The Optical Society.

Randolph Kirchain, Principal Research Scientist, Materials Systems Laboratory, MIT, USA

Randolph Kirchain is currently a Principal Research Scientist in the Engineering Systems Division of MIT. He was previously an Assistant Professor (2002-2008) and then Associate Professor (2008-2010) of Materials Science and Engineering in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division of MIT. 
Among his several areas of focus, Dr. Kirchain has worked on process-based modeling and, specifically, cost modeling for photonics manufacturing.  He is a founding member of the The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society’s (TMS’s) committee for Materials and Society and the ad-hoc committee on Sustainable Materials. He developed analytical tools to evaluate the economic and environmental performance of materials, process and architectural options for products, materials production and materials systems. He has also had frequent interactions with industry on evaluating the economic and sustainability performance of materials technologies and identifying technological and operational strategies to improve that performance.
Dr. Kirchain received an S.B. in Materials Science & Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and his Ph.D., also in Materials Science & Engineering, from MIT.  He did post-doc work at MIT and was a Research Associate.

Thomas Koch, Technical Review Board Chair, Univ. of Arizona, USA

Thomas L. Koch is Chairman of AIM Photonics Technical Review Board (TRB). He is also Dean of the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he is also Professor of Optical Sciences and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his BA in physics in 1977 from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in applied physics in 1982 from the California Institute of Technology studying under Amnon Yariv. Koch joined UA from Lehigh University, where he was Director of the Center for Optical Technologies and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics. Prior to his academic roles, Koch held Vice President positions at SDL, Lucent, and Agere Systems, where he was responsible for Research and Development of materials, device and subsystem technologies supporting optical, optoelectronic, and IC products. In his many years as a researcher and research manager at Bell Laboratories, his work focused on semiconductor lasers, photonic integrated circuits, and their implementation in optical communications systems. He has 37 issued patents, and has authored more than 350 journal, conference, and book publications, including co-editing the widely-read two-volume book, “Optical Fiber Telecommunications III”, and has delivered more than 70 plenary, invited, tutorial, and short course presentations. Koch has received numerous recognitions for his work in photonic integrated circuits and optoelectronics technologies, including the IEEE’s Eric E. Sumner Award, and the William Streifer and Distinguished Lecturer Awards from IEEE LEOS. Koch is a Fellow of Bell Labs, the OSA, and the IEEE, a life member of SPIE, and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering where served as Chair of the Electronics, Communication and Information Systems Engineering section.

Vladimir Kozlov, Founder and CEO, LightCounting Market Research, USA

Dr. Vladimir Kozlov is the founder and CEO of LightCounting – a market research company offering comprehensive coverage of the optical communications industry supply chain.
Dr. Kozlov has more than 25 years of experience in optoelectronics. He held market analyst, product development and research staff positions at RHK Inc., Lucent Technologies and Princeton University. Dr. Kozlov has several US patents and numerous publications in the area of optoelectronics. He received M. Sc. at Moscow State University in Russia and Ph. D in Physics at Brown University in the United States.

LevinsonFrank Levinson, General Partner, Phoenix Venture Partners, USA

Frank H. Levinson, Ph.D. is General Partner of Phoenix Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital group that focuses on advanced materials and photonics.  He is also founder and managing director of Small World Group a seed level Incubator that operates out of Singapore and the USA. From 1988 through 2008, he was founder and served as CTO and chairman of Finisar Corporation, today the world’s largest optical communications subsystems company. Frank serves on the board of Fabrinet (NYSE:FN) which is a leading contract manufacturer for optical fiber communications.  Frank also serves multiple private company and non-profit boards with focus in clean tech, optical systems and novel materials.  

Michael Liehr, CEO, SUNY Polytechnic Inst., USA

Michael Liehr is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics. Michael focuses on the creation of new AIM business opportunities, and is responsible for the effective and efficient operation of AIM’s programs including SUNY Poly’s strategic 300mm integrated photonic semiconductor and 3D packaging. He is also SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Vice President for Research and Executive Vice President for Technology and Innovation. Prior to this assignment, he led the Global 450mm Consortium through the start-up phase as the General Manager and was an IBM Distinguished Engineer.

Pete Magill, Vice President, System Architecture, Elenion Technologies, USA

Prior to Elenion, Pete was with Silicon Lightwave Services (SLS), a startup acquired by Marlin Equity Partners in 2014 to continue work on silicon photonic integrated circuits for optical communications.

Before SLS, he was Assistant Vice President of Communications Technology Research at AT&T Labs, leading five research departments: Wireless Network Technologies, Wireless Communication Technologies, Optical Systems, Network Evolution and Optimization, and Mathematical Methods and Algorithms. Prior to joining AT&T Labs, Pete was Department Head for Access Research in Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. He managed the R&D of passive optical network (PON) systems and cable modem headend equipment. Before Lucent, Pete was MTS in AT&T Bell Labs at the Crawford Hill Lab working on the characterization of advanced lasers, on optical access networks and developing protocols for packet communication over access networks.

He earned a PhD. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published over 80 papers on optical communications and networks, holds over 40 patents and has been a guest lecturer all over the world.

Tom Marrapode, Director of Advanced Interconnect Technology, Molex, USA
Tom Marrapode is Director of Advanced Interconnect Technology Development for Molex's Optical Solutions Group, where he has worked the past 20 years.  He has over 30 years’ experience in the field of fiber optics including sales, marketing, design and manufacturing of optical interconnects and optical backplane technology. Prior to joining Molex, Tom held positions with Anixter, Amphenol Fiber Optics and Rockwell Telecommunications. He is co-inventor on 22 Patents, an invited speaker at IEEE, OIDA, ICSJ, JIEP conferences and has many technical articles and papers published in the field of fiber optics interconnect technology.

Bert Offrein, Manager, Neuromorphic Devices and Systems, IBM Research - Zurich, Switzerland

Bert Offrein received his Ph.D. degree in nonlinear integrated optics from the University of Twente in 1994. He then joined IBM Research - Zurich and contributed to establishing and commercializing adaptive integrated optical technology for DWDM networks. From 2004 to 2016, Bert Offrein was managing the photonics group, addressing optical interconnects for computing systems. Since 2016, he is leading the neuromorphic devices and systems group, addressing cognitive hardware for accelerating neural network learning. Bert Offrein is a principal research staff member at IBM Research and the co-author of over 150 publications and the co-inventor of more than 35 patents.

Sven Otte, CEO, Sicoya, Germany

Sven Otte is currently CEO of Sicoya. He has a Ph.D. in optical communications from the University of Kiel. He has 20 years’ experience in the Opto-Electronics industry including high level engineering and business management positions at MergeOptics and FCI.

Richard PitwonRichard Pitwon, Photonics Group Leader, Seagate, UK
Richard C. A. Pitwon leads the photonics research and development group at the Seagate Systems UK and has over 15 years experience in the design and development of high speed photonic interconnect technologies for data storage and communication systems including passive and active optical connectors, optical printed circuit boards, optical interconnect interfaces and transceivers. He holds 46 patents in the field of embedded optical interconnect and has authored numerous publications in this area including journal and conference papers, book chapters, white papers, online articles, and international standards. He is a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and serves as secretary of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards group for optical circuit board and is also the permanent UK expert member on IEC standards groups for photonic integrated circuits, optical connectors and optical cable technologies.

Terry L. Smith, Senior Staff Scientist, 3M, USA

Dr. Terry L. Smith is a Senior Staff Scientist in the 3M Company Central Research Laboratory, St. Paul, Minnesota, and formulated the original goals and framework for the AIM Photonics Academy Project..
Dr. Smith joined 3M in 1979, and since that time has been involved in many research and development programs related to optical interconnect, fiber optic components, and integrated optics.  Dr. Smith led 3M’s entry into semiconductor laser diode research with a successful DARPA proposal to develop blue laser diodes based on II-VI semiconductor alloys; this program ultimately led to the demonstration of the world’s first blue-green laser diode.  Dr. Smith also led 3M’s entry into parallel optical link technology via a successful proposal for a NIST-funded 3M-IBM-Lexmark joint program entitled "Jitney: A Low-Cost, High-Performance Optical Bus".  Other programs led by Dr. Smith include micro-resonator sensors for high-sensitivity bio-detection, polarization-independent lithium niobate electro-optic waveguide switches, tunable Add/Drop multiplexers, and fiber-Bragg-grating-based chromatic and polarization-mode dispersion compensators.
In addition to his other activities, Terry has led research collaborations with academic institutions including MIT (Prof. Hermann Haus), Texas A&M (Prof. Henry Taylor), and the University of Minnesota (Prof. Anand Gopinath).  He has also contributed to communications technology roadmaps generated by the OptoElectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA).
Dr. Smith received the B.A. degree from Cornell University, and the M.S.and PhD degrees from the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). He holds approximately 75 U.S. Patents in various optoelectronics-related areas.

Merhdad Ziari, Sr. Director, Product Development, Infinera Corporation, USA

Mehrdad Ziari joined Infinera in 2002 and is currently Sr. Director of Product Development and responsible for product development and engineering of PICs, ASICs and modules.  Prior to joining Infinera, he was a member of the R&D team at SDL Inc. where worked on various laser diode and optical component technologies and led InP R&D activities and development of Raman pump laser products.  He has received his Bachelor of Science with Suma Cum Laude honors, MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1986, 1987 and 1992 respectively from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.  He has published over 100 papers, two book chapters and is named on over 30 patents.

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