Technical Conference:
13 – 18 May 2018
15 – 17 May 2018

Tech Transfer Biographies

2017 CLEO Technology Transfer Speakers


Magnus Bengtsson headshotMagnus Bengtsson, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Coherent, USA
Magnus Bengtsson is Vice President of Strategic Marketing at Coherent Inc., where he works on company strategy and manages Coherent’s world wide applications labs. An industry veteran with close to 20 years in the Photonics industry, he has held senior positions in sales and marketing at leading photonics companies.

David Dawes, Business Development Executive, Innovation and Partnerships Office, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA 

David Dawes earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the Imperial College London, England. He is also a Project Management Institute certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and author of patents in integrated photonics. Dr. Dawes’ career encompasses over 35 years in the Lasers, Optics and Imaging Systems Industry. His diverse experience includes technology transfer and partnering at LLNL, managing aerospace and defense program and business development for a line of Shortwave IR Imager System products at UTC Aerospace Systems, managing a high purity fused silica product development group at Corning, leading the Photonics and Terahertz product portfolios at Battelle, directing waveguide optical amplifier development at the telecom startup, Symmorphix, overseeing custom and advanced laser system products at Continuum and directing laser crystal and optical component product development, global technical marketing and vertical integration strategies involving microchip laser and other key optical technology licensing at a predecessor to the current Northrop Grumman Synoptics business unit.

Ruth Houbertz, CEO & Managing Director, Multiphoton Optics GmbH, Germany

From 2000-2012, at Fraunhofer ISC in different technical and management positions. Worked at Sandia Nat.’l Labs in Livermore (USA). Solid background in materials development, processing, technologies, analyses, hardware, and software. Invented more than 90 patents, evaluator and referee for national and international ministries, journals, etc. Among the 10 best enterprises for the finals of the Industry Award of the Hannover Exhibition 2017, Finalist in the Prism Award 2015 and 2017, Cowin Award of Entrepreneurship 2014, Green Photonics Award 2013, Fraunhofer Award in 2007 among others. Active member in EPIC, IEEE, VDI, Bayern Photonics, SPIE Senior Member, Session Chair since more than one decade in Optical Interconnects and Emerging Technologies at Photonics West, participation in Industrial and Women in Optics Panels, Women in Optics Calendar, invited and contributed talks at international conferences, workshops, and exhibitions.

Leslie Kimerling, CEO & Co-Founder, Double Helix, USA

As CEO, Ms. Kimerling is responsible for the company’s strategy, finance, business development and day-to-day operations. She leads the company’s go-to-market efforts, including all negotiation and management of licensing and strategic partnerships. She also has primary responsibility for company investment efforts and serves on its board.  Ms. Kimerling brings over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience to Double Helix having founded and served as a senior executive and advisor to multiple startup and growth companies over her career.  Ms. Kimerling has extensive experience in launching companies and bringing product from concept to market having held numerous C-level management roles including CEO, President/COO, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Information Officer. Ms. Kimerling holds an MBA with Honors from the Anderson School at UCLA, an MA in Economics from Stanford University, and a BA with Honors in Economics from The University of Pennsylvania. Most recently she served as board chair for youth enrichment program, Impact-360 in Denver, and is also a founding board member of StreetSquash in New York City.    



Robert MandraManaging Director, RSM Advisors, USA

Mr. Mandra is the Managing Director of RSM Advisors providing advisory services, including merger & acquisition, corporate strategy and business plan development and review to technology companies with emphasis on the optics and photonics industry.

Mr. Mandra has over 25 years of photonics industry experience as both an engineer and an investment banker.  Having extensive technology, industry and transaction expertise allows Mr. Mandra to uniquely advise photonics industry clients in addressing their most critical business issues.  Clients have relied upon him to identify and respond to emerging trends, advances in competing technology and other critical forces shaping their industry and highly value his strategy-driven approach to transaction execution.

Mr. Mandra holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in optics from the University of Rochester Institute of Optics and an MBA from the University of Michigan Sloan School of Business.

Alexander MuhrSenior Applications Engineer, Element Six, USA

Alex Muhr is a senior applications engineer at Element Six. Alex holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Oregon and a master’s in applied physics also from the University of Oregon. 

Nagendra NagarajayyaCEO & Founder, e-Skins Displays, USA
Nagendra has worked in various roles from management to engineering in the technology field for more than 20 years. He has raised money for various startups and specializes in disruptive technologies in advertising, machine learning and vision.

Rick PlymptonCEO, Optimax Systems, USA

Rick Plympton is the CEO of Optimax, a precision optics manufacturer in Ontario, NY. During his 20 years at Optimax he has held roles from sales and marketing to quality and assembly, before taking on the role of CEO. 

In 2012, he received the Small Business Administration (SBA) New York State Small Business Person of the Year award. He is actively involved in the optics industry and supporting area colleges and currently sits on the Finger Lakes Foundation Board and the Board of the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster. 

He holds degrees in business administration, computer science and engineering science from Finger Lakes Community College. He furthered his education at the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Science degree in optics and an MBA. Rick provides the leadership and vision needed to position Optimax as America’s largest prototype optics manufacturer. 

Mark Tolbert, President, TOPTICA Photonics, Inc., USA

Mark Tolbert joined the TOPTICA group as President in 2006 and has since led the company to unprecedented growth and has created local and national job opportunities. Receiving a degree in Physics from RIT and an MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester, he brings strong engineering and management experience to TOPTICA. He started his career as Director of Sales and Marketing with G-S Plastic Optics, and eventually transitioned into the senior management team with EXFO/Burleigh Instruments. There he developed various OEM and R&D markets for the automation, nano-technology, and biophotonics markets.

Giacomo VaccaPresident, Kinetic River Corp.

Giacomo Vacca earned physics degrees from Harvard University (BA/MA) and from Stanford University (PhD). For his dissertation, with Nobel Prize winner Bob Laughlin, he developed a novel ultrafast light scattering technique. He has set up whole laboratories from scratch, started and led development programs, generated intellectual property (42 patent applications, 22 awarded to date), led diverse interdisciplinary groups, and managed IP portfolios. At Abbott Labs, Dr. Vacca invented and developed Laser Rastering, a radically innovative concept in flow cytometry that yielded the fastest cell analysis rate in the world. A Senior Member of SPIE and of the Optical Society of America and past Abbott Research Fellow, Dr. Vacca founded and runs Kinetic River, a biophotonics design and product development company focusing on flow cytometry. In 2013 he also cofounded BeamWise, a provider of optical system design automation tools.

Sponsored by: