Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Optics/Photonics Technical Job Postings in the Southeast!

Two new opportunities have been posted to the FPC Employment-Workforce Webpage: Electro-Optical Systems Engineer and Senior Electrical Engineer. Please check them out and if interested respond with a resume to, citing the Job Code that appears at the end of the posting in your subject line!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Call To Action: Educational Resources and Materials

In recognition of the importance of educating our future optics and photonics professionals, the Florida Photonics Cluster Board of Directors is inviting its members and others in the community to share its educational materials through its online collection of resources posted on the FPC website's education page. We welcome just about submission ranging from presentations and brochures to information on available demonstration tools.

It is widely recognized that there is shortfall of a skilled optics and photonics workforce and in order for Florida to be competitive it is imperative that we reach out to students early and inform them of the potential opportunities that exist in this exciting technology growth area. Your involvement in the community is greatly appreciated as it will help shape the future economy and standard of living of the state for the better.

If you are an educator seeking materials or the involvement in your classroom, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Participation in NSF" Partnership for Innovation" Program Proposal

I have an opportunity to for you and your company that will foster a mutually beneficial connection between your company and CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida (UCF). What I am proposing to you will also facilitate other valuable connections, for both your company and the Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC).

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has a program designed to promote innovation through partnerships among universities and industry. The NSF program is called "Partnership For Innovation". Information on the PFI program can be found at There is a new solicitation recently released for proposals for funding from the PFI program. A synopsis of this solicitation is attached for your information.

UCF/CREOL plans to submit a proposal to the PFI program, partnering with the University of Arizona and the University of Rochester, and several other organizations including the Florida Photonics Cluster, to build and begin operation of a network of photonics organizations that will facilitate photonics education and the rapid development and transfer of photonics technologies into a wide range of applications. The network we envision will contain universities, companies, professional societies, trade associations, and economic development organizations. I would like to include your company as a supporter of our proposal and as a participant in the network the program will build if we are successful in obtaining funding.

The funding from NSF for the PFI program is quite modest, so there would be no funding available in our proposal for your company. Although no funding from your company to UCF or the program will be required, any funds you can provide to UCF for the program will be an asset in the competition and will also be eligible for a 1:3 match through the FHTCC matching program. Otherwise your contribution can be "in-kind" to the degree that you can commit any resources to help accomplish the program’s objectives (e.g., serving on an Industrial Advisory Board). What I do ask that you consider is writing a letter of support for our proposal and indicating your willingness to participate as a "partner" in the network that the proposed program will create. The schedule we are working to is as follows:
  • Internal-UCF proposal summary -- Sept 5, 2008 (Note: a university can submit only one PFI proposal as the lead organization, which is what UCF will do. An "internal competition" occurs to select what UCF will propose, assuming more than one PFI program is proposed by faculty)
  • Letter of Intent to NSF -- Oct 31, 2008
  • Final proposal to NSF -- Dec. 31, 2008

All I need at this time is a letter or email from you indicating your company’s willingness to support our proposal. This will help us in the internal-UCF competition, and if we are successful at that stage, I will provide you more information on what we are proposing so that you can write a customized letter of support to go in the proposal.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of my request. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Jim Pearson

Executive Director, Florida Photonics Cluster

Director, Research & Admin, CREOL,

The College of Optics & Photonics & Special Asst. to the VP for ResearchUniversity of Central Florida

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NIST TIP Briefing This Thursday AM at UCF!

This is a short notice, but I thought some of you might be interested in hearing the briefing on the NIST Technology Innovation program this Thursday:

If you haven’t heard already, the NIST briefing will be on Thursday morning from 9-11 in Engineering II Room 101 (Harris Auditorium). I hope that you know of people and companies who may be interested in teaming with us to submit a proposal in response to this solicitation.

Dear all,

I will have Marc Stanley, the director of the NIST Technology Innovation program, on campus next month to meet with interested faculty and companies who may want to respond to the solicitation (see below). The meeting will be held on the morning of Thursday, August 14 in the College of Engineering (details forthcoming). If you know of any faculty or companies who are working in the area of sensors and related technologies (see below) who would be interested in meeting with Mr. Stanley, please let me know. Please note that the competition requires a partnership with a company to be eligible for funding.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced on July 9, 2008 that it is seeking proposals for high-risk research projects to develop innovative technologies for inspecting, monitoring and evaluating critical components of the nation’s roadways, bridges, and drinking and wastewater systems. The competition for cost-shared research and development (R&D) support is the first to be announced by NIST’s newly established Technology Innovation Program (TIP) in an effort to address critical societal challenges.

NIST announced that, based on FY 2008 funds, it expects to award approximately $9 million in first-year funding for R&D projects focused on new, efficient, accurate, low-cost and reliable sensors and related technologies that provide quantitative assessments of the structural integrity or degree of deterioration of bridges, roads, water mains and wastewater collection systems. The competition, program officials said, addresses a critical national need for improved sensing technologies to help local, state, and national authorities more cost-effectively monitor and maintain the Nation’s vast public infrastructure, some portions of which have been in place for many years and are rapidly and dangerously aging.TIP was established by the 2007 America COMPETES Act to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need. The merit-based competitive program can fund cost-shared R&D projects by single small-sized or medium-sized businesses and joint ventures that also may include institutions of higher education, non-profit research organizations and national laboratories. TIP awards are limited to no more than $3 million total over three years for a single company project and no more than $9 million total over five years for a joint venture.

Greg Schuckman, UCF

Sunday, August 10, 2008

SSTI Weekly Digest: Florida Legislature Injects Itself into Centers of Excellence Program, Redirects Funding

A recent article from SSTI Weekly Digest offers food for thought on recent state budget decisions:

How should states determine the focus and location of significant investments into academic research? The process can easily become politicized when more than one research institution, sizable metropolitan area or major industry exist in the state. On occasion, geographic and political influences trump more rational factors, resulting in the “peanut butter effect” of dollars and activities being spread evenly across a state or across institutions at the possible detriment to having a meaningful impact.

Similarly, as appears to be the case recently in Florida, the investment recommendations of an independent scientific advisory board can be overruled by legislative action. In Florida's case, the legislature redirected $65 million of funding planned for seven new university-based Centers of Excellence to just two centers, only one of which was recommended by the advisory board in its report to Governor Charlie Crist earlier this year. Florida legislators recently approved $87 million for the State University System’s Centers of Excellence in FY 2009. Approximately $22 million will be distributed among nine, older centers created in earlier funding cycles. The $65 million balance will support two new centers intended to expand the state's research capacity in the energy and aerospace industries. Both new centers represent new collaborations between several research institutions and were described as helping to offset the impending employment loss resulting from the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. The move drew criticism, however, from members of the Florida Technology Research and Scholarship Board (FTRSB), which would ordinarily oversee the establishment of new centers instead of the legislature.

Most of the funding will support the Florida Energy Systems Consortium, part of the state’s Energy Diversity Package included in the budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year (see the June 18, 2008 issue of the SSTI Weekly Digest). The state will invest $50 million in the University of Florida-led project, which will involve all of the state’s universities. UF will receive $15 million of that funding, while four other institutions located across the state will each receive $8.75 million -- Florida State University (FSU), the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic University. The remaining funds will be allocated amongst the state’s other schools. Consortium research will focus on the development of innovative energy systems that could lead to practical alternative energy strategies, improved energy efficiency and expanded economic development for the state.

The Florida Center for Advanced Aero-Propulsion (FCAAP) will receive $14.8 million to enhance the efficiency of commercial and military aircraft. Florida State University will lead the collaboration and receive up to $6 million of the funding. Other participating institutions include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida. FSU researchers believe that the center could help produce the next generation of lighter aircraft and spacecraft, which could keep Florida at the forefront of aerospace research and industry following the end of the space shuttle program in 2010.

Aerospace companies currently employ about 83,000 workers in Florida and have an estimated $100 billion impact on the state economy. Earlier this year, a NASA report estimated that as many as 10,000 contractor jobs could be lost at spaceflight centers across the country by the time the shuttle program ceases operation (see the April 23, 2008 issue of the Digest). Kennedy Space Center expects to lose as much as 80 percent of its workforce in the next two to three years. State officials hope that the aero-propulsion center will help boost the state’s aerospace industry, which, in addition to the space shuttle’s looming demise, has an aging aerospace workforce. FCAAP will provide a way to organize the state’s research efforts and train a new generation of aerospace workers.

For more information on FCAAP, visit: May, FTRSB Chair Joseph Lacher voiced his objection to the legislature’s funding of the two centers. FTRSB was established in 2006 to make all decisions regarding the creation of new Centers of Excellence. In April, the board submitted seven new centers to the governor after months of reviewing applications, including the Center for Advance Aero-Propulsion but not the Energy Systems Consortium. In a letter sent to the board of governors, Lacher asked Gov. Crist to employ a line-item veto on the pertinent sections of the General Appropriations bill and reserve the decision for the board. Alternatively, Lacher suggested that the governor disband the board because it was no longer needed. However, the funding remained in the budget and, as of now, the FTRSB still exists.

Study Identifies Opportunities that may Synergize Florida’s Innovation Economy

With a group of 18 partners including state, regional and local economic development organizations, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council released "Florida's Innovation Benchmark Study," an in-depth review of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities associated with Florida's efforts to build an innovation-based economy.

Conducted by Del Boyette and Charlie Sloan of Boyette Levy Strategic Advisors, the study identifies opportunities that might accelerate Florida's economic diversification efforts. It includes interviews with economic leaders from across the state and an analysis of innovation programs, policies and incentives being used across the country.
According to the report, one of Florida's strengths is its ability to attract outside talent because of the area's desirable quality of life, the state's cultural diversity and the willingness of area businesses, companies and universities to develop synergistic partnerships.
For more information, visit

Florida Trend: Space Shuttle's Reputation Counts for Little These Days

An excellent review of what Florida can and must do to keep pace with the new growing commerical space industry can be found in a recent piece by David Villano of Florida Trend:

Florida Today: Editorial: Eating Dust - California Unveiling Shows Florida Getting Left Behind

A recent Editorial from Florida Today takes issue with the state's handling of an opportunity to land the deal to be a host site for Richard Branson's space tourism program and poses the challenge to do better going forward:

With a healthy dose of razzle-dazzle, British entrepreneur Richard Branson on Monday pulled the cover off his space tourism "mother ship." The unveiling happened in Mojave, Calif. -- not Cape Canaveral -- in another example of how Florida is still eating dust in attracting the 21st century barnstormers who are striving to create commercial space ventures. Branson says 100 people have already paid $200,000 each for a seat with countless more possible if the price could drop to $40,000-$50,000. He hopes to start flights in a few years and the Cape will again lose out with the missions staged from New Mexico.

Florida officials dropped the ball on Branson's project a long time ago, showing neither the hustle or imagination to bring it to fruition. But the future holds more possibilities, which they should pursue with a vengeance. That means loosening the government red tape that prevents entrepreneurs from putting down roots at the Cape and making the spaceport far more business friendly. It also means using the shuttle runway at Kennedy Space Center for commercial start-ups after the shuttles retire. Florida can't afford to miss another boat like Branson's. (8/1)

FPC Exectuvie Director Selected as Judge for 2008 Prism Awards

Jim Pearson, Executive Director of the FPC has been chosen as a judge for the SPIE 2008 Prism Awards:

Laurin Publishing Co. and SPIE have announced the names of the judges selected for the 2008 Prism Awards for Photonics Innovation. Nine awards will be presented on Jan. 28, 2009, at Photonics West in San Jose, and the deadline for applications, which can be found on, is Sept. 12, 2008,

The independent panel of experts will review and rank all entries, selecting the winners in the categories of Optics; Lasers; Other Light Sources; Detectors, Sensing and Imaging Systems; Analytical, Test and Measurement; Photonics Systems; Photonics Processes; Sustainable/Green Technology; and Life Sciences. The judges are as follows (more detailed bios appear on the website):
  • Valerie C. Bolhouse, an industry consultant with several industry awards, formerly developed and launched machine vision and automation solutions for automotive manufacture and assembly at Ford Motor Co. V.
  • Michael Bove is head of the Object-Based Media Group at MIT's Media Lab and director of the consumer electronics program CELab. He is a founder of and technical advisor to WatchPoint Media, Inc. and technical advisor to One Laptop Per Child.
  • Walter Burgess is vice president of sales and engineering for Power Technology, one of the oldest laser companies in the world. Involved in the photonics industry for 12 years, he has authored numerous articles in the photonics media.
  • Jeremy T.K. Chang is managing director of Edmund Optics, China. Chang is founding chairman of Hong Kong Photographic and Optics Manufacturing Association and founding vice chair of Hong Kong Optical Engineering Society.
  • Timothy Day is CEO, CTO and chairman of the Board of Daylight Solutions, a molecular detection and imaging company. He was also one of the four founders of New Focus Inc. where he was CTO and senior vice president.
  • Anthony J. DeMaria retired in 1994 as assistance director of research for photonics and microelectronics at United Technologies Research Center. DeMaria is currently chief scientist of Coherent's CO2 operation in Bloomfield, CT.
  • Donal Denvir is one of the original founders and currently technical director of Andor Technology, in Northern Ireland. He has also been a lecturer in Informatics/Computer Science at the University of Ulster, Coleraine.
  • Judy Fennelly is general research engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory. Fennelly is currently responsible for development and acquisition of five space weather sensors to be flown on the DSX mission in 2010.
  • William Gornall recently retired from EXFO Burleigh Products Group as director of technology. He helped lead the growth of Burleigh Instruments for 23 years prior to its acquisition by EXFO in 2000 and was primarily responsible for developing the Burleigh WavemeterTM product line.
  • Joseph E. Gortych is president of Opticus IP Law PLLC, an intellectual property law firm based in Sarasota, Fla. that specializes in optics, photonics and semiconductor technologies. He is a registered patent attorney and an active member of SPIE, OSA and IEEE.
  • Randy Heyler is senior director of strategic marketing for Newport Corp. He originally was director of the Instruments Products Group and more recently founder and vice president of the Photonics Packaging and Advanced Automation Group.
  • Marc D. Himel is currently a senior principal engineer at Tessera North America. Himel has worked with advanced lithography systems, excimer laser-based illumination systems and application of diffractive micro-optics.
  • Robert Huang is founder and CEO of Singapore Wavelength Technology Pte Ltd., which specializes in laser optics coating and IR imaging lens assembly. He also founded WaveLab Scientific Pte Ltd which distributes optical design software and training across Asia.
  • Ray O. Johnson is senior vice president and CTO of the Lockheed Martin Corp. Johnson also leads the Corporation's Advanced Concepts Organization and the Center for Innovation, a world-class laboratory for collaborative experimentation.
  • Kenneth Kaufmann has been with Hamamatsu Corp. for 23 years and is currently vice president of marketing. He has authored numerous articles in the photonics media and has participated in presentations and panel discussions.
  • Dr. Lieberman heads the scientific and technological strategy of Intelligent Optical Systems and has been the principal investigator on key projects with the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense.
  • Brian Lula has led PI (Physik Instrumente) LP as president for 14 years. He is recognized internationally as an expert in the aesthetic CCD imaging of astronomical objects and has designed and built two astronomical observatories to support this work.
  • Gabriel Marcu is senior scientist at Apple Computer, where he is responsible for color calibration/characterization of Apple display based products. Marcu is associate editor for the Journal of SID and for the IEEE Trans on Image Processing Journal.
  • Paul McManamon recently retired as chief scientist of the Sensors Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, which develops new sensor technology for the Air Force. He was 2006 president of SPIE and a member of its board for seven years.
  • Since 1996, Kazuhiko Oka has been associate professor of the Division of Applied Physics at Hokkaido University. A 2006 G.G. Stokes Award winner, Oka is working in optical polarization physics and engineering.
  • Morio Onoe is a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo and an honorary member of the International Committee of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT). Onoe was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in New York from 1956 through 1958.
  • James Pearson is currently the director of research and administration at CREOL, The College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida (UCF). He has formerly been executive director for both ISA and SPIE.
  • William Plummer, founder and president of WTP Optics, worked at Johns Hopkins with Prof. John Strong in infrared planetary astronomy. Plummer also worked at Polaroid with Edwin Land and Jim Baker on the SX-70 camera.
  • Richard C. Powell is emeritus vice president for research and graduate studies and professor of optical science at the University of Arizona. Powell has authored two textbooks and more than 260 scientific articles. He is a former president of OSA.
  • Ryszard S. Romaniuk is professor of electronics engineering at the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) in Poland. He is also scientific secretary for the Committee of Electronics and Telecommunications at the Polish Academy of Sciences.
  • Andreas Tuennermann is director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (Jena) in 2003. In 1998 he joined the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany as a professor and director of the Institute of Applied Physics.
  • Cole Van Nice joined Chart Venture Partners in 2006 and currently focuses on investments in photonics, imaging, geospatial, and CBRNE detection (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive) technologies.
  • Alastair Wilson is director of the Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network and was founder of the Scottish Optoelectronics Association. He was involved in establishing the Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde.
  • Debbie Wilson is marketing manager of New Focus/Bookham, responsible for strategic product planning and marketing communications. Prior to that, she held product marketing positions at Hewlett Packard, Agilent and LumiLeds.