Meet LIA’S 2012 President and Board of Directors


Reinhart Poprawe, LIA’s 2012 president, has worked in the laser industry and its related organizations for over 30 years. He received an M.A. in physics from California State University in Fresno in 1977. After completion of his Ph.D. in physics (Darmstadt, 1984) he joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen, Germany where he worked as head of a department for laser-oriented process development.

In 1988 Poprawe started Thyssen Laser Technik GMBH and was the company’s CEO. Since 1996 he has been managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology and holds the University Chair for Laser Technology at the RWTH Aachen. In 2004 he served as vice rector of Aachen University and currently is a member of several boards in the scientific and industrial organizations, e.g. the AKL Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e. V. Aachen. He also chairs the RWTH International Board and is the Rectors delegate for China.

Poprawe’s main areas of expertise are laser applications, laser additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, micro technology and photonics in life science. He also has vast experience in laser development and with plasma technology in the realms of process analysis, sensors for laser processes, laser induced plasmas, EUV sources for lithography and microscopy, XUV-sources and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy.

ILT is the leading laser center in Europe. The aim of ILT activities is the economical application of lasers in the industry. The services offered by ILT include strategic research, applied research on products and processes, prototype development, quality management, consultancy and training programs. ILT has spun out 30 companies with a total of about 1,000 employees in the past with the annual rate being a little over one company per year.
During His Term

Poprawe has been an LIA board member since 2001, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Laser Applications® (JLA) since 2010 and was the 2011 president-elect. In 2006 he became a fellow of the LIA. During his term as LIA president, Poprawe would like to accomplish the following goals: see more attendees at all of LIA’s conferences, courses and workshops, which shall help increase the society’s bottom line and see LIA’s reputation and message of laser safety gain momentum in the form of more members. Additionally, he will be working to make LIA’s 30-year-old International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO®) the number one global laser conference with top quality invited speakers, first class and relevant presentations and top notch infrastructure and events. Emphasis will also be put on making JLA the top global journal in laser applications.

Poprawe will be kept busier than most LIA presidents as during 2012 another topical workshop shall be implemented similar to the LAM (Laser Additive Manufacturing) Workshop, which is the Laser Welding & Joining Workshop being held in October. Also, a workshop on ultrafast processing is in the works for 2013.

On a personal note, Poprawe is married to Anette and they have four children. He loves sailing (has all the papers you need for doing it all on your own), snowboarding, philosophy, lyrics, plays golf once in a while and has a great passion for art (does some painting) and music. Convinced of the relevance of high quality and cultivated comprehensive language, he founded an initiative for the local theatre in Aachen, where he serves as a member of the board. Here’s wishing Reinhart Poprawe a successful year as LIA president!

Executive Committee

President Elect Klaus Löffler graduated from the University of Stuttgart with a master’s in mechanical engineering. Since 2009 he is responsible for the strategic industry development for the TRUMPF Laser und Systemtechnik. In 2004 he founded the Automotive Laser Conference in Wolfsburg, Germany, which together with ALAW and JALAW builds a global conference partnership. In 2006 he took over international sales at TRUMPF Lasers and Systems and in 2007 became an LIA board member. Besides LIA, he serves on the board of the SLT conference and other events with the goal to ensure the global growth of laser technology.

Treasurer Yongfeng Lu is currently the Lott Chair Professor of Engineering at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Lu received his BEng degree from Tsinghua University (China), M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Osaka University (Japan) in 1984, 1988 and 1991 respectively. Besides the fundamental research work that led to a large number of publications and a number of national and international awards, he also has successfully developed a number of laser-based material processing technologies and commercialized them in industries. In the past few years, he received around $10 million of research funding from DoD, NSF, DOE, NRI, private foundations and industry, including a MURI grant from ONR. He served as the general chair for ICALEO in 2007 and 2008.

Secretary Robert Thomas received his B.S. degree in physics from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS in 1989 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 1994. He has worked in the areas of experimental and theoretical biomedical optics with the USAF Research Laboratory at Brooks City-Base, Texas. From 1996 to 2002 he served as a research physicist with TASC and Northrop-Grumman Corporation. In 2002 he joined the USAF Research Laboratory where he holds the title of principal research physicist. He has authored and co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed papers and more than 50 contributed papers. In 2007 Thomas was named a fellow of the LIA.

Immediate Past President Stephen Capp is CEO of Laserage Technology Corporation. He previously held positions as plant manager and president of operations. Laserage is an international supplier of laser-processed materials growing to one of the largest laser job shops in the U.S. He graduated from Milwaukee School of Engineering in 1978 with degrees in electrical power engineering technology and industrial management and has worked in the laser industry for more than 30 years. He has been a member of the LIA since 1992.

2012-14 Board of directors

Lutz Aschke, Ph.D., has been managing director and CTO of LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH in Germany since 2006. From 2004 until 2006 he served as technical director at the executive board of LIMO. Additionally, since 2007 he is a member of the board of IVAM, the international association of companies and institutes in the field of microtechnology, nanotechnology and advanced materials. Since 2011 he has been a member of the board of stakeholders of the European Photonics21 initiative. His scientific background is in plasma physics, especially DUV optics, EUV light sources and laser fusion.


Neil Ball is the president of Directed Light Inc, San Jose, CA, a laser technology company serving the industrial, medical and scientific laser communities worldwide since 1983. Ball has devoted his adult working life to the industrial laser industry. He began his career 26 years ago as an application technician in the contract manufacturing sector at LaserFab, Inc. in California. He moved to Systron Donner Inertial and became involved in the production of inertial guidance packages, accelerometer, gyroscopes and inclinometers. Ball joined Directed Light in 1993 to assist in applications development, system design and component/service support. He has led the marketing and developing sales plans for both national and international arenas and is the resident methodologist, working on projection of future industry trends.

Milan Brandt is a professor in advanced manufacturing in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University, Melbourne Australia, focused in the area of additive manufacture using selective laser melting technology. The school is a leading provider of teaching and research locally and internationally in these disciplines. Brandt is the leading Australian researcher in the area of macro machining with lasers. This has resulted in technological achievements, patents, research papers and commercial products that have been recognized internationally and nationally. He was involved in setting up the company Hardwear to commercialize this technology. He has also actively promoted the benefits of laser technology to the Australian industry through invited presentations, conference papers and industry seminars. Professor Brandt is a fellow of LIA and was on the organizing committee for ICALEO, serving on the board of LIA and being the organizer and general chair for PICALO 2004 and 2006, which promoted industrial lasers and applications in the region.

Michael Francoeur began his welding career in 1977 as an entry-level employee at an electron beam welding job shop. In 1985 he formed his first company, Dynamic Electron Beam Corp and opened Energy Beam Labs , Inc. in 1992 in Cheshire, CT. Francoeur had changed the original business model used at Dynamic such that Energy Beam’s charter would be to provide research/development and engineering services to a variety of industries in need of precision welding. In 1995, Francoeur went through the entrepreneurship education curricula at Harvard Business School and MIT, which lead to the next reinvention of his business and in 1998 launched Joining Technologies. The new vision targeted laser welding as the principle offering with electron beam as a supporting technology. Joining Technologies has nurtured several strategic alliances, most notably with Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen, Germany.

Lin Li is director of the Laser Processing Research Centre at The University of Manchester; he started laser-processing research in 1985 at Imperial College, London University, with Professor Bill Steen. After obtaining a Ph.D. in laser processing, he worked for six years in the Laser Group, Liverpool University. In 1994, he took up a lectureship (assistant professor) at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Li is the author and co-author of over 500 publications in laser processing including 45 patents and over 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He was awarded a fellow at the Institute of Engineering and Technology, International Academy of Production Engineering (CIRP), LIA and the International Society of Nanomanufacturing. He serves on the editorial boards of nine international journals and co-chaired the Laser Materials Processing Conference at PICALO 2008 and 2010.

Bill O’Neill is a reader in laser engineering within the Cambridge University Engineering Department and director of the Centre of Industrial Photonics. He has written and researched widely on the subjects of laser-matter interactions, optical engineering, laser based manufacturing technologies and micro/nano fabrication techniques. He is a fellow of LIA and the Institute of Physics and an industry and governmental advisor on a number of laser-based manufacturing technologies. He has established a number of university spin-out companies.


Henrikki Pantsar is director of research and development of Cencorp Corporation. He has more than 10 years experience in developing industrial laser applications and systems for various industries. Before joining Cencorp in 2010, he worked in the laser processing research groups Fraunhofer USA, Inc. in Michigan and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. He received his Doctor of Science degree from Lappeenranta University of Technology. He has authored more than 40 publications for international conferences and scientific journals. He received the Henry Granjon Prize of the International Institute of Welding in 2006. Henrikki is a regular presenter, program committee member and chairman at ICALEO conferences, and was the LMF conference chair at ICALEO 2011.

Nathaniel Quick is a past president, past secretary, a current executive committee member and fellow of LIA, president and chief technical officer of AppliCote Associates, LLC, Lake Mary, FL, a technology development and licensing company and CTO of !nflect, LC, a technology licensing firm. AppliCote Associates collaborates with academic institutes, including the University of Central Florida/CREOL. Quick has a Ph.D. from Cornell University in materials science and engineering and is a UCF Florida Photonics Center of Excellence advisory board member, UCF Industrial Advisory Committee member, a fellow of the African Scientific Institute, a past guest researcher at NIST and past member of the Army Science Board. He currently holds 39 U.S. patents and has over 60 publications.

Koji Sugioka is a senior research scientist at RIKEN – Advanced Science Institute and a guest professor at Tokyo University of Science and Tokyo Denki University. He received B.E., M.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electronics from Waseda University in 1984, 1986 and 1993, respectively, and joined RIKEN in 1986 where he has worked on doping, etching and deposition of semiconductors and surface modification of metals using excimer lasers. Sugioka has received seven awards for his research, inventions and contributions in the area of laser microprocessing. He has published more than 130 articles, has given more than 80 invited talks at international conferences and about 90 invited talks domestically, has 30 patents or pending patents and served as a conference chair, co-chair and committee member for numerous international conferences. He is also editor-in-chief of Laser Micro/Nanoengineering.

Kunihiko Washio is founder and president of Paradigm Laser Research Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, since 2003. He received his M.S. degree in physics from the University of Tokyo in 1968 and Ph.D. degree in engineering from Tohoku University in 1980. He joined NEC Corporation in 1968 and engaged in R&D of various solid-state lasers and their applications for about 35 years. After retiring from NEC in 2003, he has been serving industries in consulting on development of lasers and their applications to materials processing. He has served as a program committee member for the International Symposium on Laser Precision Microfabrication since 2000 and a conference chair for ICALEO’s Laser Microprocessing (LMF) Conference for two years. He was the ICALEO 2011 Congress General Chair.


2011-2013 Board of Directors

Eckhard Beyer, Fraunhofer IWS
Ken Dzurko, SPI Lasers, LLC
Richard Harvey, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Markus Kogel-Hollacher, Precitec Optronik
David Krattley, Preco Inc.
William Lawson, New Tech Development
Juan Pou, University of Vigo
John Tyrer, Loughborough University
Steven Weiss, Innovative Laser Technologies, Inc.

2010-2012 Board of Directors

Magdi Azer, GE Global Research
Craig Blue, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Paul Denney, Lincoln Electric
Larry Dosser, Mound Laser & Photonics Center, Inc.
Thomas J. Lieb, L*A*I International
Xinbing Liu, Panasonic Boston Laboratory
Andreas Ostendorf, Ruhr-University Bochum
Islam Salama, Intel Corporation
Bahaa E. A. Saleh, CREOL, University of Central Florida
Michael Schmidt, Bayerisches Laserzentrum GmbH

About the Author
Steven Glover is a proud member of the LIA staff. When he is not at work he is actively involved in several charitable efforts.
Posted in LIA News