Meet LIA’s New President & Board of Directors

Yongfeng Lu 1LIA’s 2014 President Yongfeng Lu graduated from Tsinghua University of Beijing, China, in 1984 with a degree in electrical engineering. Dr. Lu went on to receive his M.Sc. from Osaka University, Japan, in 1988 and his Ph.D. from the same university in 1991. Dr. Lu’s research expertise lies in laser-based micro/nanoscale materials processing and characterization, which lead him to the development of various laser-based material processing technologies and their implementation in commercial markets. After earning his degrees, Dr. Lu spent several years in Singapore, where he served as faculty at the National University of Singapore and was able to establish an active group in laser microprocessing.

Yongfeng 2In 2002, Dr. Lu joined the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Department of Electrical Engineering, where he created the Laser-Assisted Nano Engineering (LANE) research group and continued his investigation of laser-based material synthesis, micro- and nano-fabrication, and diagnostics. These efforts have earned him attention in a number of journals, including Advanced Materials, Light: Science and Applications, Carbons and Applied Physics Letters, as well as more than $15 million worth of grants from NSF, DoD, DOE and many other organizations. Throughout his years of educational experience, Dr. Lu has mentored 23 Ph.D. students and more than 30 M.Sc. and M.Eng. students. He was also given the honor of Lott University Professor in 2010. In the laser industry at large, Dr. Lu served as general chair for ICALEO® in 2007 and 2008, and has been elected as a Fellow by LIA, SPIE and OSA.  He is a contributor to and member of the international laser, applied optics, material science and engineer communities, and hopes to further LIA’s influence in these areas.

As president, Dr. Lu believes in the importance of establishing a strong foundation to support LIA’s members in applied research and industrial applications of lasers. In particular, he would like to encourage more researchers and engineers in industries that are benefited by laser applications to contribute to LIA’s many conferences and activities. Another one of Dr. Lu’s goals is to raise the next generation’s interest in the laser industry in the hope that young members will assume leadership roles in LIA. Finally, he wants to continue LIA’s efforts to include the global community in LIA-related events, enlarging the support base provided by the organization.

In his personal life, Dr. Lu takes a keen interest in raising his two children. He enjoys learning the ways in which different cultures convey their knowledge and wisdom to the next generation. Though he enjoys travel and international cuisine, Dr. Lu enjoys the quiet Nebraska lifestyle, where he learned how to mow the lawn, blow snow and raise a dog. We wish Yongfeng Lu success in all of his endeavors as this year’s LIA president!

Robert ThomasPresident-Elect Robert Thomas is an essential figure in research and publication throughout the many facets of the laser industry. He initially earned his B.S. degree in physics from Pittsburg State University in 1989, and worked to receive a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1994. His graduate studies focused on the fields of spectroscopy and numerical simulations for strained-layer semiconductor heterostructures, and after obtaining his doctorate, Dr. Thomas joined the Air Force Research Laboratory in San Antonio, TX. Since then, he has established an impressive portfolio of publications covering topics including experimental and theoretical biomedical optics, laser-tissue interactions and laser safety exposure limit definitions. In addition to his memberships in SPIE, the American Physical Society (APS), the Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Dr. Thomas has used his role as Fellow of LIA to contribute to the development of the ANSI Z136 series of standards. For his efforts, he was appointed as the chairman for the ASC Z136 in 2010.

Steve CappTreasurer Stephen Capp is a familiar face in the laser industry, having been CEO of Laserage Technology Corporation since 1994 as well as LIA treasurer and president in 2011. In 1978 he graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering with degrees in electrical power engineering technology and industrial management. A good number of his 25 years in the laser industry have been spent at Laserage, where he was employed as plant manager and vice president of operations before earning the title of CEO. In addition to serving on LIA’s Board of Directors, Capp was previously national treasurer and member of the Executive Council of the International Microelectronics and Packaging Society. With his years of experience handling the operations of 501(c)(3) corporations, Capp looks forward to managing financial subjects and issues for LIA.

Lin LiSecretary Lin Li‘s many contributions to the laser industry derive from his extensive research background and continued activity in international groups and institutions. He began laser-processing researching at Imperial College, UK, in 1985, and obtained a Ph.D. in laser cladding in 1989. Following his graduation, he maintained a number of research positions in universities throughout the country, including Liverpool University and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. In 2009, he joined the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester, where he served as the director of research and member of the school’s Senate. Dr. Li’s research portfolio spans over 550 publications in laser processing, as well as 47 patents and more than 300 articles in a number of peer-reviewed journals. His Fellow status at LIA is one among many, as Dr. Li has been elected as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK, the Institute of Engineering and Technology and the International Academy for Production Engineering. In 2013, Dr. Li was honored with the Royal Academy of Engineering Frank Whittle Medal.

Klaus LofflerImmediate Past President Klaus Löffler has exhibited a wide range of experience throughout his career, from engineering and application to sales and implementation.  After graduating from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, with his master’s in mechanical engineering, Löffler worked on the LaserCAV process at MAHO in Pfronten, Germany. In 1991 he joined TRUMPF Laser Technik as a CO2 development engineer. He ventured to the US in 1995, when he became the technical coordinator between TRUMPF and the Connecticut-based TRUMPF Inc. Over his career Löffler has been responsible for the implantation of many TRUMPF lasers worldwide, as well as the creation of the TRUMPF Laser Technology Center in Plymouth, MI. In 2011 he was given the title of head of international sales for TRUMPF Laser. Löffler first became a member of the Board of Directors of LIA in 2007, and has fulfilled many valuable roles in the organization. In addition to his active presence at LIA, Löffler serves on the advisory board of the Fraunhofer IWU, Bavarian Laser Center, School of Advanced Optical Technology and more.

2014-2016 Board of Directors

Eckhard BeyerEckhard Beyer has been an active force in Germany’s laser industry for nearly 20 years as a contributor to the field of laser materials processing and a liaison between international communities. He received a diploma in physics from the University of Technology Darmstadt before earning a Ph.D. in physical engineering. In 1985 he was appointed as the acting director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen, Germany, and went on to assume the roles of director of laser application and deputy director. Today he is the executive director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden, where he engages in research and development in laser and surface technology as well as alternative, customized processes termed “hybrid processes.” In addition to his achievements as executive director, Dr. Beyer can be found chairing sessions at various international conferences, including ICALEO® and LIM. His lifetime experience has earned him approximately 500 publications to his name, and he is the owner of 65 patents. Dr. Beyer is also a past president of LIA.

Ken DzurkoKen Dzurko received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1989, having studied the application of novel epitaxial growth techniques to laser diode devices. After holding various management and executive positions in engineering, operations and business development—as well as earning experience as a laser application consultant for interested companies and investors—Dr. Dzurko joined SPI Lasers LLC in 2007 and now holds the position of general manager. Through SPI Lasers LLC, Dr. Dzurko heads the sales, service and applications personnel in the US for the UK-based company. Their Santa Clara office promotes laser applications support worldwide while engaging in research and development. In addition, Dzurko has served on LIA’s Board of Directors for the past three years.

Gilbert HaasGilbert Haas has 31 years of experience with industrial lasers. He received his BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and an AS degree in laser technology from North Central Technical College, and has supplemented his formal education with classes in Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy. Haas has held positions such as Laser Field Service Engineer and Technical Support Engineer, eventually working his way to Senior Applications Engineer due to his work on the first commercially produced Nd:YAG 1 kW SLAB laser. Intrigued by the possibilities open to laser beam delivery technology, he founded Haas Laser Technologies, Inc., in 1992. In addition to the design and manufacturing of custom laser beam delivery components, the company produces laser beam measurement equipment and systems for industrial applications out of its headquarters in Flanders, NJ. Haas has added to his success in business by teaching classes, lecturing and partaking in research and publishing, and he holds several patents in industrial laser applications.

Klaus KleineKlaus Kleine heads the marketing of high power fiber and direct diode lasers for industrial applications at Coherent Inc., where he is the director of product line management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool and holds an MS (Dipl. Ing) from the Aachen University of Applied Science in Germany. Dr. Kleine was previously employed as the general manager for US operations at Laserline, and has held positions at organizations such as Gudiant, Tsunami Optics, Iridex Crop, DuPont and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology. His background in differing markets allows him to bring a fresh perspective to LIA’s Board of Directors, and he is enthused to promote the implementation of laser technologies in even more applications and industries.

MarkusMarkus Kogel-Hollacher has shaped his career around his work in the fields of monitoring and controlling laser processes. In 1994 he earned his MS degree at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, and went on to receive his MS in physics from the Aachen University in Germany in 1996. Shortly after, Kogel-Hollacher worked for Precitec Optronik GmbH in Rodgau, Germany, where he focused on the connection between results in R&D and industrial application. Today he is head of the R&D projects departments at the Precitec Group, where he supervises government funded projects on a global scale. In 2008, he finished his Ph.D. at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. A 2012 finalist of Germany’s Innovation Award in Laser Technology, Dr. Kogel-Hollacher has been a member of LIA since 2002. His career-spanning interest in the evolution from research project to application, mirrors LIA’s active bonding of science and industry.

William LawsonWilliam Lawson founded Laser Machining, Inc. in 1978 with the production of a single 50 W CO2 laser. Sold in 2002, LMI grew into a hybrid laser suite with 225 employees and over 35 industrial lasers offered. Lawson received his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and supplemented his course work with classes in mechanical engineering, electronics and material science at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Before founding LMI, he worked for 3M Company’s Central Research Laboratories as well as the US Army’s Tank and Automotive Command, and in 1974 he started the engineering consulting firm Lawson, Lawson & Assoc., with his father Robert Lawson. After becoming chief technology officer for Preco Laser Systems LLC in 2002, Lawson remained in Somerset, WI, where he founded NewTech Development, LLC in the aims of aiding emerging market companies in their plans for growth. He has served LIA’s Board of Directors as a Board Member, treasurer and president.

Reinhart PopraweReinhart Poprawe, president of LIA as recent as 2012, received his M.A. in physics from the California State University in Fresno in 1977, and has maintained a presence in the global laser community ever since. Having obtained his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Technology Darmstadt in 1984, Dr. Poprawe joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology in Aachen, Germany as head of the “Laser oriented process development” department in 1985. From 1989 to 1996, he served as CEO to Thyssen Laser Technik GmbH, an Aachen based organization he himself founded.  From 1996 to today, Dr. Poprawe has acted as managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, and he is a member of the board in AKL Arbeitskreis Lasertechnike. V. Aachen. Elected as a Fellow in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers since 1998, he has been a major part of a number of boards and organizational structures worldwide.

Michael SchmidtMichael Schmidt is CEO of the research organization Bayerisches Laserzentrum GmbH (blz). He received a diploma in electrical engineering and worked as a staff scientist at the chair of manufacturing technology before earning his Ph.D. for the thesis Process Control for Laser Spot Welds in Electronic Production. His graduate work garnered him the Award of the Technical Faculty at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he acts as professor today. Dr. Schmidt’s contributions to the University include the establishment of the Chair of Photonic Technologies, which highlights simulation, sensor technology and ultra-short-pulse lasers. In addition to his efforts to merge the cultures of academic research and industrial applications as CEO of the BLZ, Dr. Schmidt is involved with external academic and economic committees, such as the board “Bayern photonics e.V.,” the Bavarian working group “Networking Research,” and the International Academy for Production Engineering. His major accomplishments include the implementation of a Laser Demonstration Center in Sankt Petersburg, Russia and his cooperation with Quebec, Canada’s INO.

Bill ShinerBill Shiner is an LIA veteran, and has been a member since its inception. He is vice president of industrial sales at IPG Photonics in Oxford, MA. IPG manufactures fiber lasers and fiber amplifiers for a wide range of markets. He received his B.S., EE and MBA from Northeastern University, and has utilized his background in laser technology and application to publish several articles and create presentations on the subject. As a past president and Fellow of LIA, Shiner trusts the organization to keep him knowledgeable about changes in technology and provide him with a network that connects him to industrial partners and friends alike. Shiner also serves on the Photonics Spectra editorial board.

Steve WeissSteve Weiss began his career in the laser industry as a special machine designer in the early 1980s before forming Innovative Laser Technologies in 1998. The company has since sold and installed over 350 workstations in many of the markets in which lasers are an emerging factor. Previously, his major role was in designing the laser workstations before he became project manager at ILT. Today he works in the Business Development Group in addition to serving as treasurer of Innovative’s Board of Directors. Weiss is also engaged in industrial laser groups such as FMA and SME.

2013-2015 Board of Directors

Paul Denney, Lincoln Electric
Larry Dosser, Wright State University
Stefan Heinemann, TRUMPF
Stefan Kaierle, Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Xinbing Liu, Panasonic Boston Laboratory
Eric Mottay, Amplitude Systems
Robert Mueller, Lasers-at-Work Consulting Ltd.
Andreas Ostendorf, Ruhr-University Bochum
Silke Pflueger, DirectPhotonics
Islam Salama, Intel Corporation

2012-2014 Board of Directors

Lutz Aschke, LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH
Neil Ball, Directed Light Inc.
Milan Brandt, RMIT University
Michael Francoeur, Joining Technologies
William O’Neill, University of Cambridge
Henrikki Pantsar, Cencorp Corporation
Nathaniel Quick, AppliCote Associates, LLC
Koji Sugioka, Riken
Kunihiko Washio, Paradigm Laser Research Ltd
Rongshi Xiao, Beijing University of Technology