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Speaker Profiles

 Mehdi Asghari headshotMehdi Asghari, Vice President, Silicon Photonics, Mellanox Technologies

Dr. Mehdi Asghari has over 20 years of research and product development experience within the silicon photonics industry. Currently, Dr. Asghari is the VP of Silicon Photonics R&D at Mellanox Technologies and is responsible for all aspects of overall technology vision and product development.  He is highly skilled at conceptualizing, developing and implementing solutions.  
Prior to Mellanox he was the CTO at Kotura Inc. Formerly, he served as VP of Research and Development at Bookham Inc., where he was responsible for the R&D and manufacturing transfer activities behind all of Bookham's silicon-based technologies and products.  

Dr. Asghari credentials include a Ph.D. degree in Optoelectronics from the University of Bath, a M.Sc. degree in Optoelectronics and Laser Devices from the Heriot-Watt and St. Andrews Universities.  He also holds an MA degree in Engineering from Cambridge University. He has authored and co-authored over 150 Journal and Conference publications and holds more than 15 active patents within the fields of silicon photonics and optoelectronics.

Flavio Benetti headshotFlavio Benetti, DMA Division General Manager, STMicrolectronics

Flavio Benetti joined STMicrolectronics (at that time SGS) as CMOS designer in 1986. He has run his carrier covering positions at first technical and after marketing and managerial in the domain of Telecommunications and Networking. He’s now Digital and Mixed processes ASICs (DMA) Division General Manager and Group VP, managing Digital ASICs, RF, Optical ICs and Silicon Photonics product lines.

Brad Booth headshotBrad Booth, Principal Architect, Azure Networking, Microsoft

Brad Booth is a long-time leader in Ethernet technology development and standardization. Currently heading up the 25/50G Ethernet Consortium and the Consortium for On-Board Optics, he is a Principal Architect at Microsoft, where he drives hyper-scale interconnect strategy. He is also the founder and past Chairman of the Ethernet Alliance, and has held senior strategist and engineering positions at Dell, AppliedMicro, Intel and PMC-Sierra. The holder of multiple patents related to networking technologies, Brad has received awards from the IEEE for his work on Ethernet standards. He was listed as one of the 50 most powerful people in networking by Network World magazine.

Jim Brinksma headshotJim Brinksma, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Blue Planet, a division of Ciena

Jim Brinksma has over 15 years of technology experience spanning the department of defense, start-ups, financial services and Ciena.  He is currently Vice President of Strategy & Business Development for Ciena’s Blue Planet Division. In this role, he is responsible for expanding the Blue Orbit partner ecosystem to accelerate SDN and NFV adoption, engaging customer innovation centers to create next generation services and developing relationships across the start-up, financial services and open source communities.   
Jim’s previous roles include Vice President Field Systems Engineering & Customer Operations at Ciena, Vice President Network Products & Strategy at Goldman Sachs, Sr. Systems Engineer at Cyras Systems, Network Engineer at Enkido, and he served in the United States Navy during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
Jim’s doctorate is from University of Maryland and his dissertation covered “Public Market Signals as a Guide for Entrepreneurs Seeking Venture Capital Investment”. He also completed the Strategy and Innovation Program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, the Non-Profit Board Leadership Program at Harvard Business School, and is a National Association of Corporate Director’s Board Leadership Fellow.

Adam Carter headshotAdam Carter, Chief Commercial Officer, Oclaro

Dr. Carter has served as Oclaro’s Chief Commercial Officer since July 2014. Prior to joining Oclaro, he served as the Senior Director and General Manager of the Transceiver Module Group at Cisco from February 2008 to July 2014, where he was instrumental in the acquisition of Lightwire, a Silicon Photonics start-up. He also served as Cisco’s Marketing Director from February 2007 to February 2008. From September 1994 to February 2007, Dr. Carter held various strategic marketing and business development roles at Avago Technologies, Agilent Technologies and Hewlett Packard. In addition, Dr. Carter was a Process and Device Engineer at British Telecom & Dupont from November 1989 to September 1994. Dr. Carter holds a B.Sc. (Honors) in Applied Physics from Portsmouth University and received a PhD from the University of Wales, Cardiff, for his research on plasma etching of III-V semiconductor materials.

Chris Cole headshotChris Cole, Director, Transceiver Engineering, Finisar

Chris Cole is a Director at Finisar Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif. He received a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics, and B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At Hughes Aircraft Co. (now Boeing SDC) and then M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory, Chris contributed to multiple imaging and communication satellite programs such as Milstar. Later, he consulted on telecom ASIC architecture and design for Texas Instruments DSP Group and Silicon Systems Inc. (now Maxim.) Chris was one of the architects of the Sequoia coherent imaging ultrasound platform at Acuson Corp. (now Siemens Ultrasound), where he also managed hardware and software development groups. As a principal consultant with the Parallax Group he carried out signal processing analysis and product definition for several imaging and communication systems. At BBN, a Finisar acquisition, Chris developed 10 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s optical transceivers. He is now leading the development of 40 Gb/s, 100 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s optical standards and transceivers. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE.

Mitchell Fields, Vice President and General Manager, Broadcom Limited

Dr. Mitchell Fields is the Vice President and General Manager of the Fiber Optics Product Division at Broadcom Limited.  His organization designs, develops, and manufactures lasers, detectors, integrated circuits, and optical subassemblies that serve a broad range of applications including consumer, FTTH, data center, and metro/long-haul DWDM transport.  With over 14 years of experience in the fiber-optic industry, Dr. Fields has presented multiple invited and contributed talks and participated in multiple workshops and panels at conferences around the world addressing poignant topics on fiber optics communications.  Prior to joining Avago in 2005, Dr. Fields held research and architecture positions at MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Sycamore Networks.  He has a B.S. in Mathematics from SUNY Binghamton and a Ph. D. in Physics from Yale.

Tom Giunta headshotTom Giunta, Sr. Director, Product Management, Optics, TE Connectivity

Tom is responsible for Product Management of TE’s Active Optics product portfolio, including embedded optical modules, transceivers and active optical cables based on TE’s Coolbit optical engine platform.  Prior to TE, Tom held senior leadership roles in Product Management and Engineering, developing optical switching, transport and broadband access systems at Motorola, Ciena, Advanced Fibre Communications, Fujitsu and Alcatel.  Tom has an MBA from The W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and a BS in Computer Science from Florida International University.

Daryl Inniss headshotDaryl Inniss, Director, New Business Development, OFS

Daryl Inniss is Director, New Business Development at OFS Fitel. He was formerly Components Practice Leader at market research firm Ovum and RHK.  Daryl has been in the telecom industry for over 25 years.  He was Technical Manager at JDSU and Lucent Technologies, Bell Laboratories.  Daryl started his career as a Member of the Technical Staff, AT&T Bell Labs.  Daryl holds a PhD in Chemistry from UCLA and an AB from Princeton University.

Tom Issenhuth headshotTom Issenhuth, Optical Network Architect, Azure Networking, Microsoft

Tom Issenhuth is responsible for the architecture and roadmap of the Microsoft’s optical networks both inside and outside the data centers.  He joined Microsoft in this position in November 2011.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Tom was the Principal Network Architect for the Level 3 Communications optical network since the company’s inception in 1997 until November 2011.  In 2012 Level 3 operated the largest Internet Service Provider network in the world which services over 2,700 major corporations in 450 markets with over 100,000 route miles of fiber.  Tom’s optical responsibilities included metro, intercity and trans-oceanic networks in North America, Europe and Asia.  With the initial Level 3 optical network Tom lead the effort that drove the optical industry to focus on cost in their network designs resulting in greater reach and lower costs.  With the start of web scale growth in the Level 3 network Tom led the effort that worked with optical equipment vendors to develop the required capabilities, scale and industry leading pricing which allowed Level 3 to support the largest Internet backbone and wave business in the world. 
Prior to joining Level 3 in 1997, Tom spent 9 years at Metropolitan Fiber Systems (MFS) where he designed and deployed numerous metro fiber networks in North America and Europe.  At MFS Tom led the effort to transition away from asynchronous optical equipment to SONET equipment which resulted in the first major SONET deployment in the US.  Tom was based in Europe for three years where he led the effort to expand the MFS optical networks to Europe and was instrumental in designing one of the first non-consortium trans-Atlantic cable systems.   

Walter Jankovic headshotWalter Jankovic, Senior Vice President, Communications and ISP Markets, Celestica

Walter Jankovic is Senior Vice President of Communications and Internet Service Provider (ISP) Markets at Celestica, where he is responsible for charting and executing Celestica’s strategy for participation in these evolving markets.  Walter plays a key role in strengthening and expanding Celestica’s customer relationships and further diversifying our customer base.  He leads a team of innovators, who are focused on developing and executing industry-leading solutions for customers in these dynamic markets.
Previously, Walter was Vice President and General Manager of a Global Customer Business Unit at Celestica, where he developed the strategy and drove execution for one of Celestica’s largest customers.  Prior to joining Celestica in 2005, he was at Nortel Networks, where he held senior-level roles for 13 years.
With over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications market, and a background in business development, commercial management, finance and operations, Walter is passionate about developing innovative solutions that accelerate his customers' success.

Madhu Krishnaswamy headshotMadhu Krishnaswamy, Director, Product Line Management, Optical Communications, Lumentum

Madhu is responsible for product and business management of Lumentum’s optical subsystems, including ROADM-on-a-Blade and SDN Elements product lines. Madhu has 17 years of experience within optical networking, in R&D, product management, and entrepreneurial capacities at JDSU, Ceyba and Nortel. Madhu has a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Hong Liu headshotHong Liu, Principal Engineer, Google

Hong Liu is a Principal Engineer at Google Technical Infrastructure, where she is involved in the system architecture and interconnect for a large-scale computing platform. Her research interests include interconnection networks, high-speed signaling, optical access and metro design. Prior to joining Google, Hong was a Member of Technical Staff at Juniper Networks, where she worked on the architecture and design of network core routers and multi-chassis switches.  Hong received her Ph.D in electrical engineering from Stanford University.

Christophe Metivier headshotChristophe Metivier, Vice President, Manufacturing and Platform Engineering, Artista Networks

Christophe has a twenty-year track record of bringing to market successful products and innovations in the networking, optical and computer industries. Prior to this, Christophe was at Cisco for more than 15 years. He held several leadership roles as VP/GM of the Catalyst 4500 platforms, VP of Engineering for the 6500 System and General Manager of the Transceiver Module Group where he drove the 10G optics form factor transition. Christophe was one of the first 4 employees at Granite Systems in 1995. Previously he worked in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University on caching architectures and distributed systems.

Christophe holds a MSEE from the University of Toulouse in France.

Guru Parulkar headshotGuru Parulkar, Executive Director, Open Networking Lab

Guru Parulkar is Executive Director of Open Networking Research Center, Executive Director of Open Networking Lab, and Consulting Professor of EE at Stanford University.
Guru has been in the field of networking for over 25 years. He joined Stanford in 2007 as Executive Director of its Clean Slate Internet Design Program.  At Stanford Guru helped create three programs: OpenFlow / Software-Defined Networking, Programmable Open Mobile Internet 2020, and Stanford Experimental Data Center Laboratory.
Prior to Stanford, Guru spent four years at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and worked with the broader research community to create programs such as GENI, Future Internet Design, and Network of Sensor Systems. Guru received NSF Director's award for Program Management excellence.
Before NSF Guru founded several startups including Growth Networks (acquired by Cisco) and Sceos (IPO’d as Ruckus Wireless). Guru served as Entrepreneur in Residence at NEA in 2001 and received NEA's Entrepreneurship Award.
Prior to this Guru spent over 12 years at Washington University in St. Louis where he was a Professor of Computer Science, Director of Applied Research Laboratory and the head of research and prototyping of high performance networking and multimedia systems.
Guru received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Delaware in 1987. Guru is a recipient of the Alumni Outstanding Achievement award and the Frank A. Pehrson Graduate Student Achievement award.

Katharine Schmidtke headshotKatharine Schmidtke, Optical Technology Strategy, Facebook

Katharine is responsible for Optical Technology Strategy at Facebook. She has a Ph.D. In non-linear optics from Southampton University in the UK and completed post doctoral research at Stanford University. She has more than 20 years experience in the Opto-Electronics industry, including positions at Finisar, JDSU and New Focus.

Andrew Schmitt headshotAndrew Schmitt, Founder and Analyst, Cigna AI

As the founder and principal of Cignal AI, Andrew Schmitt draws upon more than two decades of comprehensive experience in the optical network industry, first as a talented engineer and manager in the field and then as an industry analyst. He uses this first-hand knowledge to bring a unique perspective to his research.
At Cignal AI, Andrew leads quantitative and qualitative research on the networking market's entire supply chain – from carriers and equipment manufacturers to chips and components. He is quoted and consulted by industry publications such as Lightwave and Lightreading and is also part of the OFC planning committee. He is invited annually to speak at events such as OFC, ECOC, FOE, and IIR conferences as well as private events.  He is also a consultant to startups, carriers, vendors, and the investment community, where he provides insight on developing business opportunities and market strategy.
Prior to Cignal AI, Andrew ran a business unit for Vitesse Semiconductor and was a Principal Analyst at Infonetics Research and then at IHS.  He holds multiple engineering patents, and received his BS in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).  Andrew resides with his family in the New England area.

Rob Stone headshotRob Stone, Technical Director, Broadcom

Rob Stone is Technical Director within Broadcom’s Switch Architecture Team, with responsibility for interconnects. Before joining Broadcom, Rob was Vice President of Marketing and Program Management at Skorpios Technologies – a venture funded start-up specializing in next generation Silicon Photonics. Prior to Skorpios, Rob ran Emcore Corporations’s Telecom Fiber Optics Business Unit, where he launched a number of active tunable optical products  which have been widely deployed in worldwide communication systems, carrying the majority of the coherent backbone traffic. He has also held technical and management positions at Intel, Infinera, and Bandwidth 9. Rob has over 16 years of industry experience bringing optical communications technologies to market.

William WalkerWilliam WalkerDirector of Network/Cloud Architecture, CenturyLink

Bill’s technical expertise is in Capacity Management, Service Level Management, and systems, network, and infrastructure architecture.  He also has a strong background in Solaris and Unix based systems, as well as cloud systems architecture, virtualization and server systems architecture.  He has extensive experience in multiple industries, including telecommunications, energy, retail, banking and finance, government and public sector, and healthcare.  His past customers include much of the "Fortune Global 500", including diverse names such as eBay, Vodafone, Amazon, TracFone, Chase, PetroChina, OnStar/GM, GE, Intercontinental Hotel Group, MTN Group, Freddie Mac, NTT-DOCOMO, and China Merchant Bank.

Prior to CenturyLink, Bill was with Huawei, based in Shenzhen China.  At Huawei, Bill led the IoT, Smart CIty, and Carrier IT initiatives, and was an early supporter of SDN and NFV efforts.  Bill also worked in the CTO office at Huawei, designing SDN Federation and emerging security solutions for carriers.  Before Huawei, Bill was a Principal Engineer and Technical Director at Oracle and Sun Microsystems, where he spent most of his 12 years in Project Delivery, Consulting and Professional Services, both in the US, and in global roles based in China and India.  At Oracle, Bill was Director of Enterprise Architecture, creating business/IT integrations for key customer accounts in the US. 

Chongjin Xie headshotChongjin Xie, Chief Optical Architect Network, Alibaba

Chongjin Xie received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China in 1996 and 1999, respectively. He worked at Photonics laboratory, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden as a post-doctor from 1999 to 2001. Dr. Xie joined Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies (Now Nokia) in Holmdel, New Jersey, USA in 2001 and became a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff in 2013, doing research on optical communication systems and networks. He has been involved in research on high-capacity optical transmission systems and networks, from 10-Gb/s and 40-Gb/s direct-detection systems to 100-Gb/s and 400-Gbs coherent-detection systems. Dr. Xie joined Alibaba Group in Nov. 2014 as a senior director and chief optical network architect in Ali Infrastructure Service, in charge of datacenter optical technologies.

Dr. Xie has authored and co-authored more than 200 journal papers and conference publications, two book chapters and one book in print. He is an associate editor of Journal of Lightwave Technology, and has served as chairs, TPC chairs or TPC members in many conferences. Dr. Xie is a Fellow of OSA and a senior member of IEEE.


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OSA Executive Forum provides attendees with an exclusive opportunity to hear insider perspectives in an uncensored environment, while participating in high-level networking.

Join Executives from these Innovative Companies:
  • Alibaba
  • Arista Networks
  • Broadcom Limited
  • Celestica
  • CenturyLink
  • Ciena
  • Cigna AI
  • Facebook
  • Finisar
  • Google
  • Lumentum
  • Mellanox
  • Microsoft
  • Oclaro
  • OFS
  • Open Networking Lab
  • STMicroelectronics
  • TE Connectivity