OIDA Executive Forum at Laser Congress

OIDA Executive Forum at Laser Congress

08 November 2018
The Westin Boston Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts United States

OIDA Executive Forum is a half-day program that focuses on the business aspects of the laser market, spanning finance to new product development and complements the more technical nature of the collocated conferences on advanced solid-state lasers and laser applications. 

Some key questions for discussion will be:

  • Where is the laser industry today as an investment, and where is it headed? 
  • How healthy is the growth of the laser market.  Which segments are growing the most rapidly?  What are the threats to market growth?
  • Where are the opportunities in new mobile and innovative platforms for vehicles and robotics?
  • What are the weak links in the laser supply chain that supports these new platforms and end-products?
  • How do small and medium-size companies navigate the market in the midst of billion dollar laser companies?

Who should attend?

  • C-level executives and senior technical and strategic marketing staff from vendors of laser-based products
  • Investors
  • Analysts
  • Laser suppliers
  • Suppliers of laser materials and components

OIDA Executive Forum Planning Committee

Fred Leonberger, EOvation Advisors, USA  
Berthold Schmidt, Trumpf, Germany
Martin Seifert, USA



OIDA Executive Forum Schedule

Thursday, 8 November 2018

8:00 - 8:15 Welcome and Remarks
8:15 - 9:00

Keynote Presentation:

Lasers and Human Progress; How Much Further?

9:00 - 10:00 Session: Financial Perspective on the Laser Industry
10:00 - 10:45 Coffee Break 
10:45 - 11:30

Keynote Presentation:

OEM Perspective on Laser Technologies for the Next Generation Vehicles

Stefan Kienzle, Daimler AG 

11:30 - 12:25 Session: Lasers for Manufacturing Mobile Platforms
12:25 - 12:30 Closing Remarks
12:30 - 1:30 Networking Lunch

OIDA Executive Forum Keynotes

Lasers and Human Progress; How Much Further?
David Townes, Needham & Company, LLC
Energy use and energy efficiency is the engine of human progress.  Lasers in multiple applications are central to the more useful and efficient use of energy.  We are still in early stages of reaping the benefits of lasers in many different market applications.  Talk will focus on the dynamics, size and growth outlook of different applications of lasers and the fundamental energy drivers of the outlook for key applications. 

OEM Perspective on Laser Technologies for the Next Generation Vehicles
Stefan Kienzle, Daimler AG 
Based on the challenges of next generation vehicles (e.g. connectivity/autonomy/shared/electric) and the requirements for future body structures the growing importance of laser technology and use cases are explained. 


OIDA Executive Forum Panels

Session: Financial Perspective on the Laser Industry 
This panel will feature presentations followed by a moderated panel discussion on the laser industry from a financial perspective.  The panel will feature speakers from private investment banking and M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and corporate investment.  It will address perennial questions about consolidation, the availability or challenges to obtaining financial resources, and trends in the field that will affect the trajectory of the laser market.


Session: Lasers for Manufacturing Mobile Platforms 
This panel will feature presentations followed by a moderated panel discussion of the opportunities and challenges to the commercialization of lasers for future mobile platforms. The latter include electric powered or hybrid cars, trains, aircrafts, new power grids, autonomous robots, and so forth. Those technologies are enabled by ultralightweight engines, batteries, and autonomous control systems which require new material combinations, sensors, and smart design approaches. What are the opportunities and challenges for lasers in this new manufacturing environment in terms of wavelengths, power, mode of operation, connectivity, and I4.0.  What are the price points for these items that need to be met to make it really happen?  Is there new territory where laser-based tools can displace other technologies or expand on current ones?




Conard Holton, Editor at Large, Laser Focus World, USA

Conard Holton has 30 years of science and technology editing and writing experience, and was formerly a staff member and consultant for government agencies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, and for engineering companies such as Bechtel. He joined Laser Focus World in 1997 as senior editor, becoming editor in chief of WDM Solutions, which he founded in 1999. In 2003 he joined Vision Systems Design as editor in chief, until becoming editor in chief of Laser Focus World, from 2011 to 2018.

Stefan KienzleDirector Adv.Engineering Body, Manufacturing, Components, Interior, Exterior, Daimler AG, Germany

Dr. Stefan Kienzle started at Daimler-Benz in 1988 in production/tooling engineering on AI-based development of new body technologies.  Since then, Dr. Kienzle has held various positions within Daimler that include group leader in process engineering for the development of the first computer-based diagnosis system for vehicle electronics (“IS-Tester”), senior manager for purchasing engine management systems, head of the international Daimler-Chrysler merger strategy-team for purchasing, and strategic project leader of the new 4-cylinder engine generation which became the baseline for the common engine concepts with Chrysler.  Dr. Kienzle tenure at Daimler included being the Sen. Manager Purchasing & Quality Exterior, Cabin and Body Parts (first and until today largest online bidding with Covisint for Mercedes M-Class, worth: 2.8b$) as well as the Sen. Manager for advanced engineering exterior, body, cabin and materials and the Director of Group Research Production Technologies for Structural Materials. He was also the Director Adv. Engineering Lightweight/Manufacturing/Body & Powertrain and currently as the Director Adv. Engineering Body, Components, Light, Interior, Exterior where he focuses on next generation Mercedes Rear wheel and EV platforms and Technology/Innovation Strategy Leader for DAIMLER Truck, Van, Buses, Cars.

Dr. Kienzle studied mechanical engineering and received his doctoral degree in CAE-Simulation methods for deep drawing blankholder design.  He is a member of the advisory board for the Fraunhofer Society, a member of German Federal Material/Simulation Strategy Council, Berlin and a lecturer for the University Karlsruhe on “CAE / Multimaterial Lightweight Body Design.”

Ralf Kimmel, General Manager, Laser Division, TRUMPF, USA

Since 2000 Ralf Kimmel has been in numerous positions active in laser sales and industry management. Ralf has strong experience in laser applications in automotive industry and key account management. The competence fields are of a wide range from classical body in white laser welding and cutting to developments of several new laser applications. 

Since 2017, Ralf has been responsible as General Manager for the TRUMPF laser division business in North America. This includes the responsibility for service, application and sales. The TRUMPF laser technology center is one of the biggest TRUMPF sales subsidiaries within the laser division and provides laser technology to USA, Mexico and Canada. Strong business drivers are automotive industry, additive manufacturing with laser technologies, applications in e-mobility, consumer electronics and medical industries.  

Ralf studied mechanical engineering with focus on cybernetics at the Universität Stuttgart.  His career started in 1996 as a designing engineer at Robert Bosch GmbH in Stuttgart and continued as a project manager in the national German aeronautics and space research centre. After 3 years, Ralf joined TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik, which was the first touch with laser technology. 


Linda Smith, President, Ceres Technology Advisors, Inc., USA

Linda has more than 25 years experience in the photonics industry, including merger & acquisition advisory, strategic marketing, product management, sales and engineering.  At Ceres, Linda leads buy and sell side M & A advisory engagements with clients spanning a full spectrum of photonics enabled markets - from multi billion dollar corporations and private equity firms to entrepreneur-operated and privately held companies.  

Linda’s operating experience crosses a wide breadth of markets - from optical components and lasers to clinical and analytical instrumentation and medical devices to pharmaceutical and semiconductor equipment. She held senior marketing and sales management positions at market leaders, Thermo Electron/Newport/Spectra Physics, and QIOPTIQ/Excelitas. She also held executive marketing positions at emerging, venture capital funded companies commercializing silicon based integrated optics and MEMS technologies.

She is a member of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning WomenTM and Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), specializing in valuation of privately held businesses.  Linda holds B.S. degrees in Optics and Mathematics from University of Rochester and M.B.A. from Babson College.

David TownesCo-Founder, Needham & Company, USA

David Townes co-founded Needham & Company in 1985.  Having completed well over 100 IPO, Follow-on and M&A transactions at the firm, David has been responsible for many of the firm’s clients in lasers, photonics, terrestrial and space communications, test and measurement equipment, medical devices, high-frequency electronics, high-performance computing, advanced materials, semiconductors, semiconductor and electronics capital equipment, automation, engineering software, business services databases and software, photovoltaics, energy efficiency, display and imaging technologies, data storage technology, and a range of other technologies.  

David’s clients in the laser industry have included Cymer (now ASML), IPG Photonics, GSI Lumonics (now Novanta), Excel Technology (now Novanta), IIVI, Newport/Spectra Physics (now MKS Instruments) and Energetiq Technology (now Hamamatsu Photonics).  Among companies using lasers in their products, his clients have included:  Electro Scientific Industries, Tencor Instruments (now KLA-Tencor), ETEC Systems (now Applied Materials), Cynosure (now Hologic), Candela Laser (acquired by Syneron Medical, now Apax Partners), Surgical Laser Technologies (now FC Global), NeoPhotonics, Nanometrics, Bookham (now Oclaro merging with Lumentum), Finisar, Nova Measuring Instruments, August Technology (now Rudolph Technologies).  

David has an academic background in physics, economics, law and finance.  He attended Oberlin College; University College, Oxford; Harvard Law School; and NYU Business School.  

Sri Venkat, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Coherent, USA

Sri Venkat is Senior Vice President and General Manager at Coherent, and is responsible for the company’s High Power Fiber Laser and CO2 products, which includes products from legacy Rofin Sinar acquired by Coherent in 2017. His group is responsible for the design and manufacture of lasers, components and rails primarily into the materials processing and microelectronics markets worldwide. Prior to this role, he was Senior Vice President and General Manager for the company’s Commercial Lasers & Components Segment, which designed and manufactured lasers and laser-related components into the materials processing and life sciences markets. He joined Coherent in 1998 as a Staff Applications Engineer and has held progressively increasing responsibilities in Product Line Management, Strategic Marketing and General Management. Prior to joining Coherent, he was applications manager for Convergent Energy, a laser tools provider in the materials processing segment. He has served as a Board Member for the Laser Institute of America and been active in the community serving as a volunteer Board Member for non-profits supporting the homeless community and underprivileged children. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Metallurgical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, India, a Master’s degree in Welding Engineering from the Ohio State University, and an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University.



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