Today, the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), an alliance of top scientific societies uniting industry and academia to raise awareness of photonics, formally announced that Edward ("Ed") White, associate vice president of Test, Assembly and Packaging and corporate outreach for AIM Photonics, will succeed Alan Willner as chair of the NPI Steering Committee. White, who has served on the NPI Steering Committee since December 2015, will assume his new role as chair effective immediately.
"I am delighted to announce that our distinguished friend Ed White will become the next chair of the NPI Steering Committee," said Willner. "As a longtime leading voice within the optics and photonics community, Ed brings a wealth of wisdom and private-sector expertise to the NPI. I know that there are truly great things to come under his leadership."
Serving as a Corporate Outreach Executive for AIM Photonics, Ed is responsible for: identifying companies that would participate in and benefit from improvements in the manufacturing of photonic integrated circuits; educating the community about the merits of photonic integrated devices; and increasing membership in AIM Photonics. He is also focused on AIM Photonics' sustainability post-government funding. In addition to these duties, Ed is the associate vice president of AIM Photonics' Test, Assembly and Packaging business located in Rochester. In this role, Ed is responsible for launching the new AIM Photonics facility and ongoing business operations. A native of New York State, Ed began his career at Kodak after earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester. He later went on to earn his MBA, also from the University of Rochester. After leaving Kodak in 2009, Ed founded Edward White Consulting, LLC.
"It is an honor to serve as chair of an organization that for the past several years has successfully united our community to advance optics and photonics in the United States," said White. "I extend my deepest thanks to Alan Willner for his years of leadership and friendship. We are enormously grateful for his dedication and passion for our industry, and applaud his many accomplishments as chair of the NPI."
During his term (August 2015-July 2017) as chair, Willner worked to identify key optics and photonics technologies that could benefit different areas of critical importance to the US, including future high performance computing and quantum information systems. He also oversaw efforts to establish a task force to develop a white paper and cancer technology road map to accelerate progress in cancer diagnosis. The NPI's many congressional wins during Willner's term include passage of the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, which was signed into law by President Obama; successful support of the 21st Century Cures Act, also signed into law by President Obama; and securing optics and photonics internships language in the Senate-introduced Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (CTE) in September 2016.
"As a community, we have made wonderful progress, and I am quite optimistic that optics and photonics will continue to flourish for the betterment of society," added Willner. "It has been a great privilege to be part of this unique collaboration, and I look forward to assisting Ed and continuing the work as a member of the NPI Steering Committee."
Willner succeeded Tom Baer, who served as chair of the NPI from its inception in May 2013 through July 2015. Baer, Willner and White served together on the National Academies committee that drafted, Optics and Photonics: Essential Technologies for Our Nation – the report that recommended a national photonics initiative.
About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit www.lightourfuture.org.