AIM Photonics CEO leaving after 7 months

AIM Photonics is in search of a new leader.

The New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering and Science (NY CREATES) has appointed John Bowers, AIM Photonics’ deputy CEO and Distinguished Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, as acting executive director beginning Feb. 1, following the departure of current CEO Michael Cumbo, who is leaving the organization to join Artemis Capital Partners.

A nationwide search for a new CEO will begin next week, officials said.

“We thank Michael for his work leading AIM Photonics in 2020, and the business-like approach he established for the institute’s management and operations will have a lasting, positive impact,” said NY CREATES President Doug Grose. “In Dr. Bowers, we could not ask for a better interim leader and we have an experienced and highly capable team. Together, this team will continue to make significant contributions to advance the integrated photonics industry for years to come.”

Cumbo joined AIM Photonics as CEO in June 2020. He previously served as vice president of optics for ZYGO Corp. and is the founder and chairman of Sandia Electro-Optics Corp.

Michael Cumbo
Michael Cumbo

“It was a privilege to lead AIM Photonics during the past seven months. I am even more impressed today with the capabilities and dedication of this team than I was when I first joined it,” Cumbo said. “My decision to step down as the CEO is driven entirely by personal factors. I remain convinced of the vital importance of AIM’s mission to advance integrated photonic circuit manufacturing technology in the United States, and I look forward to continuing to be involved in an advisory capacity.”

During the transition, Bowers – a member of AIM Photonics leadership since the institution’s inception – will serve as acting executive director, while Grose will oversee day-to-day operations, financial and administrative functions, with the assistance of key AIM and NY CREATES staff.

John Bowers
John Bowers

“AIM Photonics is beginning to have a significant impact on the world of integrated photonics, but it is only the beginning, and Michael’s leadership has AIM well-positioned to accomplish much more in the years to come,” Bowers said. “While this is certainly a loss, it has been pleasure to have an individual of Mike’s qualifications leading the organization.”

A vital component of NY CREATES is AIM Photonics – the Albany and Rochester-based national manufacturing institute with more than 126 consortium members, including those focused on data communications, sensors, quantum and neuromorphic computing. AIM featured services include the industry-leading Process Design Kit (PDK), Multi-Project Wafer (MPW), and the Test, Assembly and Packaging (TAP) facility in Rochester. AIM’s comprehensive set of silicon Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) devices are enabling the implementation of next-generation products.

AIM Photonics is one of several Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, an industry-driven public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s premiere capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is both essential to national security and positioned to provide a compelling return-on-investment to the U.S. economy.

NY CREATES recently said it would receive $19 million in research program awards for advanced integrated photonics under The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Lasers for Universal Microscale Optical Systems (LUMOS) program. The LUMOS program will enable efficient on-chip optical gain in highly capable integrated photonics platforms. The DARPA contract will support a team of academic, industrial, and government partners, led by AIM Photonics, and continues the growth and expansion of this critical Department of Defense-funded manufacturing institute.

NY CREATES serves as New York’s bridge to the advanced electronics industry. As the primary resource for fostering public-private and academic partnerships in New York State, NY CREATES attracts and leads industry connected innovation and commercialization projects that secure significant investment, advance R&D in emerging technologies, and generate the jobs of tomorrow. The organization runs some of the most advanced facilities in the world, boasts more than 2,700 industry experts and faculty and manages public and private investments of more than $20 billion, placing it at the global epicenter of high-tech innovation and commercialization.

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AIM Photonics names Rochester native director

The New York Center for Research, Economic Advancement, Technology, Engineering and Science has chosen an optics industry veteran as the new leader of the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics (AIM Photonics).

Michael Cumbo
Michael Cumbo

Michael Cumbo will begin his role as executive director on July 6, officials said. He succeeds Michael Liehr in the role.

“The AIM Photonics executive team is pleased to welcome Dr. Cumbo, a highly experienced and accomplished technology executive, as the next leader of this important manufacturing institute,” said NY CREATES President Douglas Grose. “Mike brings valuable experience to AIM Photonics as a results-oriented, customer-centric technology business leader, in addition to his proven ability to move technology and teams ‘from lab to fab,’ and transforming new technologies into profitable businesses.”

AIM Photonics is the nation’s first Photonic Integrated Chip manufacturing institute advancing integrated photonic technology. The leadership change comes as AIM Photonics marks its fifth anniversary.

“AIM Photonics is advancing New York state’s leadership in optics, photonics and imaging by attracting industry innovators from across the globe, building on Gov. Cuomo’s targeted upstate investment that has grown the Finger Lakes region as an OPI industry hub,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President and CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “Dr. Michael Cumbo’s experience and leadership will no doubt help AIM to further expand its presence both statewide and around the world and we are pleased to officially welcome him aboard as the consortium’s new CEO.”

Prior to his new role, Cumbo served as vice president of optics for ZYGO Corp., a unit of AMETEK, which designs, develops and produces complex electro-optical systems and high-precision optical components for the medical and life sciences, defense and aerospace, semiconductor and industrial OEM markets.

Cumbo also is the founder and chairman of Sandia Electro-Optics Corp. in Albuquerque, N.M., an employee-owned enterprise devoted to the incubation of innovative measurement instruments in the life science and environmental sensing market segments.

“As we celebrate AIM Photonics’ 5-year anniversary and look to the next five years, what better way to celebrate than to welcome back to Rochester Michael Cumbo,” said Ed White, National Photonics Initiative chairman and associate vice president for AIM Photonics Test, Assembly and Packaging facility in Rochester. “AIM Photonics will benefit significantly from Mike’s technology leadership expertise, and I look forward to working with him to continue the advancement of the TAP facility and sharing his vision for the next five years and beyond.”

Prior to his work with ZYGO, Cumbo spent three decades managing various levels of photonic technology development across the globe, most recently as president of IDEX Optics & Photonics. He holds a Ph.D. in optics and an M.S. in optical engineering from the University of Rochester, as well as an M.S. in electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology.

“I am excited to be joining the talented team at AIM Photonics, the nation’s premier integrated photonics manufacturing institute,” Cumbo said. “The recent innovations and applications demonstrated by AIM Photonics are already changing the world as we know it. I’m honored to continue the efforts and look forward to expanding the technological opportunities in my home town of Rochester, N.Y., as well as within the state of New York and across the nation.”

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer