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SPIE appoints Kent Rochford as new CEO

06 Apr 2018

Former NIST top executive brings broad research, technology, and leadership experience; to replace retiring Eugene Arthurs.

New SPIE CEO Dr Kent Rochford.

New SPIE CEO Dr Kent Rochford.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has announced that Dr Kent Rochford is to be the organization’s new CEO. A strong technical background in the field of optics paired with a long career in organizational management and advocacy of scientific research makes Dr. Rochford the ideal candidate to follow Eugene Arthurs, who will retire from SPIE on June 2.

Most recently, Dr Rochford, a longtime SPIE member, was associate director for Laboratory Programs at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), providing direction and operational guidance for NIST’s scientific and technical laboratory programs with 2,800 staff and an $800 million budget. In this role, he represented the full breadth of laboratory activity to domestic and international constituencies, collaborators, stakeholders, the US Congress, and advisory boards.

Dr Rochford previously headed up NIST-Boulder Labs and the Communication Technology Laboratory in Colorado, utilizing measurement science to assist first-responder communications and spectrum-sharing and advanced communications technologies, as well as supporting the National Advanced Spectrum and Communications Test Network.

He has also served as chief of both the Quantum Electronics and Photonics and Optoelectronics Divisions at NIST, as well as acting director of the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory.

“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization during such an exciting time for optics and photonics,” said Dr Rochford. “I look forward to working with the SPIE Board, leadership, staff, and I’m thrilled to be part of SPIE’s efforts to advance this extraordinary field.”

Dr Rochford originally joined NIST in 1992 as a postdoctoral research associate, working on measurements and standards for sensing and communication. Between 2000 and 2002, he managed the engineering department of a startup optical-communications company, working on components for high-performance communication systems. On his return to NIST, he led the Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory Optoelectronics Division between 2003 and 2008.

He holds a PhD in optical sciences from the University of Arizona, a BS in electrical engineering from Arizona State University, and an MBA from the University of Colorado.

'Enhancing SPIE's mission'

“I am very delighted to welcome Kent as leader of the SPIE team,” said SPIE President Maryellen Giger. “His many years of working with the science of optics and its real-world applications, as well as his strengths in strategic planning, operational oversight, and organizational management, will enhance SPIE’s ongoing mission.

“I have full confidence that he will be instrumental in ensuring that SPIE continues to lead in our exciting field, and I look forward to working with him this year, as well as into the future. As Kent takes over leadership of SPIE, I want to acknowledge and greatly thank our retiring current CEO, Dr. Eugene Arthurs. Eugene's vision and endless efforts have strategically and continuously grown SPIE as the international leader in photonics and optics.”

Dr Arthurs added, “With his long involvement in the optics and photonics community, as well as the critical experience of applying the science to impactful, robust solutions useful to industry, Kent will be a terrific asset for SPIE in its global efforts. I look forward to his leadership of the SPIE staff and the outstanding work they do for the SPIE community as we strive together to further our understanding of our universe and improve lives using the extraordinary and versatile gift of light.”

• SPIE is the owner and publisher of optics.org.

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