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Our Team

Alan Liu, Quintessent
Alan Liu

Alan currently serves as the CEO of Quintessent. He was previously an Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton and advised on various photonics R&D programs for clients at DARPA and ARPA-E. Alan obtained his PhD from Professor John Bowers’ group at UCSB where he performed research that is now part of Quintessent’s core technology.  

John Bowers, Quintessent
John Bowers

John is a serial entrepreneur in the field of photonics and has co-founded Aurrion (acquired by Juniper Networks), Aerius Photonics (acquired by FLIR), Terabit Technologies (acquired by Ciena), Calient Technologies, and has been an advisor to many others. John currently holds appointments at the UCSB ECE/Materials departments, and also serves as Deputy CEO of AIM Photonics.

Alex Fang, Quintessent
Alex Fang

Alex is a managing partner at Entrada Ventures and serves on the Board of Quintessent. Alex was co-founder and CEO of Aurrion, which was a company he co-founded with Professor John Bowers to commercialize his thesis work at UCSB. Alex led Aurrion from its inception all the way to its eventual acquisition by Juniper Networks.

Manny Stockman, Quintessent
Manny Stockman

Manny is a Partner at Osage University Partners. At OUP he has focused on investment opportunities across semiconductors, optics, and computing, and he is a board member or observer at Quintessent, Opsys, SiFive, and NuMat. He joined the venture world after a career developing optical sensor technologies at Lockheed Martin after receiving his PhD in Applied Physics and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University.

Milton Chang, Quintessent
Milton Chang

Milton is managing partner of Incubic and was previously president of Newport Corporation and New Focus, which he took public. The companies he incubated have resulted in six IPOs and seven acquisitions. Milton is a Trustee of Caltech and served on the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies. He earned his BS from the University of Illinois and PhD from Caltech.

Chris Cole, Quintessent
Chris Cole

Chris is currently an Adviser to several optics companies. Previously he was Vice President, Advanced Development, Finisar Corp. (acquired by Coherent/II-VI) where he architected and led the development of 40, 100, 200 and 400 Gb/s Ethernet optical transceivers for Cloud Data Centers (DCs), and Carrier Central Offices (COs), leading to over $1 billion of Finisar and billions of optics industry revenue. Prior, at Hughes Aircraft (now Boeing), and Lincoln Laboratory he contributed to military communication satellites. At Acuson (now Siemens), he was an architect and senior manager of the first coherent ultrasound imager, which accounted for $5 billion in revenue. 

Katharine Schmidtke, Quintessent
Katharine Schmidtke

Katharine is Director of Sourcing for ASICs and Custom Silicon at Meta Platforms, the world’s largest social network and one of the five largest hyperscale-datacenter operators in worldwide. In this role she directs sourcing strategy for Meta’s custom AI/ML accelerator ASICs, and next generation interconnect technology. Katharine obtained a Ph.D. in non-linear optics from Southampton University in the UK and completed post-doctoral research at Stanford University. She has over 25 years’ experience in the Opto-Electronics industry including strategic roles at; New Focus, JDSU Uniphase, and Finisar Corporation.

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