Our Team

Alan Liu, Quintessent
Alan Liu
CEO

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
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

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
BOARD MEMBER

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.

Milton Chang, Quintessent
Milton Chang
ADVISOR

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
ADVISOR

Chris is currently an Adviser in the Office of the CTO at II-VI. Previously he was Vice President, Systems Engineering, at an ML start-up investigating optical computing. Prior, he was Vice President, Advanced Development, Finisar Corp. (acquired by 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.

Katharine Schmidtke, Quintessent
Katharine Schmidtke
ADVISOR

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.