SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, Appoints Kent Rochford as New CEO

Former NIST top executive brings broad research, technology, and leadership experience, deep expertise in photonics, and integral understanding of governmental, industry, and academic applications of photonics and optics.

06 April 2018

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA - SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, announced today that Kent Rochford will 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 2 June.

New SPIE CEO Kent RochfordMost recently, Rochford, a longtime SPIE member, was associate director for Laboratory Programs at 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 $800M budget. In this role, he represented the full breadth of laboratory activity to domestic and international constituencies, collaborators, stakeholders, the U.S. Congress, and advisory boards.

Rochford previously headed up NIST-Boulder Labs and the Communication Technology Laboratory (CTL) 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. This work provided measurement R&D and standards support for the optoelectronics and photonics industry, spanning communications, lasers, sensors, quantum optics, and materials.

"I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization during such an exciting time for optics and photonics," said Rochford. "I look forward to working with the SPIE Board, leadership, staff, and volunteers to build on their remarkable accomplishments. I've always felt privileged to work in photonics, and I'm thrilled to be part of SPIE's efforts to advance this extraordinary field."

Rochford originally joined NIST in 1992 as a postdoctoral research associate, conducting research 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.

Rochford 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.

"I am very delighted to welcome Kent as leader of the SPIE team," says 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 the ongoing mission of SPIE involving researchers, educators, government, and industry in advancing light-based research and technologies for the betterment of the human condition. Kent has the global experience required for the CEO leadership role, a deep appreciation of innovation, and a comprehensive understanding and knowledge of our members and constituents. 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."

"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," said SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs. "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."

Established more than 60 years ago as the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers, SPIE has operated as the international society for optics and photonics since 2007 to reflect an active global constituency. In its sixty-three year history, SPIE has had four previous executive directors. (The title evolved into "CEO" in 2006): Henry Sander, 1967 to 1969; Joseph Yaver, 1969 to 1993; James Pearson, 1993 to 1999; and Eugene Arthurs, 1999 to 2018.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2017, SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org.

Daneet Steffens
Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478