Leadership Team

  • Joanna Jannson, Ph.D.
    Joanna Jannson, Ph.D.
    Chief Executive Officer
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    Dr. Joanna Jannson, President, Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Physical Optics, has over 30 years of technical and business experience in high-technology environments. Under her stewardship, POC’s annual sales grew to their present level of $50 million. Since POC’s inception in 1985, she has also provided the company with successful strategies for expansion that included launching several spin-off companies and joint ventures in the areas of millimeter wave optics, remote lighting, biochemical sensing, fiber optic communications and displays. Prior to POC, Dr. Jannson was Director of Optics at National Technical Systems, Inc. and Senior Scientist at Shiley, Inc. Dr. Jannson received her MS degree in Physics from the University of Warsaw in 1974 and her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1984. She is the author or co-author of over 60 publications and patents. Over the past years she has also been a board member or an advisor at various commercial and government organizations.

  • Gajendra Savant, Ph.D.
    Gajendra Savant, Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President,
    Chief Operating Officer
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    Dr. Gajendra Savant, Chief Operating Officer, has over 20 years of experience applying materials technology to optical and optoelectronic device manufacturing. After completing his M.S. at Shivaji University, Kolhapur, and his Ph.D. at the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India (1979), Dr. Savant continued his research as a postdoctoral fellow in New Mexico and as a member of the technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. Since joining POC in 1986, Dr. Savant has been instrumental in the company’s technology development and business growth. He is the inventor of POC’s submicron replication technology, a new class of polymer-based grafts and 3D optical memory. Dr. Savant successfully launched the company’s diffuser production line, overseeing the development and mass production of high-brightness screens for laptops, personal digital assistants, and cell phones, and for lighting and instrumentation. He has outstanding expertise in translating technical concepts into prototypes and production in accordance with market needs, and is actively directing the transition of technology from Phase II to Phase III and volume production. Dr. Savant has been COO since 1996 and leads 6 technical divisions, including Avionics Products, Manufacturing, and Business Operations. He has published more than 75 papers in international and U.S. journals, and has 34 patents granted and 16 patent applications.

  • Gordon Drew, MBA
    Gordon Drew, MBA
    Senior Vice President,
    Chief Financial Officer
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    Mr. Gordon Drew, Chief Financial Officer and Sr. Vice President of Finance and Administration, has more than 35 years of management experience in technology research, manufacturing, and marketing companies. At Physical Optics, he has been instrumental in the planning, creation and building of subsidiary operations focused on specific proprietary technologies. Functional responsibilities include development of business plans and strategies; and management of the administration, human resources, contracts, and accounting departments. He also formed an ESOP to finance and restructure equity, installed an ISO 9001 quality system, and negotiated bank financing for the company. He presently serves as a member of the board of directors of Luminit LLC, Broadata Communications, Conveyant Systems, and CEA Technologies, and as Assistant Secretary of the Board of Physical Optics Corporation. In his positions as CEO at Conveyant Systems, Inc. and CFO at CXC Corporation, he was responsible for the development of distribution agreements with domestic and international telephone companies, implementation of quality management systems to support manufacturing, and negotiations for significant business and licensing agreements. Prior to joining POC, Mr. Drew held the positions of financial planning manager at Pertec Computer Corporation and assistant program manager and financial manager within the Government Systems Division at Rockwell International. He earned his B.S. in mathematics from Northern Arizona University and his M.B.A., with an emphasis on finance and accounting, from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Tomasz Jannson, Ph.D.
    Tomasz Jannson, Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President,
    Chief Technology Officer
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    Dr. Tomasz Jannson, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, is an expert in physical optics, diffraction, phase conjugation, coherence, and optical information processing. Dr. Jannson has decades of experience in coherence, optical signal processing, optical data storage, image recognition, fiber optics, integrated optics, wireless communication, and neural networks. He received his M.S.E.E. in 1968 and his Ph.D. in physics in 1973 from Warsaw Technical University, Poland, where he continued his research as faculty member, director of two optical laboratories, and Principal Investigator of several research programs in the areas of information processing, holography, and electro-optics. When he co-founded Physical Optics Corporation in 1985, he became a leading force in orienting the company toward applications and product-oriented photonic technologies. Recently for over a year Dr. Jannson successfully managed POC’s manufacturing operations. In his previous employment, he held such positions as Associate Professor and Faculty Member of the Warsaw Technical University, General Manager and Chief Optical Scientist of the R&D division of National Technical Systems, Inc., and Technical Staff Member at Northrop Research Center, where he co-invented Northrop's neuro-optic processor architecture. He is also the inventor of holoplanar technology, as well as co-author of over 50 patents and patent applications, and more than 100 articles in international journals. He has been the Principal Investigator of more than 30 U.S. government contracts in the fields of holography, laser hardening, neural nets, optoelectronic systems, optical computing, and fiber optics. Dr. Jannson is a fellow of the SPIE.

  • Rick Shie, MBA
    Rick Shie, MBA
    Chief Strategic Officer
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    Mr. Rick Shie, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, is responsible for POC corporate marketing and business development. Rick has over 34 years of experience in this area, much of which has been in senior leadership roles for rapidly growing high technology companies. The broad industry experience he draws upon includes banking and finance, training and development, high technology manufacturing, advanced technology transitioning, corporate management, technical business development, product management, marketing and sales. Rick has a successful record of executing both commercial business on a worldwide basis and developing government business for highly advanced technology and products. He received his M.B.A. from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, and his B.S. from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. Rick joined Physical Optics Corporation in 1993, and has been a critical part of the senior leadership team that has grown POC into a rapidly growing and innovative $50M a year business. He has served POC primarily in strategic roles, but also has managed and performed government relations, business development, marketing and sales functions. As a senior manager of POC, he makes critical contributions to the company’s government, military and defense, and commercial expansions, largely by transitioning products from research and development into the military, defense, and commercial marketplace. Mr. Shie develops corporate strategy, provides critical thinking, and has built an effective marketing network that has contributed to the growth of the company that includes 6 spin-off companies. Mr. Shie sits on the Board of Directors of Luminit, LLC, and Broadata Communications, Inc. (previously). Rick serves on the small business advisory council in the district, and is active in small business issues, legislation and job growth. He holds numerous patents (jointly), and is an invited speaker. He is a frequent speaker on technology, marketing, international and small business issues, and presented a keynote address at the Global Venture Forum sponsored by the Osaka, Japan Chamber of Commerce.

  • Andrew Kostrzewski, Ph.D.
    Andrew Kostrzewski, Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President,
    Chief Engineer
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    Dr. Andrew Kostrzewski, Senior Vice President, Strategic Technologies, and Chief Engineer, has over 25 years of experience in compression, signal processing, communications, authentication, and optoelectronic hardware development. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the City University of New York in 1990 and a B.S. in telecommunications in 1979. He has strong expertise in soft computing, fuzzy logic, and neural networks. Recently, much of Dr. Kostrzewski’s effort has concentrated on development of a new approach to data compression based on intelligent frame management algorithms compatible with MPEG 1, MPEG-2, and MJPEG and also making use of wavelet compression. This data compression approach is proving to be enabling technology for a broad variety of applications. He is the inventor of intelligent frame management and object-oriented low-bandwidth compression, which are critical to next-generation portable video communications. Dr. Kostrzewski manages projects for surveillance, battlefield wireless communication, flight data recording, and smart munitions, and for encryption of wireless communication. He directed the development of the first truly secure authentication system based on quasi-random encoding, and is leading POC’s development of a next-generation crash survivable flight data recorder for analog and digital incident/structural data/engine monitoring and video data. Among his recent accomplishments is the development and demonstration to the White House Staff of an electronic dogtag for storing medical records, the Wireless Personal Information Carrier. He is also developing wireless digital download modules of this recorder for the Navy. Dr. Kostrzewski has served as Principal Investigator and Project Manager for more than 40 government and commercial contracts. One of these, “A Highly Robust, Self Correcting Fuzzy Controlled Neural Network for Sensor Fusion,” was awarded one of five U.S. Army SBIR Phase II Quality Awards in 1998. He has published more than 100 research papers and has nine patents granted and three patent applications pending.

  • Kevin Walter Ph.D.
    Kevin Walter Ph.D.
    Senior Vice President,
    Chief Administrative Officer
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    Dr. Kevin Walter, Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President, Administrative Operations, has 20+ years of management experience in high-tech industries. Dr. Walter directs many functions including Contracts, Purchasing, Proposals & Publications, Quality, Compliance, Security, Management Information Systems (MIS), and Recruiting. In his former position at POC as Vice President and General Manager of the Products & Engineering Division, he oversaw numerous development programs, established robust quality systems (AS9100 and CMMI), and transitioned multiple POC innovations into production. His experience spans a range of materials for particular devices including laser reflective surfaces, molten alkaline fuel cells, and electronics, plus a range of functions including research, production supervision, production equipment scale-up, and development of specialized facilities. Prior to POC, he worked at Scientific Applications & Research Associates (SARA), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and five nanotechnology/nanomaterial companies (he co-founded two of them).  He earned his B.S. in Engineering Physics from Texas Tech University in 1988 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science from University of Wisconsin, in 1990 and 1993 respectively.  He holds an R&D 100 Award for Enhancing Materials Surfaces (1997), and memberships in Sigma Pi Sigma (physics honorary), Kappa Mu Epsilon (math honorary), and Tau Beta Pi (engineering honorary).  He has over 70 technical publications, has contributed to 5 books, and has 11 patents.