Synchronoss Names Christina Gabrys Chief Legal Officer
Jeremy Ostermiller, CEO & Co-founder of Edison Interactive is accepted into Forbes Business Council
Agora Data Announces Antonio Rajan as Chief Revenue Officer
Comcast Hires Dave Mandapat to Lead Comcast Business Marketing in Washington State
Comcast’s Elizabeth Bierman Selected as Women in Business Honoree by Minneapolis/ST. Paul Business Journal
Hollywood Movie Director Neill Blomkamp Joins Gunzilla Games As Chief Visionary Officer
Comcast Names Kalyn Hove Regional Senior Vice President for The Twin Cities Region
Lzzy Hale Joins Gibson As First Female Brand Ambassador and Gibson Gives Advisory Board Member
John Steven Joins ThreatModeler's Advisory Board
Martin Bernstein Joins Synchronoss Board of Directors
Edison Interactive Appoints Digital Transformation Changemaker David Cook as Chief Technology Officer
Edison Interactive, a leader in connected mobility solutions, today announced David Cook as the new Chief Technology Officer. Having spent much of his career focused on connected vehicles, the addition of Cook reinforces Edison’s mission to deliver customer-centric, connected mobility solutions in planes, trains, automobiles and everything in between. Cook will be responsible for leading the technology team and will oversee every aspect of Edison’s product and engineering efforts. His extensive experience within telematics, connected cars and fleet management will be invaluable in driving the company’s overall technology strategy forward, and ensuring the company is positioned for long-term growth and success. David Cook, Chief Technology Officer at Edison Interactive David Cook, Chief Technology Officer at Edison Interactive: “I’m excited about solving complex issues that will help the company with our core mission of delivering digitally transformative technology,” said Cook on his new role. “Edison has a great culture and great culture brings great people – I’m looking forward to leading and mentoring this team of talented engineers and developers.” Cook held previous leadership positions within Mercedes-Benz mbrace®, Hughes In-Drive®, OnStar, SiriusXM, Verizon, Oracle and Hyundai Blue Link. Additionally, he was the 2012 recipient of Best Telematics Service Provider and a finalist for the TM Forum Business Innovation Award. With his past experience and accomplishments in connected mobility, Cook will be well-positioned to lead Edison through continued digital transformation and provide a fresh perspective on Edison’s core pillars that include infotainment, asset tracking, telematics and monetization. “The addition of David Cook will mark a new chapter for Edison. Our company has experienced rapid growth and evolution since our inception. The chief technology officer is a crucial role within our organization and Cook brings a vast amount of experience that aligns with our mission,” said Jeremy Ostermiller, CEO and co-founder of Edison Interactive. “He will be instrumental in accelerating our innovation and building a world-class team. I’m tremendously excited to see how our technology continues to transform under his leadership and confident he will have an immediate, positive impact not only for our team but our clients and partners as well.”
LIQUI MOLY: Ernst Prost announces his departure
The managing director of LIQUI MOLY will retire after his 65th birthday in February 2022. After 31 years with LIQUI MOLY, Ernst Prost has announced that he will leave the company on February 22, 2022. Under his leadership, LIQUI MOLY grew from a small supplier of additives for cars to a global specialist in automotive chemicals. Today, the CEO announced his departure in a letter to his colleagues.
Nawa Technologies Strengthens Leadership Team with Appointment of Reinhardt Peper as Chairman of The Board
NAWA Technologies (NAWA), pioneers of advanced nano-materials for energy storage and advanced composite applications, is delighted to welcome Reinhardt Peper to the Board of Directors. The experienced automotive global business leader joins the company as Chairman, effective June 24 2021. The role of Chairman was previously held by Company Founder Pascal Boulanger, who remains a board member and will now concentrate solely on his responsibilities as CTO and COO of NAWA Technologies. Ulrik Grape, who joined the company in 2017, remains CEO. Recently holding the position of CEO at Robert Bosch Battery Systems, LLC for eight years, Peper is renowned for his exceptional experience in the fields of battery systems and technologies and automotive electric powertrain. Peper’s former roles also include that of CEO of Cobasys LLC, a wholly owned company of SBLimotive, a joint venture of Bosch and Samsung SDI founded in 2008 to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries for use in HEV PHEV and EVs. Reinhardt Peper, Chairman of the Board, NAWA Technologies, said: “I am honoured to join NAWA Technologies at such an exciting time. The company’s rapid expansion under Pascal Boulanger and Ulrik Grape’s leadership, with the establishment of divisions both in France and the US and the recent start of production of its pioneering Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube (VACNT) material, which delivers unprecedented advances in energy storage and multifunctional composites, proves the calibre of everyone working at NAWA and the scale of ambition for the future." Ulrik Grape, CEO of NAWA said: “We are delighted to welcome Reinhardt Peper to his new position as Chairman of the Board at NAWA. The breadth of experience he brings from his leadership of Bosch and SB LiMotive is an ideal fit. It will further accelerate and help us build a strong customer and partnership strategy towards new and existing global OEM customers in fields such as automotive, power tools, and sensor-based IoT. On behalf of everyone at NAWA we look forward to working with Reinhardt to advance NAWA to the next stage.” Pascal Boulanger, CTO and COO of NAWA Technologies, said: “I am very pleased that Reinhardt Peper has joined NAWA, his experience is a huge asset as we enter our most important global growth phase. Handing the baton of Chairman to him allows me to remain on the board and fully focus my attention on technical development of our nano-material, further realising the vision of the company.”
Synchronoss Announces CFO Transition Plan
Synchronoss Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNCR), a global leader and innovator of cloud, messaging and digital products and platforms, today announced a CFO transition plan with current Chief Financial Officer (CFO) David Clark stepping down from his role on August 9, 2021, to pursue other personal and career interests. Clark’s transition is unrelated to the Company’s financial reporting and business performance, and the Company is reaffirming 2021 guidance previously provided on May 10, 2021, in parallel with today’s announcement. Clark was appointed CFO in August 2018. Commenting on Clark’s departure, Jeff Miller, President and CEO of Synchronoss, said: “I’ve enjoyed working alongside David and thank him for his commitment to the Company. David joined Synchronoss to make enhancements to our operational controls and reporting. During his tenure he has helped Synchronoss navigate successfully through significant improvements in management of operating expenses and implementation of financial governance and controls. I firmly believe his contributions have positioned us for future growth and success. On a personal note, I wish him only the best with his future endeavors and appreciate his support during this leadership transition.” An executive search for Clark’s replacement is currently underway. He will remain in his current role until his departure date and will support Synchronoss as it transitions the CFO role to a successor.
Aaron Herps steps up as General Manager of AVIA’s Coalition Against Piracy
The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) has appointed Aaron Herps as the General Manager of its Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), following the departure of Neil Gane, who leaves AVIA to take up a position with the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. Herps joined AVIA in 2019 as the Operations Manager for CAP, working alongside Gane on all CAP initiatives from government outreach to criminal investigations and associated enforcement actions against syndicates and streaming website operators in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In his role as General Manager of CAP, Herps will build on the strong legacy that he and Gane have built, maintaining the coalitions and alliances across the industry which have made CAP so effective and continuing to provide expert technical and forensic analysis of the shifting state of the piracy ecosystem to members and government officials. “Aaron has been instrumental to the success of CAP over the last two years so it gives me great pleasure to see him now taking over the role of General Manager. The fight against piracy never remains static but Aaron has the creativity and skills to lead our industry’s efforts as both the threat and our response to it evolve. I am looking forward to the next chapter of CAP,” said Louis Boswell, CEO, AVIA. Herps has over 15 years of content protection experience in the sports and entertainment industries across Asia Pacific. Prior to joining AVIA, Herps was Manager of Digital Content Protection for Asia Pacific at beIN Media Group and was the Senior Manager of Global Content Protection at the Motion Picture Association of America for more than a decade.
Operative Experience promotes Justin Weitzenfeld to SVP Operations/CFO
Operative Experience (OEI), a leading developer of healthcare simulation and education solutions, today announced the promotion of OEI’s CFO, Justin Weitzenfeld to Senior Vice President Operations/CFO, responsible for all finance and manufacturing operations at the company’s headquarters in North East, Maryland. “Justin has been a key part of our success, and we are thrilled to promote him to this important position,” said OEI’s Chairman and CEO, Lou Oberndorf. “Justin has helped guide the company through a time of tremendous growth in both our product offering and manufacturing capability.” Weitzenfeld joined OEI in 2018 with over 15 years of experience in accounting, finance, and investor relations. Has was previously Director of M&A Operations Integration at Relias Learning, a leading SAAS provider in eLearning, and Chief Financial Officer for Redilearning, an eLearning and training solution for senior living care providers. Weitzenfeld will continue to serve as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Purdue researchers receive Amazon Research Award for streaming video analytics method on IoT devices
Purdue University researchers received an Amazon Research Award for their development of a method to perform analytics on streaming video running on small devices linked together in the Internet of Things (IoT). This method can perform computationally expensive tasks, such as object detection and face recognition, in real time and provide guarantees about the accuracy. Saurabh Bagchi, professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science (by courtesy) at Purdue University, and his team developed the method in collaboration with researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The work was recently recognized by Amazon Web Services (AWS) through the Amazon Research Awards (ARA) program, one of 18 awardees in the Applied Machine Learning worldwide competition. The program oﬀers unrestricted funds and AWS promotional credits to support research at academic institutions and nonprofit organizations. “It had been believed to be impossible to create machine learning models for these demanding tasks that can provide some guarantees, even in the face of uncertainties,” said Bagchi, who also directs the Center for Resilient Infrastructures, Systems and Processes (CRISP). “Hopefully, this provides the community with a path forward, including adoption in many real-world settings where this is a current technology bottleneck.” The selected team includes Somali Chaterji, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue, and Yin Li, assistant professor of biostatistics and computer sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Our world is increasingly being equipped with a plethora of edge devices that have powerful system-on-chip platforms and high-resolution integrated cameras. Examples include intelligent cameras, smartphones, augmented reality/virtual reality headsets, and industrial and home robots. With recent advances in computer vision and deep learning, there is an impetus to run advanced computer vision functionalities on these devices, such as image classification, object detection and activity recognition. These developments have ignited an explosion of continuous vision applications, ranging from immersive AR games to interactive photo editing, and from autonomous driving to video surveillance. Many of these applications call for a real-time streaming video analytic system on the edge, due to low latency requirements (keeping up with 30 frames/seconds video) and privacy concerns (keeping the raw video local to the device and sharing only the results of the streaming analytics). Bagchi’s team developed a method to execute demanding streaming algorithms on such devices, which are typically constrained in terms of their computational, communication and energy capacities. This is the first approach that can provide probabilistic guarantees on accuracy when the characteristics of the content change; for instance, when one part of a video includes a complex scene with many objects and high motion, while another part of the video has a relatively static scene with few objects. Bratin Saha, vice president of machine learning at Amazon AWS, has been providing the application context for this work. “The line of work by Saurabh and his collaborators is of interest as it pushes the limit for what can be done with lightweight machine learning techniques,” Saha said. “We are providing both intellectual input and compute resources to help move this work forward quickly, and we’re excited to see how this innovative research can be applied in IoT devices and edge computing.” Another characteristic of the method is that it can deal with contention on the device. Such contention can happen due to other concurrently running applications. Say, when the video stream is being analyzed, an audio is detected that also needs to be analyzed in real time. Bagchi and his team further describe how their approximate object classification on edge devices works in a forthcoming article to appear in the ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks. Li, co-investigator on the project, said, “In terms of its ability to provide accuracy guarantees, this work points to how computer vision models can be deployed for critical applications on mobile and wearable devices. Our technology might be used to help smart phones and augmented reality glasses to understand streaming videos with high accuracy and great efficiency.” As the research team looks to deploy video applications in domains where safety and security are at stake, it is important to be able to reason about guarantees from such applications. “This work is applicable to a variety of domains — those that demand low inference latencies with formal accuracy guarantees, such as for self-driving cars and drone-based relief and rescue operations,” Chaterji said. “It is also applicable to IoT for digital agriculture applications where on-device computation requires approximation of the neural network architectures. When we started the investigation, even the leading-edge devices and software stack could only support one or two frames per second. Now, we can support all the way up to 33 milliseconds, which is desirable for real-time video processing.” Tarek Abdelzaher, the Sohaib and Sara Abbasi Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a leading researcher in the field of cyberphysical systems, sees the work’s value in making machines more efficient. “The work is a beautiful example of resource savings by understanding what’s more important and urgent in the scene,” said Abdelzaher, who is not affiliated with this project. “Humans are very good at focusing visual attention on where the action is instead of spending it equally on all elements of a complex scene. They evolved to optimize capacity by instinctively spending cognitive resources where they matter most. This paper is a step toward endowing machines with the same instinct – the innate ability to give different elements of a scene different levels of computational attention, thus significantly improving the trade-off between urgency, quality and resource consumption.” This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Lab.
Purdue agricultural economics advisors receive national awards
Andrew “Andy” Oppy and Jodie “Jo” Thomas, advisors in the Purdue University Department of Agricultural Economics, have been selected by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising to receive prestigious annual awards. Oppy was selected for the NACADA Outstanding Advising Award- Primary Advising Role. Thomas was chosen to receive the NACADA Outstanding New Advisor Award- Primary Advising Role. The advisors will be honored at the 2021 NACADA Awards Ceremony in October. “The work Andy and Jo do for our students is outstanding, and these awards are well-deserved,” said Karen Plaut, Purdue’s Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture. “This is a great accolade for both of them, as well as agricultural economics and the college.” “Our advisors are the ‘face of the department,’ and we are extraordinarily fortunate to have Andy and Jo positively impacting the lives of agricultural economics students,” said Jayson Lusk, distinguished professor and department head of agricultural economics. In February, Oppy and Thomas received the Purdue Academic Advising Association (PACADA) awards for Outstanding Advisor and Outstanding New Professional, respectively. In the 20 years both awards have been given at Purdue, 2021 was the first time the two went to advisors in the same college. The honors led to Oppy and Thomas’s nominations for the NACADA Advising Awards.
Internet Vikings welcomes Kristoffer Ottosson as the Head of Hosting Services
Internet Vikings has announced the appointment of Kristoffer Ottosson as the Head of Hosting Services. Such vast experience and industry insights will help Internet Vikings to extend and grow their offer as a superior iGaming hosting provider. Internet Vikings is well-known for providing premium hosting and related services to the online gaming industry. Led by Peter Ekmark, a seasoned iGaming professional, the company has attracted several prominent industry experts to its management team. In January, Karin Thunholm from Casumo Group joined Internet Vikings to assume the role of CFO. Now Kristoffer Ottosson, Director of IT & Infrastructure Engineering at Evolution (formerly NetEnt) is joining the company to become Head of Hosting Services. Kristoffer has been working in the hosting and infrastructure industry since 2007. During 2013-2014 he worked with Availo as Operations Manager but also as acting CEO for their Norwegian office. When IP-Only acquired Availo in 2014, Kristoffer took on the role as Manager for Hosting Solutions for IP-Only, currently known as Global Connect. In 2016, he joined NetEnt, and thus the iGaming industry, and has been working with the IT, Infrastructure and hosting solutions ever since. ”Internet Vikings provides one of the best hosting solutions in the iGaming Industry and has been growing steadily for a number of years. I’m really happy about the opportunity to work with such a reputable company and will be working across the verticals with other passionate colleagues. I firmly believe my knowledge of the industry combined with product and tech know-how will help to scale up the offer to customers, thus taking the next step in growing together. I’m really excited to be joining this great company with a solutions-oriented culture and can-do attitude”, says Kristoffer. Peter Ekmark, Internet Vikings’ CEO, comments: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome a highly-skilled new leader to our ever-growing team of experts as the Head of the Hosting services division of Internet Vikings. Kristoffer is a seasoned specialist in the hosting and iGaming sectors with an impeccable track record and will undoubtedly prove to be an invaluable asset as we surge forward and expand our global reach. We can expect innovation, passion and refined iGaming hosting solutions under his well-earned leadership.” Internet Vikings has been focused on iGaming as its primary market for years providing bespoke hosting solutions. The company’s vast network of data centres located in industry-wide, strategic locations ensures minimal latency to key markets. By adding professionals like Kristoffer to its hosting department, Internet Vikings is cementing its position as the leading iGaming hosting provider.
Sheena Gaynes of Bentley Systems, Incorporated Featured on CRN’s 2021 Women of the Channel List
Bentley Systems, Incorporated (Nasdaq: BSY), the infrastructure engineering software company, today announced that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Sheena Gaynes, director, business development and partnerships, Bentley iTwin Platform, to the highly respected Women of the Channel list for 2021. This annual list recognizes the unique strengths, vision, and achievements of female leaders in the IT channel. The 2021 Women of the Channel list acknowledges women from all segments of the IT channel, including vendors, distributors, and solution providers. The women honored on this year’s list pushed forward with comprehensive business plans, marketing initiatives, and other innovative ideas to support their partners and customers, helping them through the uncertainty brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic. CRN celebrates these exceptional women for their leadership, dedication, and channel advocacy. Gaynes is recognized on the list for her work building out the Bentley iTwin Platform developer ecosystem. Her expertise in building global partner programs and executing tactical go-to-market plans helped create the programs and processes for our partners and users to succeed. She leads a team that manages business development activities and nurtures partnerships with independent software vendors and systems integrators, including supporting the sales organization in their effort to generate subscription revenue through engineering firms and owner-operators. Gaynes also manages accreditation programs, such as developer training, powered by iTwin validation, and promoting the adoption of the Bentley iTwin Platform with academic institutions and students. Gaynes is being recognized for the third time on the CRN® Women of the Channel list. “CRN’s 2021 Women of the Channel list acknowledges accomplished, influential women whose dedication, hard work, and leadership accelerate channel growth,” said Blaine Raddon, CEO of The Channel Company. “We are proud to honor them for their many accomplishments and look forward to their continued contributions to the IT channel.” “Since joining Bentley Systems, Sheena has significantly contributed to the Bentley iTwin Platform business by building out a framework for our developer ecosystem, creating a partner program with benefits and requirements, and recruiting and nurturing partners of every size and type,” said Adam Klatzkin, VP, Bentley iTwin Platform at Bentley. “We are extremely proud of the work Sheena has done here and are delighted that she is being recognized in the CRN 2021 Women of the Channel list.” To learn more about Sheena Gaynes, visit the CRN 2021 WOTC page. The 2021 Women of the Channel list was featured in CRN magazine on May 10th and online at www.CRN.com/WOTC
ALT Systems Welcomes Richard McKernan as Senior Account Executive
ALT Systems, a premier systems provider and integrator for the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry, today announced that Richard McKernan has joined the company as a Senior Account Executive, based in Los Angeles. McKernan brings decades of combined talent and expertise as a professional recording and mixing engineer on projects with music artists such as U2, Prince, and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as the Pretty Woman movie soundtrack. Prior to joining ALT Systems, he held senior technical sales and service leadership positions at audio industry technology leaders Avid and Euphonix. "I am thrilled to join a company that shares my passion and commitment to exceptional audio," commented McKernan. "From immersive audio for movies and television, to music recording, sound design, editing, and mixing, high-quality audio has never been more critical to the M&E industry. ALT Systems understands the importance of audio and has unparalleled experience helping customers create world-class content that looks — and sounds — amazing." "Since 1993 we have continued to strengthen our commitment to delivering superior pro audio solutions, leveraging the power of Avid Pro Tools-based systems," said Brian Botel, Vice President of Business Development at ALT Systems, and a founder of Cutting Edge Audio Group, now a division of ALT Systems. "With the industry expanding at such a rapid pace, we are fortunate to have someone with Richard's experience to lead the charge in our audio division. With many storage and other technology solutions at our core, ALT Systems truly is a one-stop shop for end-to-end, cutting-edge solutions that offer extraordinary value." McKernan's prolific audio engineering career earned him technical, writing and arrangement, and instrument and performance credits on more than 118 albums. Additionally, McKernan is a founding member of the Entertainment Industry Professional Mentoring Association (EIPMA), an organization that connects industry professionals who volunteer to help individuals pursuing an entertainment industry career. As the Professional Audio Sales Manager for Avid Technology for more than 10 years and Euphonix's Western Sales Director for over 14 years, he used his industry insight, technical knowledge, and passion for audio to help lead sales growth. ALT Systems designs, deploys, and supports standalone and integrated audio solutions from technology companies including Dolby, providers of Dolby Atmos™ immersive audio solutions; Avid Technology, provider of Pro Tools digital audio workstations and S-Series mixing systems; as well as other top brands in the audio solution space.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea names Fritz Karbaum as new CEO
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea, announced today that Fritz Karbaum has been appointed as the new CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea, effective January 1, 2021. Most recently, he was the regional Head of Finance & Controlling at Daimler Financial Services Africa & Asia Pacific based in Singapore. Fritz Karbaum is a seasoned executive with in-depth financial expertise. Karbaum has more than 29 years of global experience in the financial services and automotive industry, working in numerous management positions within Finance & Controlling across multiple divisions in the Daimler Group. Before his role in Singapore, Mr. Karbaum served as CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Hellas in Greece, and then as CFO of Finance & Controlling at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Italia. “Korea is one of the most important markets for Mercedes-Benz in the world, where customer demand for automotive financial solutions has been consistently growing,” said Fritz Karbaum. “I am delighted to be appointed as the new CEO of Korea. The market has great potential and all of us at MBFSK will continue listening to our customers and offering flexible financing and leasing solutions to drive a Mercedes-Benz.” he added. Mr. Karbaum began his career with Daimler AG in 1991 and rose to his current position as a truly globalized executive having worked in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. His experience spans multiple Daimler entities including Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz AG, Daimler Financial Services, and Mercedes-Benz Bank AG, thus advancing his expertise in finance and automotive within the Daimler Group. [About Fritz Karbaum, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Korea] 2016 Regional CFO, Daimler Financial Services Africa Asia Pacific Ltd, Singapore 2013 CFO, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Italia SpA, Rome, Italy 2010 Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Hellas, Athens, Greece 2008 Senior Manager Finance & Controlling, Banco Mercedes-Benz do Brasil S.A., Sao Paulo, Brazil 2003 CFO, Daimler Colombia S.A., Bogotá, Colombia 1991 Various roles in Daimler organizations in Germany, USA, and Argentina
American Public Health Association Honors Five Ocular Scientists for COVID-19 Papers
The American Public Health Association (APHA) has recognized the work of five of the world’s most prominent ocular scientists with its 2020 Vision Care Section (VSC) Outstanding Scientific Paper Award. Two papers published by the group as the COVID-19 pandemic took root provided timely, evidence-based guidance to address and correct misinformation regarding safe contact lens wear. The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners and The Ocular Surface, Coronaviruses and COVID-19 and authors were honored with the award during APHA’s 2020 Annual Meeting in late October for contributing “significantly to the advancement of eye/vision care in the public health field.” The gathering is the largest public health conference in the world. Both papers hold the highest ever Altmetric scores for the journals in which they were published, regardless of topic. Moreover, The COVID-19 Pandemic: Important Considerations for Contact Lens Practitioners is among the top 0.2 percent of all research scored by the analytics service across all disciplines. They have received widespread attention in more than 40 countries, generating over 6,000 medical, scientific, and mainstream media stories with a potential reach eclipsing 6 billion. The findings spurred the most cohesive alignment on a single public health issue by contact lens manufacturers, educators and fitters in the last decade. Lyndon Jones, DSc, director of the Centre for Ocular Research and Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo, initiated the project and was lead author of the first paper. Mark Willcox, DSc, director of research at the School of Optometry and Vision Science at UNSW (Sydney), headed up the second paper, with Karen Walsh, MCOptom, professional education team leader and clinical scientist at the CORE, Jason Nichols, PhD, associate vice president for research and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, and Philip Morgan, PhD, director of Eurolens Research at the University of Manchester, contributing to both. Since 1979, the APHA Vision Care Section (VCS) has been an advocate for equality in and access to vision and eye health care. By working alongside other health disciplines, the VCS helps keep vision and eye health at the forefront of healthy advancement for the good of everyone. Other APHA award winners this year included Robert Cramer, PhD, associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, for his contributions to suicide prevention training for health care providers and Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, for his lifetime of service in shaping response to public health challenges over four decades.
PEAR Sports Announces the Appointment of Robert Falkenberg to Board of Directors
PEAR Sports announced today that it has appointed Robert C. Falkenberg, CEO UnitedHealthcare of California, to its board of directors effective October 20, 2020. This brings PEAR’s total board membership to 8. “We are very excited to welcome Rob to our board of directors. He brings decades of leadership in key areas, including health care, public-private partnerships, strategy implementation, and technology acquisition, that are vital to PEAR’s future direction as a growing health and wellness SAAS platform provider,” said Bob Allison, PEAR Sports Co-Founder and CEO. “Rob’s expertise and counsel will bring energy to our board and strengthen PEAR’s commitment to making a positive impact on our health, fitness and wellness initiatives.” Mr. Falkenberg said, “Eighty percent of what influences a person’s health happens outside the doctor’s office. I’m looking forward to working with the innovative group at PEAR to help deliver effective, world-class digital fitness and wellness solutions to create positive health outcomes for all. Exercise has clear implications on the health of people and their communities, and with PEAR’s technology we have a great opportunity to influence that.” About Robert C. Falkenberg Falkenberg, 57, is a 35-year healthcare industry expert, with deep knowledge and experience working within the managed care sector. Rob has spent the past 20 years at the UnitedHealthcare Group in various leadership positions across the country. Entrepreneurial-minded, he has a strong record building and leading successful teams, developing talent, and growing sustainable business models. Rob received a BS in Business Administration from Towson University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude, and he earned an MBA from Loyola College. He is passionate about outdoor activities, especially mountain and road biking, hiking, tennis and golf.
Epishine launches its first revolutionary product and hires a CEO with experience in industrial scaling
In a couple of months, Epishine will launch its first revolutionary product on the world market, a solar cell (or "light cell") optimized to power connected sensors and similar by harvesting low energy lighting. At the same time, they are preparing to start scaling up a new Swedish manufacturing industry by recruiting a CEO with many years of industrial experience. After leading the company from a university spin-out to a scaleup, Mattias Josephson are passing over the baton as Epishine's CEO to Anna Björklou. "I am proud and happy to be able to present Anna Björklou as our new CEO," says Mattias Josephson, co-founder and former CEO of Epishine. "I look forward to together with Anna take Epishine from production development to a large-scale green energy manufacturing industry." Anna Björklou has worked in global manufacturing industrial companies all of her professional life, most recently as CEO of Swisslog-Accalon AB. Anna has a broad competence and many years of experience in development, industrialization, manufacturing and operational leadership. “I am impressed by what Epishine has achieved with Mattias in the lead and look forward to being part of a continued growth journey together with a fantastic team! I’m very motivated to get involved in the upscaling of an innovation with such a large potential positive environmental and climate impact!” says Anna Björklou. ”Anna and Mattias will form a great pair,” continues Epishine’s chairman, Ola Johansson. ”Mattias continues to work with business development and financing and Anna adds the industrial experience we need for the phase the company is entering now.” “We are releasing a revolutionary product at the same time as the electronics industry is switching to different solutions for 'energy harvesting' as an alternative to batteries. If we manage current momentum, we have strong conditions for becoming a world leader in the field,” concludes Mattias. Anna Björklou will take up the position as CEO of Epishine on October 1, 2020.
Column – Pharma 4.0: It Is Time for the Pharmaceutical Industry to Introduce Smart Factory
Introduced as a critical future project of the German government in 2012, Industry 4.0 is about establishing a "Smart Factory" by applying cyber-physical systems, internet of things, cloud computing, etc. to strengthen the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry. In other words, a smart factory is a factory in which mutual communication is automatically settled with all processes connected, not just a single part of the production process. The requirements for the smart factory construction process include (a) standardization, (b) system management, (c) communication infrastructure maintenance, and (d) safety and security. The companies could save money when connecting all the facilities and services by simplifying and standardizing them. Since the entire system is connected, the complicated system can be operated normally only after special management has been done, so system management and reliable communication infrastructure equipment are needed. Moreover, if the security is weak, there may be problems in the entire process, so safety and security must be essential. The realization of Industry 4.0 means the integration of the entire process, including product planning, manufacturing, and distribution. In addition to increasing economic efficiency as a result of energy-saving and a safe production environment, productivity is improved as a flexible production system is established. A much larger number of mass productions are possible, personalized products can be delivered to customers quickly, and the probability of defective products can be significantly reduced. On top of that, companies can invest more in the product development process or seek new business opportunities by saving costs and time through smart factories. ▲ Pharma 4.0, published by ISPE, is a new pharmaceutical manufacturing process paradigm introducing Industry 4.0. (Image source: ISPE) As a result, many factories are rushing to begin a smart factory, and especially in the pharmaceutical industry, it seems to adopt in earnest from last year. In November 2017, the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) announced a new pharmaceutical manufacturing process paradigm, "Pharma 4.0", which introduces Industry 4.0 to advance the pharmaceutical manufacturing process in line with the fourth industrial revolution. Many experts are expecting that the introduction of Pharma 4.0 will enable effective shortening of the time and cost of pharmaceutical processing and thus the infinite development of the pharmaceutical industry. Especially in the case of the pharmaceutical industry, hygiene management is crucial in the entire production process, so it is necessary to minimize the possibility of contamination. For this reason, the pharmaceutical industry has changed the production process several times. Until 2015, the industry had been using a "discontinuous manufacturing" that used batch production methods to check the quality of each drug at the end of each stage for more than 50 years. Not only did it take a long time, it had problems related to hygiene and quality, such as contamination, which could be caused by frequent movement of drugs. However, since 2016, a "continuous manufacturing" has been introduced, allowing quality checks at any time during the manufacturing process and reducing manufacturing time and operating costs by up to 50%. And what Pharma 4.0 is ultimately trying to achieve is the introduction of continuous manufacturing, a method of connecting all the processes required for production. Continuous manufacturing is based on the Quality by Design (QbD) system and Process Analytical Technology (PAT). Unlike the existing GMP system, where the manufacturing process and quality management are separated, QbD system can simultaneously perform real-time monitoring during the process. Through this, the risk factors that can occur at all stages of pharmaceutical production are identified and managed in advance. Also the process can be continuously managed to produce products of consistent quality under optimal conditions in real-time, thereby improving and guaranteeing quality. PAT, along with the QbD system, is a technology that enables real-time monitoring of the whole pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. The PAT sensors with IIoT collect and manage information such as temperature, pressure, and weight in real-time in all processes of the factory. The mostly used PAT technologies include NR, Passive Acoustics (PA), Thermal Effusivity (TEE), and Video Capture (VC). Besides, PAT features an increase in production efficiency by reducing production cycle time. ▲ Boryung Pharmaceutical has introduced a smart factory with automated processes from production to packaging and delivery. (Image source: Boryung Pharmaceutical) From 2018, there has been a gradual attempt to introduce Industry 4.0 in the pharmaceutical industry, and several pharmaceutical companies have recently completed or are in the process of building. However, the pharmaceutical industry in Korea is still at the early stage. Still, many companies are hesitant because of cost issues, conflicts between departments, security issues, employment issues, stereotypes, etc. Among them, some tasks cannot be solved in a short time or have to be solved socially. However, it is correct that smart factories have become the core strategy of the manufacturing industry ecosystem in advanced countries. In the near future, it seems that more and more pharmaceutical companies will reduce the probability of contamination and defective products during the manufacturing process and solve the quality-related problems. Also, they will decide to adopt a smart factory that can provide not only generic drugs but also personalized drugs to customers. Rather than producing dozens of drugs with different packaging and the same contents, now companies will have to invest more in the research and development sector in order to have competitiveness. The existing smart factory will also continue to develop. With data analysis and prediction through artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as 5G released last year and the hybrid cloud, it is expected to be much faster and smarter. To solve the difficulties of mass production of diagnostic kits caused by COVID-19, the Korean government recently announced that it will support the construction of smart factories based on data. This can be a good example of the importance of smart factories in productivity. At this point in which everything is being digitized, it is now vital to become smarter.
Column - 4D Bioprinting: A Technology for the Future
While the number of patients waiting for organ transplantation is continuously increasing, the number of organ donors is always far less than that. For replacing the insufficiency of organ donors, three dimensional (3D) printing technology began to be used in the bioindustry. Through 3D bioprinting, bones, ears, exoskeleton, blood vessels, tissues, and organs can be produced. The bioindustry fields utilizing the technology are body transplantation, anatomical model, and pharmaceutical industry research. In general, 3D printing types include laser, inkjet, and extrusion, and among these, inkjet-based printers are the most used for bioprinting. The process of inkjet-based 3D bioprinting is as follows: (1) Create blueprints of the tissue or organ. (2) Extract stem cells from the patient and differentiate them into cells of a specific tissue or organ. (3) Fill the printer's bioink with the differentiated cells, vascular cells, and other necessary media. (4) Put the bioprinted result in a bioreactor to look at the reaction. (5) Transplant into the patient. Since it is the transplantation of organs made by culturing cells extracted from the patient's body, rather than human-to-human transplantation, side effects and secondary infections can be significantly reduced. Other advantages include that it is possible to produce a personalized organ, saving time as a result, and available regardless of location. However, as the human body constantly changes, the tissues or organs that are transplanted in the body must also be able to transform itself according to environmental factors. Four-dimensional (4D) bioprinting is a technology currently being developed to satisfy this aspect. 4D printing is the first technology known in 2013 by Prof. Skylar Tibbits of MIT Self-Assembly Lab in the United States, and in 2014, Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) selected 4D printing as one of the top 10 promising technologies. ▲ 4D printing is creating something that can be self-assembled through a 3D printer. 4D printing is about creating a "smart material" that can be self-transformed or self-assembled by various energy sources such as temperature and humidity even after the production through a 3D printer. In other words, the concept of time (one dimension) has been added to 3D (three-dimensional) printing. In terms of self-assemblable, 4D printing is a necessary technology, especially in the bioindustry. This is because, in general, natural biomolecules recognize other biomolecules and make changes such as synthesis and migration. To be specific, in the process of cell formation, polymers (including nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, etc.) are made from simple precursors, and then larger and more complex structures such as macromolecular systems and organelles are formed. The polymers contain the information necessary for them to be self-formed into macromolecular systems. A typical example is when a single DNA strand recognizes the opposite single DNA strand, and the two join to form a double-stranded DNA. Another example could be the case when many proteins and ribonucleic acid molecules self-assemble to form ribosomes. Moreover, the cases where the antibody recognizes and binds to a specific antigen and the fiber synthesis of flagella protein are also great examples of self-assembly. Stimulants that activate self-assembly include physical stimulants such as temperature, humidity, light, magnetic field, electric field, chemical stimulants such as pH and ionic concentration, and biological stimulants such as glucose and enzymes. A number of elements can be used as a stimulator of 4D bioprinting results. 4D printing has tremendous potential as it can be used in various fields such as tissue regeneration in the bioindustry (making and transplanting scaffold proteins necessary for tissue regeneration), medical device manufacturing, drug administration, and medical diagnosis. Besides, the advantages of 4D bioprinting are that the size of the initial product can be reduced as much as possible to minimize the scar at the site of transplantation, and new complex structures can be created using lower-level molecules. However, as there are a wide variety of stimulants and directions, 4D bioprinting technology is still only at an early stage. This is because all possibilities caused by biosynthetic and molecular biology principles must be considered, and side effects and secondary problems such as secondary infection must be identified. Last year, a Korean bio company released the first 4D bioprinter product to which human organ regeneration technology was applied, and showed demonstrations such as printing artificial skin. I hope that it was a successful first step in 4D printing technology. Also, in the future, we all hope that the number of patients leaving the world waiting for donors would be zero as artificial organ transplant treatments significantly improve.