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NextFlex News – May 2018 Newsletter

Critical Roles Filled to Propel NextFlex Forward

Dear NextFlex Members and Friends,

As you know, any organization is the sum parts of its products and services, its customer relationships, and its talent. We’re focused on balancing these aspects to be good stewards for the FHE community. We are fortunate to have had a good team since our launch in 2015, but now we find ourselves needing new and different skills to take us to the next stage of our growth. Therefore, I’m happy to report that we recently made four critical hires, bringing new talent and new capabilities to NextFlex. Please join me in welcoming the following new staff:

Laura Castellano joins NextFlex as Events Manager, who will organize NextFlex workshops, Innovation Day, Flexinars, and events held onsite at the Technology Hub. Most recently Laura worked for IHS Markit where she was responsible for large, global technical conference, and prior to that she held similar roles including owning her own event management company. She is passionate about events and will help us elevate member experiences as we strive to deliver world-class events, whether that’s working with member partners around the country who help us host meetings and workshops, or here at our site in San Jose. Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from San Jose State University.

Jens Paetau joins the team as an embedded staff from California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC), a group that helps California’s small- to medium-sized manufacturers succeed in business through a variety of business support systems and training. Jens will represent NextFlex as the FHE practice lead for small- and medium-sized manufacturers in California by introducing them to NextFlex and FHE technology through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) sponsored by NIST. Jens comes to us with over 25 years of Electrical Engineering and high-tech experience in the semiconductor, IP, telecom, consumer mobile, wearable development, digital health, IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) sectors, and has tracked FHE for the last 7 years. Jens holds a BSEE with minors in Physics, Math and Business from San Jose State University. Jens is passionate about disruptive new technologies and bridging the gap to commercialization, so he will do well in helping small and mid-sized companies discover FHE and NextFlex.

Nathan Pretorius joins NextFlex as Print Technology Engineer to focus on print processes utilizing novel materials, processes and tools. Prior to joining Nextflex, Nathan was a student involved in printed electronics research at Clemson University where worked on many FHE-related projects, both as an undergrad and grad student. Nathan focused on applying the strengths of roll to roll and screen printing to printed electronics designs, including capacitive touch interfaces, flexible PCBs, antennas, and multilayer conductive prints. As an undergrad in Graphic Communications at Clemson he designed and integrated a capacitive touch interface and converted PCB designs to printable format. To further explore printed electronics, he began a master’s program in Packaging Science focused on materials where he designed and printed passive circuit components and flexible hybrid circuit designs. He also worked on using flexible hybrid electronics, 3D printing, and CNC milling together for rapid prototyping of electronic devices. Nathan’s skills and abilities significantly add to the technical capabilities of the NextFlex team.

As director of fab operations for the NextFlex Technology Hub, Art Wall, PhD, will oversee a range of process tools used in development and prototyping of flexible hybrid electronics development. The tools placed in the Hub are available both to members and for commercial use, and are used for printing, assembly and integration, and test and measurement. Prior to joining NextFlex, Art led many different groups and technologies associated with hard drive products for both IBM and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Most recently Art co-founded and served as vice president at NuvoSun, an innovative photovoltaic company that was later acquired by The Dow Chemical Company. Prior to that, Art earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from Gustavus Adolphus College, and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Minnesota. Art has co-authored more than 30 articles in refereed journals, presented at 16 US and International Conferences, and holds six US patents. Art’s collaborative approach and professional management style combined with his depth of technical knowledge in manufacturing, testing and reliability, and materials will be a great asset to NextFlex, and a great resource to NextFlex members.

It is with mixed emotion that I report that Paul Semenza, Director of Commercialization, has resigned his position with NextFlex. He’s been a significant contributor, even prior to the startup of NextFlex where he helped develop the funding proposal. Paul shaped the membership structure, growing membership to 86 actively participating members, and he has developed lasting relationships with many members. Paul is a successful technology and supply chain market analyst, and when he departs NextFlex he will pursue opportunities in this field. I should also mention that on his own time Paul is an Adjunct Lecturer at Santa Clara University’s (SCU) School of Engineering and recently was named a 2018 Adjunct Lecturer of the Year. His students cite his collaborative approach along with group projects and real-world industry case studies as outstanding examples of Paul’s contributions to their learning. We are extremely proud of Paul’s accomplishments, both at SCU and at NextFlex, and he will be missed.

As we grow, we will continue to evaluate the skills and abilities of our team to anticipate the evolving needs of our members. And as always, we welcome your input.

Please click below to hear about what else we’ve been up to.



Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson
Executive Director, NextFlex