Rocky Hill, CT — Dr. Frederick J. Leonberger, an internationally known technologist and industry leader in the field of photonics and fiber optics, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Connecticut Medal of Technology. Leonberger will accept the award at the 39th Annual Meeting & Dinner of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE) on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Cromwell Hotel.
For almost 40 years, Leonberger has been a leading contributor to his field not only in the development of a variety of important optical devices, but in product and business strategy, commercialization and overall company leadership. The integrated optical modulators he pioneered have been used pervasively for over 15 years to encode data at billions of bits per second in long-haul fiber optic networks. Similar modulator devices are widely used to transmit CATV signals. These devices are manufactured in Bloomfield and that business has had a substantial economic impact on Connecticut (valued at more than $500 million).
“The State of Connecticut is proud to award the Connecticut Medal of Technology to Fred Leonberger who has made seminal contributions through his achievements in optical communications,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “Dr. Leonberger’s dedication throughout his 30-year career in Connecticut has fostered prosperity and technical primacy in our great state.”
In his early career with the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Leonberger developed a breakthrough analog-to-digital converter device, which incorporated micron-scale guided-wave modulator integration on a single chip. He joined United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) in 1984 as manager of Photonics and Applied Physics. The major technologies developed in UTRC groups Leonberger led have all spawned commercial Connecticut businesses: United Technologies Photonics (UTP) in Bloomfield; CiDRA, in Wallingford; and DEOS, now part of Coherent, in Bloomfield. Aggregate revenue of these businesses over the past 15 years is estimated to exceed $1 billion.
In 1992, Leonberger co-founded and became General Manager of UTP. In 1995, UTP was acquired by Uniphase Corporation and Leonberger went on to become Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of that company and continued in that role after the Uniphase/JDS Fitel merger.
He retired in 2003 and founded EOvation Technologies (now EOvation Advisors), a technology and business advisory firm serving photonics and laser companies. In addition to advising senior management teams, he presently serves on the Board of Directors of four private venture-funded photonics companies.
He was elected to CASE in 1985 and to the National Academy of Engineering in 2000. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Leonberger holds a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT.
The Connecticut Medal of Technology is the state’s highest honor for technological achievement in fields crucial to Connecticut’s economic competiveness. Modeled after the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, this award is made by the State of Connecticut, with the assistance of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, in alternate years with the Connecticut Medal of Science. Visit http://ctcase.org/medals.html to see a list of past winners.