Paul W. Shumate was appointed Executive Director of LEOS, effective August 11. Most of you know him through his work in a variety of lightwave technologies, first at Bell Labs, then at Bellcore (now Telcordia Technologies). In 1969, after his PhD research on low-temperature physics at the University of Virginia, several summers at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), and a year at UVa as an Assistant Professor, he joined Bell Labs at Murray Hill. He worked principally on magnetic- bubble memories, and briefly on cryogenic tunnel junctions and silicon integrated circuits.
In 1975, he joined Mauro DiDomenico’s department to lead a group designing laser transmitters for the first 45 Mbit/s FT-3 transmission trials in Atlanta and Chicago. Subsequently, he and his group developed transmitters, optical device packages, data-link receivers, and reliability evaluation programs for other early applications of fiber. Some of these included optical data links for the No. 5 ESS switch, microwave satellite-entrance links, optical feeder systems for the SLC-96 Series 5 digital-loop-carrier system, and laser and photodetector packages for the first optical submarine cable system (TAT-8) and for the 432 Mbit/s terrestrial system (FT-G). During this period, he worked closely with colleagues Dick Smith, Hans Melchior, Dick Dixon, and Phil Anthony.
Paul, being an early proponent of “fiber-to-the-home,” decided Bellcore offered the best opportunity for following this direction, and in 1983 became one of its first members, working with Arpad Bergh, T.P. Lee, and Bob Leheny. He led the earliest work on “loop lasers,” and on using LEDs with single-mode fiber, both aimed at reducing the high cost of FTTH. Between 1986 and 1990, he headed Bellcore’s program to develop the first prototype of an ATM/Sonet-based fiber-to-the- home system, helping shape industry directions for products now being developed or deployed. Also during that period, two groups in his department pioneered dense wavelength multiplexing, optical networking, and passive wavelength-multiplexed FTTH networks. Since 1990, he has led departments responsible for many aspects of high-speed subscriber and in-home networks used by both telephone and cable operators, including architectures, ADSL, premises gateways, electrical powering, technical specifications, reliability, performance and economic comparisons, and strategic consulting. During this period, Paul received recognition for contributions in these areas through several awards, including IEEE Fellow, Bellcore Fellow, the IEEE Edwin Armstrong Award, and the annual Telephony Fiber-in-the-Loop Vision Award.
Throughout most of his career, though, Paul had a “second career” with IEEE. Beginning in 1970 as a member of the Magnetics Society, he was Chairman of the Princeton Section of S-MAG, AdCom member, and Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. He stayed continually involved with conferences (Intermag, OFC, CLEO, IOOC, ECOC) and other publications, becoming one of the initial group Henry Kressel formed in 1982 to establish the Journal of Lightwave Technology. With JLT, he currently continues as chairman of the Steering and Coordinating Committees. Working with LEOS during the ‘80s, Paul was an elected member of the Board of Governors, and established Photonics Technology Letters serving as Editor-in-Chief until 1994. In the ‘90s as LEOS Publications VP, he established the Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, the LEOS Editorial Office, the LEOS CD-ROM, and worked with Larry Hornack on the LEOS Homepage.
He believes one of the greatest opportunities in his new LEOS position will be to continue working with members to develop additional electronic products and services, and wants to hear from members about their ideas. Paul believes such products will help attract new members, including practicing engineers, while proving valuable to all members. LEOS conferences will likely provide another avenue for trying new electronic services, and he wants to help the Society be a leader in these initiatives. “Since many technologies in our field-of-interest have demonstrated ‘Moore’s Law’ growth rates since the ‘70s, it’s appropriate that our activities also keep pace. LEOS’ members expect it.”
Paul and his wife Randi live in Pittstown, in the middle of New Jersey hot-air-balloon country. On rare occasions, they participate as passengers, but Paul’s hobbies are generally closer to the ground: working on Corvettes, “at” golf, and he greatly enjoys downhill skiing and model trains. He has some redeeming technology-related hobbies, too, including electronics, PCs, mineralogy, and microscopy. Randi, who loves travel, gardening, and reading, is a children’s librarian in Basking Ridge, where they previously lived.
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