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Dr. Dennis W. Prather, President

Dr. Dennis W. Prather is a Co-Founder and the President of PSI and has more than 30+ years of experience in the development and transition of commercial RF photonics technology.  In addition to PSI, he serves as a full-time Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Delaware, where he has been on the faculty since 1997. He is also a CAPT (retired) in the Naval Reserve, where he started serving as an E1 in 1982 and retired as an O6 Engineering Duty Officer in 2020. His combined academic and military experience provides a first-hand appreciation for the need and opportunity for technical solutions to be innovative, novel and viable for pressing and urgent operational needs. He founded PSI to be the commercial vehicle for the transition between innovation and operation and, in so doing, PSI’s technology serves both military and commercial markets.

Mr. Robert N. Lawrence, Chief Management Officer

Mr. Robert N. Lawrence is the Chief Management Officer and Facility Security Officer of PSI. He is a Project Management Professional responsible for overseeing the execution, compliance, and prioritization of all resources in support of PSI’s projects and contracts. He also oversees all physical, cyber, personnel, and operations security programs. Bob came to PSI in 2020 after nearly 27 years in the US Air Force as a Network Operations Officer and Communications Officer. His extensive leadership and management skills, and expertise in military operations, technology, and security have been an invaluable addition to PSI’s project management and execution, especially as PSI begins to transition its technologies to operational capabilities and the commercial market.

Dr. Ahmed Sharkawy, Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Sharkawy is Chief Operation Officer at PSI, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the company including logistics, facilities, training & education, and acquisition regulations compliance. He also has a focus on developing a program portfolio to support PSI’s strategic direction, as well as creating and managing long term goals.

His experience spans both the technical and the commercial aspects of photonic and RF products, having led activities in many areas, including technology and product development, maintaining compliance with contractual government requirements. These activities have contributed to many successful businesses.

Prior to Joining PSI, he was CTO, and co-founder of Lumilant. At Lumilant he primarily focused on developing disruptive photonic solutions for DATACOM, SATCOM, and TELECOM for military and commercial markets. Dr. Sharkawy is the author or coauthor of 12 US Patents and over 70 journal and refereed conference publications. He served as a Senior Research and Development Engineer at W.L. Gore and Associates and was also a member of the High Data Rate Signal Transmission (HDRST) Team, and further investigated various signal integrity issues of multiconductor transmission lines. Shortly after receiving his PhD in 2002, he joined EM Photonics as a senior engineer focusing on developing Bio-Optic Synthetic Systems (BOSS), chip-scale optical interconnect for next generation optically interconnected FPGA’s and reconfigurable optical interconnects, developing ultra-high-resolution chip-scale nanoprobes for optical data storage applications, and developing a chip-scale optical analog to digital converters. In 2006, he led the nanophotonic division as the director for photonic applications, and in 2008 he served as the Vice President of Photonic Applications.

Dr. Sharkawy has received his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware where he worked on the Design and analysis of photonic crystal devices for next generation telecommunication systems, under the supervision of Dr. Prather. In 2018 he completed a contract formation and administration from George Mason University and is currently working toward a master’s degree in government Contracting.

Dr. Xiao-Feng Qi, Chief Strategy Officer

Dr. Qi joined PSI after working for nearly three decades in the telecommunications R&D field, including supervising 5G and 6G research activities more recently.  He has significant leadership experience, having served as Senior Director of advanced R&D at Intel and Technical Manager of modem systems groups at Broadcom, where he led modem algorithms efforts for DSL, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, 2G and 4G LTE modem chipsets. As CSO for PSI, he seeks to broaden the applications of the company’s innovative RF-photonic technologies for the burgeoning 5G and 6G industry verticals.

Dr. Christopher Schuetz, Chief Technology Officer

Chris Schuetz received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic and State University in 1997.  Since graduating with honors, he has worked with companies such as BAE Systems and Optical Crosslinks, Inc., where his research interests included microwave photonics and polymer optical waveguides.  More recently he attended graduate school at the University of Delaware where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. in 2004 and 2007, respectively, in the area of millimeter-wave imaging.  After completing his doctorate, he cofounded Phase Sensitive Innovations, Inc with his advisor, Dr. Dennis Prather, where he has served as CTO since its founding.  He served a dual appointment with the University of Delaware from 2012 to 2015, where he developed techniques for multifunctional receive and transmit phased arrays based on RF photonics as the recipient of an AFOSR Young Investigator Grant. In 2015, he returned full time to PSI, but retained an affiliated faculty appointment at UD. He has served on the conference committee for the SPIE Passive Millimeter Wave Imaging Technology Conference, served as co-editor of a special issue of Applied Optics on RF Imaging, and was co-chair of SPIE Photonics West session on RF and mmW Photonics.  Chris’s expertise is in the area of mmW imaging, phenomenology, and detection and RF photonic processing techniques, where has authored or coauthored over one hundred papers and holds over 15 patents in this field.