People

Felix Ejeckam, Ph.D., Founder and CEO

Felix Ejeckam, Ph.D. co-founded Akash Systems in January 2016. Felix is a seasoned entrepreneur, electrical engineer, and venture capitalist. Prior to Akash, Felix invented GaN-on-Diamond technology in 2003 at Group4 Labs, Inc. He was Co-founder/CEO of Group4 Labs until 2013 when he sold the business to a De Beers business unit (Element Six Technologies). Prior to Group4, Felix was co-founder/CEO of venture-backed Nova Crystals, Inc., a developer and maker of next-generation semiconductor lasers and detectors for Telecom/Datacom markets. Felix began his career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, Inc. in 1997. He has published over 100 journal and conference papers, holding many patents. Felix holds a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University with a minor in Materials Science & Engineering.

Ty Mitchell, Ph.D., Founder and CEO

Ty Mitchell, Ph.D. co-founded Akash Systems in January 2016. Ty has been a leader in the fields of GaN and SiC materials, optoelectronics, and LED lighting with a long background in technology development, business development, and business leadership. Ty has grown and led public-company technology businesses from $10M to $500M+ in revenues. Ty started his career as an engineer at GE and IBM, before working as a management consultant at McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, from 1993 to 1999. Prior to founding Akash, Ty was an executive with Cree, Inc., a $1.6B manufacturer of LED lights, LED components, and GaN and SiC RF and power devices and materials. Ty held several business leadership roles at Cree, including VP/GM of Cree’s Optoelectronic device and GaN/SiC materials businesses, and EVP/GM of Cree’s LED lighting business. Ty holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kris Kong, Ph.D., CTO

Kris Kong, Ph.D., is currently CTO of Akash Systems. Kris has over 25 years of industry leadership in RFIC, MMIC, and system design and development. From 2011 to 2017, Kris was a Design Engineering Fellow at Qorvo (previously TriQuint), where he led the design of state-of-the-art MMIC power amplifiers for commercial markets including point-to-point radio, VSAT communications, and other satellite and ground communications applications. From 1998 and 2011, Kris served in positions including Principal Power Amplifier Architect for Axiom Microdevices and a Team Leader in Telecom/Millimeter-Wave Radio Products for TriQuint. Kris began his career an engineer for TRW Space and Defense (now Northrup Grumman), Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon), and ADX Microsystems (now Microsemi) where he first built his leading expertise in the design and development of MMICs at X, Ku, K, and Ka-band and beyond (V, E and W band). Kris holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin.

Brian Holz, Chief Architect

Brian Holz is currently Chief Architect of Akash Systems. Brian has over 31 years progressive space system engineering, program management, and executive leadership experience. Most recently he was CEO of OneWeb Satellites LLC, a joint venture between Airbus Defense and Space and OneWeb to mass produce satellites for OneWeb’s global LEO constellation. He stood up a multi national team with operations in the US and France including securing a global supply chain. In addition, Brian was the first employee and CTO of O3b Networks leading all technical aspects of the project including implementing the MEO satellite constellation, launch of the satellites, design and deployment of 9 global teleports, development of customer terminals, implementation of its network operations center and its satellite operations center, frequency coordination and regulatory aspects.

Daniel Francis, Ph.D., Vice President of Materials

Daniel Francis, Ph.D., joined Akash Systems in August 2018 as Vice President of Materials. Previously, Dan led the technical team that invented the GaN-on-Diamond technology in 2003 at Group4 Labs, Inc., where he was Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. After the acquisition of Group4 Labs by Element 6, LLC (a member of the DeBeers group of companies), Dan continued to lead the development of GaN-on-Diamond wafers as Head of Compound Semiconductor Product Engineering. Prior to working with GaN-on-Diamond, Dan worked at Finisar Corporation (through the acquisition of GenOA, Inc). At GenOA, he ran a technical team of up to 45 people who were developing Linear Optical Amplifiers, Long Wavelength VCSELs, and avalanche and PIN photodiodes. Dan has co-authored more than one hundred papers and over 20 patents. Dan holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University.

Paul Saunier, Ph.D., Vice President of Device Technology

Paul Saunier, Ph.D., is currently Vice President of Device Technologies for Akash Systems.  Prior to joining Akash, Paul retired from Qorvo/TriQuint as a Senior Fellow, following a distinguished 35+ year career in management and engineering at Qorvo/TriQuint, and Texas Instruments where he was one of the industry’s true pioneers in GaAs and GaN RF and Power devices.  Paul’s accomplishments include pioneering work developing unique technologies and getting them into production, such as GaN-on-SiC RF devices, GaN-on-Si RF devices, creation and development of production processes of X-band pHEMTs and amplifiers, and invention of the HFET for Space, Defense, and Base Station applications.  Paul was also the first in the industry to demonstrate the HEMT for Power applications, which led to Texas Instruments’ leadership position in power devices.  Paul has published more than 120 papers and has 10 patents. Paul holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Jeanette Quinlan, Director of Space Systems

Jeanette Quinlan is Director of Space Systems at Akash Systems. Prior to Akash Jeanette managed the US Operations of Starburst Aerospace Accelerator, connecting traditional aerospace primes with startups in aerospace. Before joining Starburst in 2016 she spent over 10 years as an engineer in the satellite industry. Her experience includes analysis, design, testing, and on-orbit monitoring of RF and electro-optical satellites in LEO and GEO orbits. Prior to Starburst, Jeanette spent nearly two years at OneWeb, where she was a part of the satellite engineering team from its time as a new startup through the early stages of the Joint Venture with Airbus. Before OneWeb, Jeanette was a Thermal Engineer at Space Systems Loral (SSL, now Maxar), working on the world’s top geosynchronous communications satellites. Her career began at ITT (now Harris) in Rochester, NY, working with optical systems for government contracts. Jeanette has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY.

Jim Carroll, Ph.D., Director of MMIC Design

Jim Carroll is currently Director of MMIC Design at Akash Systems. Jim has over 25 years of experience in MMIC, RF board and systems development. From 2009 thru 2017 Jim was Director of IC Design Flows at NI-AWR specializing in helping MMIC customers use AWR Design Environment more efficiently while defining new design flows and software features. Previously, he was at Raytheon as a Senior Principal Engineer developing high power MMICs and systems based on GaAs and GaN technologies from K-band thru W-band. From 1991 to 2005, Jim was at TriQuint semiconductor doing a variety of tasks including lead for the Advanced Circuits Group and as an individual contributor designing broadband, high power MMIC amplifiers and limiters. Jim holds a Ph.D. and Master’s in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University.