Dr Simon Poole is an engineer/entrepreneur with 35 years experience in photonics in research, academia and industry. He has been involved in start-ups in both Academia and industry for the majority of this time and is renowned both for his contribution to the technology of photonics as well as the companies he has founded.
He was a member of the team that invented the Erbium-Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA) at Southampton University and subsequently founded the Optical Fibre Technology Centre (OFTC) and Australian Photonics CRC at the University of Sydney, which between them raised over $100m in research funding over a 15 year period and employed several hundred researchers. He has published over 150 refereed papers in journals and international conferences as well as filing 7 patents, including the initial patent on the EDFA.
Since 1995 Dr Poole has focussed on the commercial arena, starting by founding and running a spin-off company from Sydney University, Indx Pty Ltd, to manufacture Fibre Bragg Gratings (FBGs) for optical communications systems. Indx was acquired by Uniphase Corporation (now JDS Uniphase) for $US6m and subsequently grew to over 300 people with exports of over $100m pa. He co-founded Engana Pty Ltd in September 2001 and as CEO raised $14m in VC funding and oversaw the development and launch of Engana’s market-leading Dynamic Wavelength Processor line of Wavelength Selective Switches in early 2005 as well as the subsequent sale of the company to Optium Corporation (now part of Finisar Corporation) in 2006.
He is now Director, New Business Ventures at Finisar Australia overseeing Finisar Australia’s range of non-telecom businesses, including the “WaveShaper” range of Programmable Optical Processors.
Dr Poole was named as the Institute of Engineers Australia (Sydney) Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, awarded an ATSE Clunies Ross Medal in 2013 (with Dr Frisken) and the Charles Todd Medal of the Telecommunications Society of Australia in 2016. In 2018 he was named an Officer of the Order of Australia for his services to Photonics in Australia.
He is a board member of Finisar Australia, Cylite Pty Ltd, and a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Photonics Society as well as Chair of the Industry Advisory Board of the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies in New Zealand.