With deep credentials in optical switching, transport systems development and delivery, Nistica's team is steeped in service provider infrastructure, operations and challenges. Nistica's value proposition is delivered to telecom OEMs through this innovative and accomplished leadership team.
Chief Executive Officer
Ashish Vengsarkar is currently Chief Executive Officer of Nistica, a subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. With over 20 years of telecom experience, Ashish has served in technology and business management roles at startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been instrumental in founding three high-tech startup companies.
Ashish received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Master's and Ph.D. Degrees in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and an Executive MBA from the Wharton School, where he was a Palmer Scholar.
Chief Financial Officer
Rob Crowder became Nisticaís chief financial officer in 2013. In addition to this role, Rob is chief financial officer and secretary of AFL. At AFL, he is responsible for overall finance, accounting and information technology. He has served in this capacity since 2007. In addition, Rob is actively involved in the strategic and financial activities of several other Fujikura group companies, including Fujikura Automotive America (FAA) and Fujikura America Incorporated (FAI). He serves as vice president and secretary for both entities.
Rob has played an important role in AFLís strategic initiatives and corporate transactions, including the acquisitions of Verrillon, Dossert, Nistica, Northstar, ALTA Group and The Light Brigade in the U.S.; TCC and Drakaís OPGW business in Europe; and Optimal Cable Services in Australia in 2013. Rob has more than two decades of financial management experience gained in both domestic and international manufacturing environments. He previously held financial management positions with Celestica, a multinational electronics manufacturing services company, and Greif Corporation, a global provider of industrial packaging. Immediately prior to joining AFL, he served as corporate controller at Kemet Corporation, an electronic components manufacturer.
Rob is a graduate of the College of William and Mary where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is also a certified public accountant.
Frank W. Smith
Chief Operating Officer
Frank W. Smith joined Nistica as Chief Operating Officer in June 2010. Previously he served as Chief Executive Officer of Entech Solar, a full-service solar-power provider and a developer of concentrating photovoltaic and thermal systems. Prior to Entech Solar, Frank worked for Emcore and JDS Uniphase in general management of fiber-optic products including transponders, amplifiers, and active components. His roles encompassed directing Operations, as well as overseeing Strategy and Business Development at these corporations.
Frank began his career at MIT Lincoln Laboratory researching high-speed electronic and opto-electronic devices and materials. He later joined Lockheed Martin, where he managed a business unit responsible for microwave products for military and space applications.
He holds a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT.
When he is not working on weekends, Frank can be seen jogging with his pet poodle.
Founder and Chief Technology Officer
Tom Strasser co-founded Nistica in the fall of 2005. Prior to founding Nistica, Tom was Chief Technologist and Director of Intellectual Property at the optical networking startup Photuris. Tom's experience ranges from knowledge of components to optical networks, including seven years as a technologist and manager in AT&T and Lucent Bell Labs.
He is a recognized technology leader in optical fiber communications, and served as the Technical Program Chair of OFC 2004 and General Chair of OFC/NFOEC 2006. Tom received a B.S. degree from Alfred University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University. During his graduate studies on periodic guided-wave devices, he worked at Eastman-Kodak Research Labs.
Tom is a national beer judge and can tell the "born-on-date" of beers without peeking at the labels.
Founder and Chief Innovation Officer
Jeff Wagener co-founded Nistica in the fall of 2005. As a founding member of Photuris, Jeff delivered a unique mixture of creative genius and practical product realization expertise to all aspects of optics, software, and electronics in the ROADM subsystem technology.
Jeff received a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Cornell University and a Ph. D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University.
Jeff is an expert mountain climber and has held the record for climbing all the 14000' peaks in Colorado in the shortest amount of time. He will climb Mt. Fuji in the very near future.
Vice President Finance
Joanne Bisconti joined Nistica as Vice President in April 2008. She came to Nistica from Opticon Inc., an international barcode and data collection company where she held a series of positions including Controller, Finance Director, and Vice President of Finance and Human Resources.
Joanne has broad experience in all facets of accounting, finance, and inventory management. She was Opticon's financial and accounting liaison for the initial public offering of the company's Japanese parent, OPTO Electronics. Her understanding of the reporting requirements and maintenance of necessary fiduciary responsibilities of a public company provide a global perspective to Nistica's business.
Joanne began her career in public accounting working with small businesses, helping them to establish proper accounting practices. Joanne received her Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Ramapo College.
Vice President Operations
and Product Line Management
Steven Robinson joined Nistica in May 2009. He brings over twenty-seven years of business and technical experience in the telecommunications industry. Prior to joining Nistica, Steven was Senior VP and General Manager at Xtera Communications where he introduced one of the first commercially deployed WSS ROADM systems to the marketplace.
Steven has held various leadership and product development roles in AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent, and Agere Microelectronics. While at Agere he founded an Optical MEMS new venture that developed dynamic channel equalizers and compact cross-connect switches. Steven led Lucentís Corporate Technology Strategy Group, coordinating product and technology strategies across Lucentís business units. He also developed opto-electronic components and sub-systems; leading them into high volume manufacturing in both Reading, PA and Bangkok, Thailand.
Steven received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and received his MBA from Lehigh University in 1996.
Vice President Sales and Marketing
Since 2011, Dario has been leading Nisticaís Product Line Management activities with a focus on driving the companyís rapid growth and market penetration in the area of flexible-grid low-port count WSSís and Nisticaís just-announced high-port count ROADM solutions.
Dario cut his teeth in the Optics world working on ultra-stable Er-doped light sources for Fiber Optic Gyroscopes as part of his Ph. D. research at Stanford University. Post-doctoral fiber-sensing R&D work was followed by several years competing (without doping!) on the professional bicycle racing circuit. Business management of the cycling team nurtured a latent interest in the commercial realm and bridged Dario from pure R&D over to the PLM arena upon returning to Optics with PLC manufacturer Gemfire and now novel-WSS-architecture developer Nistica.
Vice President Engineering