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ADT Corporate Brochure

ADT Corporate Brochure


Board Members



John Yerger_cropped.jpgJohn Yerger, President and CEO

John Yerger has held business leadership positions for 30 years.  Most recently, he was president & CEO of both SMS Technologies (San Diego) and Total Electronics (Logansport, Indiana and Reynosa, Mexico) where he led more than a doubling of company value, culminating in its sale to the Kinpo Group (Taiwan) in December, 2010.  Prior to that, Mr. Yerger was president of EMAC, a boutique acquisition company which acquired Controls, Inc (Indiana) in 2002 and a senior vice president at VisionTek (Gurnee) during its rapid growth with NVIDIA graphics products.  Mr. Yerger led the design, development and launch of award winning products at DEK Printing Machines (Weymouth, England), including the revolutionary ProFlow enclosed print head technology.  He was also instrumental in the launch of the GSM equipment platform at Universal Instruments (Binghamton, NY).

Mr. Yerger holds BS, MSE and MBA degrees from Cornell University and received the Richard Hall Award for Leadership Excellence from SEA in 2010.  He has been an active leader in several community organizations in the Chicago area over the past 10 years.

Wagner.jpgJohn Wagner, VP of Business Development

John Wagner joined Advanced Diamond Technologies in 2011 to establish the commercial outreach for this dynamic and novel technology based business. In his career, John has held executive business positions for over 20 years, most recently, as a principal and worldwide business development executive for a Solar Power Business. Previously, John was the president of IKOR, a former division within Advanced Energy Industries, where he realigned the business and quadrupled revenues in 4 years, then divested the business to a VC/IC partner consortium. John has been active in product development through his career and managed product development and engineering at VisionTek (Gurnee) during its rapid growth in PC Memory and NVIDIA graphics products. In addition, John has held executive positions at AMD where he led corporate strategy for mobile computing, at Motorola where he established a GSM data business unit, and At Zenith Data Systems where he managed a $200M P&L for mobile products.

Mr. Wagner holds a BSCE in Applied Computer Science from Illinois State University, 6 US Patents (with multiple applications in process), has been a business development consultant for multiple international start-ups, and is active on the board of advisors for several technology businesses.

cfwest_image.jpgCharles West, VP of Engineering

Charles F. (Charlie) West has been leading and developing product development of thin inorganic films for over 30 years. He has been directly responsible for the development of many vapor phase thin-film (primarily CVD) applications in the areas of electronic, bio-medical, optics, and wear and corrosion. Prior to joining ADT he was one of the founders of QuesTek Innovations, LLC, another award-winning high tech startup in the Chicago area. Charlie was the CVD Group leader and a Research Scientist at Northwestern University prior to starting QuesTek and a research scientist for 10 years at Battelle Columbus Laboratories in the Electronic and Optical Materials Group. Charlie has been working directly with prospective clients and helping them develop new products and processes throughout his career. He has also been personally responsible for enabling and transferring new and unique CVD processing to NASA, universities, national laboratories, and several industrial firms.

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Dr. Donato M. Ceres, Director of Innovation and System Development

Dr. Ceres has 15+ years of experiences in novel interdisciplinary technologies, such as nanotechnology, nanolithography, bio-electrochemistry, and biosensing.  He has worked on the development of devices for the electrochemical diagnostics of DNA mutations, in-vivo diagnostics and drug screening, real-time electrochemical detection of biochemical processes in living cells, and for nanolithographic applications in the electronics and biomedical industry.  Dr. Ceres managed products and projects for the development and commercialization of novel state-of-the-art nanotechnology products.

Dr. Ceres has joined Advanced Diamond Technologies to bring and accelerate Diamonox® Technology to the water treatment markets by devising product development and business development strategies.

Dr. Ceres received a MS degree in Physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, Lausanne) and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  He also received training in Project Management from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) as well as in Strategic Marketing of Technology Products from the Technology Marketing Center (Caltech Industrial Relations Center).

Zeng_Web_resized.jpgDr. Hongjun Zeng, Director, Advanced Research & Development

Dr. Hongjun Zeng is a leading expert in Optical MEMS, microfluidics, micro and nano fabrication. Dr. Zeng received a PhD degree from Chinese Academy Sciences. He has 15-years of extensive experience in the development of the MEMS/Nano devices and fabrication techniques, including Moving Mask lithography, agile actuators – especially micro-mirrors, micro-screening chips for toxin detection, nanochannels and materials for nanofabrication. Currently, he is in charge of developing novel thin-film diamond products for different industrial applications. Before joining ADT, Dr. Zeng was a research and development engineer at Foxconn and a research scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Zeng was an inventor and core investigator of several novel microfabrication techniques. He was a co-principal investigator in the Chinese Academy of Sciences Knowledge Innovation Program (KIP), which specifically supports “technologies with strategic significance”.  He was a winner of second class Deng Physics Prize in 1996 and the third class Prize of Sichuan Province Science and Technology Improvement in China 2001. He authored/co-authored 6 patents/disclosures and more than 60 publications and presentations. Dr. Zeng was elected as a senior member of IEEE and full member of Sigma Xi in 2006. He is a senior reviewer of many top journals, such as Optics Letters, Optics ExpressNanotechnologyIEEE-PTLJMEMSJMMJVST-B, etc.


Board Members

Bob Geras, Board Member

Bob Geras, President of LaSalle Investments, Incorporated, has been an active participant in the VC and angel community in Chicago for over 35 years. Bob has extensive line operating experience as an entrepreneur, and he received the “Angel of the Year-2002” award by the Chicago Software Association. Bob has been a featured panelist, lecturer, mentor and/or business plan judge for the Illinois Coalition, the University of Illinois, Kellogg School of Management, University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, DePaul University as well as in seminars sponsored by the Chicago Software Association,, the Midwest Entrepreneurship Forum, and the Association for Corporate Growth.

In 1986 he bought MEDX, Inc. a troubled Rolling Meadows, Illinois medical equipment company, and in five years turned it around and sold the company for 26 times his cost. Since 1989, he’s been a co-founder and the largest shareholder of publicly traded Merge Technologies (MRGE), the industry leader in eHealth connectivity products for medical imaging and other clinical information, helping to make the “electronic patient record” a reality. He’s also an investor in Exadigm, NexVu, and 20/20 Technologies. Bob is also a director and/or investor in VideoHomeTours,, Citizens Bank and Trust, and PowerQuest Corporation, a leading software developer and technology pioneer. In addition, he is an investor and/or advisor to Kettle Partners, Chicago Ventures, KB Partners, Kingsport Capital, Artesian Capital, and is a founding member and a Director of the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Jeffrey Niew, Board Member

Jeffrey S. Niew is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Knowles Corporation. Mr. Niew joined Knowles in June 2000 and has been held various management positions among which he was responsible for the development and productization of the SiSonic MEMS based microphone. Prior to joining Knowles, he was the Business Development Manager for Littelfuse Incorporated, a global electronics manufacturer specializing in the consumer and automotive markets. In addition he held various engineering and marketing positions in the optoelectronics division of Hewlett-Packard. Mr. Niew has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.



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Dr. Orlando Auciello, Founding Scientist

Dr. Orlando Auciello is a Senior Scientist in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory and an Adjunct Professor at North Carolina State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago. He earned his MS and Ph.D. degrees from the Institute “Balseiro” (University of Cuyo, Argentina) and held various academic and industrial positions in Canada and the U.S. before coming to Argonne. Dr. Auciello has contributed extensively to the science and technology of plasma, ion beam and laser interaction with solids, complex oxide thin films (e.g., ferroelectrics, high-k dielectrics and new CMOS gates), wide bandgap thin films (GaN, AlN), and nanocrystalline diamond films for MEMS, NEMS, and field emission devices. He has published about 350 papers and numerous review articles and book chapters, in addition to editing ten books and obtaining seven patents. He has received several honors, including the 2003 R&D 100 Award for co-development of the large-area plasma systems for the deposition of Ultrananocrystalline diamond, the 2003 Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Award for outstanding technical accomplishments in the general field of science and technology of thin films, and a 2002 special recognition from the Materials Research Society for outstanding contributions to that society as a member of the Governing Board.

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Neil Kane, Co-Founder

Mr. Kane is the former Executive Director of the Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Argonne National Laboratory and Entrepreneur in Residence with Illinois Ventures, LLC. As EIR, Mr. Kane was interim CEO of several of their portfolio companies. He has closed several rounds of venture capital from various sources and has secured numerous SBIR and government contracts and awards. As a consultant he has evaluated the commercial potential of advanced technologies for The University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Earlier he was Regional Business Development Manager for Microsoft Corporation in Chicago. In this role he identified, negotiated and closed a $25 million equity investment in an Illinois-based software company. He spoke publicly as an evangelist for Microsoft on dozens of occasions.

He began his business career at IBM where he held a series of marketing and technical positions. In his last position, he was a Business Consultant focused on furthering the technology penetration of IBM products at several major accounts in the process and consumer packaged goods industries. Before that, he was the IBM liaison to Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and helped create the strategic business alliance between IBM and Andersen Consulting that became the model for the industry. In this capacity he earned membership into IBM’s Golden Circle. He be­gan his career as a manufacturing engineer in IBM’s San Jose, California disk drive facility where he designed robotic tooling.

Neil holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (high honors) and a Masters of Business Administration (finance and policy studies) from The University of Chicago. He has attended graduate school in Australia and attended a post-graduate international management program in Japan on scholarship from JETRO.

Dr. John Carlisle, Founding Scientist

Dr. John Carlisle, co-founded ADT in 2003 while he was a staff scientist in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). Carlisle is a recognized leader in the world diamond community, and his work in recent years has spanned the basic-applied-commercial continuum. While at ANL he worked on a number of technology development projects connected with the UNCD thin film technology he co-developed at ANL, including establishing materials integration strategies relevant to the use of UNCD in MEMS devices, the use of UNCD as a wear resistant low-friction coating for mechanical pump seals, and the development of low-temperature UNCD as a hermetic coating for a retinal prosthesis, all of this work continuing in ADT. He is also a co-recipient of the prestigious R&D 100 award in 2003 for the development of large-area plasma systems for the deposition of UNCD. In the process of founding ADT he developed a larger interest in the debate over the role of scientists in the commercialization of technologies born of their research, and the technology transfer plan developed for ADT based on his efforts has been recognized by the Department of Energy as a model for future tech transfer activities at national labs. His recent basic research interests have focused on the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured carbon materials, including nanodiamond thin films, carbon nanotubes, and hybrids of these materials. Previously he conducted seminal work in the area of surface physics and synchrotron radiation characterization of surface and thin film material systems.

Dr. Carlisle received BS degrees in both physics and mathematics, with highest honors and academic distinction, from Texas A&M University, as well as an MS degree in Physics from the same institution. In 1993 he completed his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Carlisle has published about 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, given numerous invited lectures at international conference, and has one issued patent and several others under review.

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