NextFlex Awards Five Flexible Hybrid Electronics Pioneers with 2022 Fellow Awards


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NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, presented the annual NextFlex Fellow Awards to five deserving individuals, recognizing their outstanding contributions to FHE. Each year, NextFlex presents Fellow Awards to individuals who have gone above and beyond to positively impact the FHE manufacturing community. This year marks the seventh time that the membership has gathered to celebrate incoming NextFlex Fellows for their achievements.

As with the previous Fellows, this year’s awardees were recognized for their invaluable contributions to both the NextFlex membership and the field of flexible hybrid electronics as a whole and their dissemination of innovative thought leadership across the country.

Dr. Massood Atashbar, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University is a founding member of NextFlex, and since the Institute’s start, Massood has been a driving force in many activities. He is a voting member of the Technical Council, a co-lead of the Printed Components and Microfluidics Technical Working Group and is a participant in the Flexible Power Technical Working Group. Massood has reviewed proposals for every NextFlex project call to date and has served as a Technical Advisor for project calls.

Nick Koop, Director of Flex Technology, TTM Technologies

Nick has been instrumental in working inside TTM Technologies to expand the circle of interest in flexible and printed hybrid electronics and NextFlex activities. Nick has actively participated in planning NextFlex workshops and events, and he’s brought forward opportunities for the FHE community to collectively address. Nick has served as a Technical Advisor for NextFlex projects and is a participant in the Device Integration and Packaging Technical Working Group.

Dr. Michael McCreary, Chief Innovation Officer, E-Ink Corporation

Mike was a driving force in the formation of NextFlex, and E-Ink is a founding member of NextFlex. Mike’s extensive knowledge, connections and interest in the field are well known, and we appreciate that over the years he has encouraged others to connect with us. E-Ink supported several NextFlex projects, and Mike is actively working inside the company to help his colleagues connect with NextFlex technical resources. For many years, Mike has been critical in shaping the Flex Conference, the most influential FHE and printed electronics conference for our community.

Heath McNaughton, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), Alabama Air National Guard

LtCol McNaughton was vital to the launch of FlexMil, NextFlex’s outreach and engagement program for members of the military community. His support and guidance through the piloting period provided critical insights into refining and structuring the program to achieve maximum impact for servicemembers and veterans. Under his guidance, we achieved a better understanding of the needs of the National Guard and Reserve as well as the transitioning servicemember. We look forward to working with him in the coming years as we continue to expand this program and engage servicemembers with the myriad career pathways available in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Jim Zunino, Senior Scientific Technical Manager for Munitions Future Concepts and S&T Army Technical Area Chief (TAC-1) Advanced Materials & Manufacturing, U.S. Army Futures Command, Combat Capabilities Development Command, Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal

Jim is a revered expert in multi-functional additive manufacturing and his vision for developing the FHE manufacturing ecosystem is demonstrated in his interest in working with companies, academia, and partners across government agencies to optimize collaboration. Jim has presented his work at NextFlex events, providing the FHE community with his deep understanding of requirements for future development. Jim is a thought leader and is pivotal to the successful development of 3D printed hybrid electronics and conformal electronics.

“We are incredibly grateful to this year’s recipients for the contributions they have made toward advancing the FHE ecosystem,” said NextFlex Executive Director Dr. Malcolm Thompson. “By staying on the cutting edge of technological advancements and career paths through Project Calls, Technical Working Groups, and Workforce Development programs, these individuals have greatly expanded the impact that advanced manufacturing has on our community and beyond.”

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