Luxcore, an American firm dedicated to paving the way forward for the future of semiconductors, has the privilege of playing host to the recipient of Corporate Vision’s award for Most Influential CEO of the Year 2019 – USA: Mr Gerald Ramdeen. We had the pleasure of speaking with Mr Ramdeen following his recognition, in a bid to learn more about Luxcore’s success under his wise and discerning leadership.
Revolutionizing and disrupting any industry requires more than just an outstanding product. There has to be a collaborative team, exceptional talent, and an influential leader overseeing it all. For Luxcore, that influential leader is Mr Gerald Ramdeen. Establishing Luxcore at the turn of the millennium, Mr Ramdeen has since acted not only as founder, but also as chairman and chief executive officer, ensuring he remains as involved as ever with the daily activities of the work he started. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Luxcore has collaborated with a highly talented team of research scientists in materials science and a group of highly experienced telecommunications equipment engineers from Bell Labs, Nortel, and Tellabs to revolutionize semiconductors. The results are nothing short of exceptional.
Following Mr Ramdeen’s success as such an influential CEO and leader for the team at Luxcore, we at Corporate Vision had the privilege of speaking to him more about his tenure at the company, as well as its ongoing mission. As the conversation began, Mr Ramdeen shared with us the vision behind Luxcore, and how it has evolved over the last twenty years.
“With an organizational corporate development and capitalization history spanning nearly two decades, the original vision for Luxcore then and today is still the same. Our purpose is to ‘Change the Way the World Communicates.’ Looking back, our first generation was all about designing, developing and proving fundamental, underlying core photonic integrated circuit (I.C.) or ‘optical semiconductor’ technologies that make ‘all-optical’ networks commercially viable. This, our second generation, is focused on fundamental architectural changes to the global Internet backbone infrastructure and the technology-enabled disruptive business model that need to be brought to market to fulfil our vision and purpose.”
Even before founding, chairing, and leading Luxcore, Mr Ramdeen had accrued a wealth of experience in telecommunication, I.P. Routing, optical systems, and A.I., having held various positions with organizations such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. Upon founding Luxcore, Mr Ramdeen then proved his ability to recruit and lead a world-class team of more than 120 hardware and software engineers from Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, and Tellabs.
Just one year after its establishment, Luxcore introduced the world to the multi-terabit G1 LambdaRouter™, an integrated switching, routing, and transport system based on a fundamentally new type of proprietary semiconductor microprocessor chip technology. Revealed at the Optical Fiber Conference in Anaheim, CA, the LambdaRouter™ was the world’s first all-optical wavelength switching, routing, and integrated transport system based on photonic I.C technologies at its core.
This radical new invention was set to change the game for semiconductors, proving that electronic conversions were not necessary for switching wavelengths of light or photons. It was a breakthrough that would forever change the underlying technology of the global phenomenon we know today as the Internet, as well as the economics of allowing billions of people around the world to access that same Internet. However, just a few short months after the monumental success that Luxcore was experiencing for its innovation, there came an unfortunate change in circumstance. Mr Ramdeen shared with us a time when his leadership was tested.
“Here we are in the spring of 2001 winning the show’s top awards, including “Best New Product.” A few months later in May 2001, the dot com and telecom bubbles had clearly burst. Our three Beta Test customers met their demise. One of the world’s largest telecommunications services providers filed for bankruptcy, another filed for bankruptcy reorganization, and our third was acquired. Literally, overnight, our market had disappeared! We developed a product for a big market that didn’t exist at the time. I would say that it was a failure that taught me a lesson of perseverance.”
It might have been easy for that to have been the end of Luxcore’s story. But Mr Ramdeen’s leadership and determination to succeed carried the firm through. Any great leader has faced times of difficulty. What separates and elevates them to exceptional levels is the perseverance to push through them.
“Have faith, believe in your team, and stay committed to your purpose and vision even in the face of adversity.”
Whilst the last two decades have seen fundamental shifts occurring in the communications industry, they are ones that Mr Ramdeen and his team have been keeping a careful eye on. Following the implosion of the dot com and telecom bubbles in Spring 2001, the firm watched carefully for signs that could pave the way for a new global revolution in the use of semiconductors. That time is now. Mr Ramdeen shared us with some statistics of the last ten years that offer an opportunity to revolutionize the way semiconductors are used in global Internet technology.
“We’ve witnessed a substantial increase in the amount of data that travels over the Internet backbone. For example, Cisco Systems had predicted that there would be a 6x increase in data traffic in the Cloud alone from 2012 to 2016 to an annual data traffic volume of 6.6 Zettabytes! That’s equivalent to 7 trillion hours of H.D. video streaming or 2.5 hours of H.D. video streaming for each man, woman and child on Earth each day for an entire year (source: “Cisco Global Cloud Index Forecasts Cloud Traffic to Grow Sixfold by 2016”: News Release, Cisco Systems, October 23, 2012).”
“Today’s Internet backbone was never designed to support this type of explosive growth in data. What happens with the deployment of 5G mobile wireless communications, the coming of the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and the demands of big data analytics? How will today’s global Internet backbone cost-effectively keep up with this exponential growth in data?”
More and more people than ever before are using electronic devices with them wherever they go, and the need for semiconductors that can get the job done has never been more prevalent. In this era of inescapable digitalisation, the use of semiconductors has become impossible to avoid. For many years, silicon has been the primary semiconductor of choice for discrete devices and integrated circuits, given its relatively commonness and excellent conductive properties.
However, Mr Ramdeen and the team at Luxcore had other ideas. Instead choosing to use Indium Phosphide (InP) as its primary semiconductor material of choice, Luxcore had its sights set on dominating the market once again, without the disastrous implosion. Indium Phosphide proved a superior choice for a semiconductor that would be used in high-power and high-frequency electronics, thanks in large part to its electron velocity being greater than that of elements such as silicon and gallium arsenide.
As our time with Mr Ramdeen comes to a close, it has become more apparent than ever why he has been duly recognized as the Most Influential CEO of the Year 2019 – USA. His sagacity, tenacity, and determination is nothing short of admirable, and his ability to lead a team through some of the most difficult economic conditions is unparalleled. Closing out the interview, Mr Ramdeen shared with us some words of wisdom for his fellow peers; words which many of us should take to heart.
“I want to tell my peers that the key is ‘perseverance and adaptability.’. Have faith, believe in your team, and stay committed to your purpose and vision even in the face of adversity. Be open to the unconventional. The path to success does not come without obstacles and challenges. I had the difficult tasks of trying to find and lead strategic initiatives to keep Luxcore operational during some of the most challenging economic conditions in recent history and prevailing through it was gratifying.”
Contact: Gerald Ramdeen