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.
Ashish enjoys his red wines and, in his spare time, constructs an occasional crossword for the New York Times.
Chief Financial Officer
Rob Crowder became Nistica’s chief financial officer in 2013. In addition to this role, Rob is chief financial officer and secretary of AFL. 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 AFL’s 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 Draka’s 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.
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.
Chief Operating Officer
As COO, Dario is responsible for all operations, engineering, development and supply chain activities at Nistica. Previously, Dario was Vice President of Sales and Marketing, a role he assumed after several years leading Nistica’s Product Line Management activities with a focus on driving the company’s rapid growth and market penetration in WSS and 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 doctoral research. Post-graduate fiber-sensing R&D work was followed by a multi-year tour on the professional bicycle racing circuit, competing as racer and team manager. Upon return to the fiber optics world, Dario transitioned from R&D to the PLM arena, first with Planar Lightwave Circuit (PLC) manufacturer Gemfire and then Nistica.
Dario obtained his B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and his M.S. and Ph.D in Applied Physics from Stanford University. He currently holds six Patents.
Born in Switzerland and raised in Mexico, Dario is fluent in Spanish and enjoys diverse foods as he travels around the world.
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 Engineering
Ronen Simovitch joined Nistica as Vice President of Engineering in October 2013. He came to Nistica from ECI Telecom Inc., an international network systems solutions provider where he held a various progressively more responsible positions, and since December 2007 as the Hardware Director, R&D.
Ronen has vast experience in leading new products design, from requirements and concept phase throughout their full development cycle to New Product Introduction (NPI) and manufacturing flow, with responsibility for meeting development deadlines, budget, qualifications and verification targets.
Ronen received his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Tel Aviv University - Hulon affiliation and an MBA degree from the College of Management Academic Studies, Israel.
Vice President Manufacturing & Quality
Indaka Jayawardene joined Nistica in February 2007 as Director of Manufacturing. He came to Nistica from Meriton Networks, a network systems solutions provider where he was the operations manager responsible for manufacturing, logistics & facilities.
Indaka entered the optical telecom arena via AT&T Bell Labs in 1995 where he worked on doped fiber, fiber gratings & undersea optical amplifier designs as an R&D engineer. In 2001 he joined optical networking startup Photuris to spearhead the manufacturing operations. Since then he has worked with top tier manufacturing facilities around the world & has vast experience in manufacturing process optimization, contract manufacturing & manufacturing quality management.
Indaka received his B.S. degree in Physics from City University New York in 1995.
He is an avid nature lover and spends at least a week a year secluded in a wild life sanctuary in Asia. He also claims to have owned a pet elephant.
Steven Robinson joined Nistica in the spring of 2009 as Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain. He has over thirty years of business and technical experience in the telecommunications industry. While managing operations, he successfully ramped up the Foxtail and Hickory Product lines from NPI to full production. More recently, Steve has served as Chief Analyst – responsible for all Corporate Planning and Data Analysis.
Prior to joining Nistica, Steve was Senior Vice President and General Manager at Xtera Communications, Inc. He led the Metro Business Product Line, introducing one of the first commercially deployed WSS ROADM systems (developed by Photuris). Steve also held various leadership and product development roles in AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent and Agere Microelectronics. /p>
Steve received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University. He received his Master’s In Business Administration from Lehigh University in 1996. He holds three US patents.
Steve is an avid fencer and knows the difference between an epee, a saber and a foil.