Valentin Gapontsev is Founder and President of IPG Photonics Corporation (Oxford, MA).
Gapontsev was born in Moscow in 1939. In 1961, he graduated from Lviv Polytechnic Institute. In the same year as an intern he began working as an engineer in a design bureau of the Ministry of Radio in Lviv, eventually moving to the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics, USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1972, he received a PhD in laser material science, concentrating on the development of new solid-state laser materials and research of nonradiative processes of multiphonon relaxation and energy transfer between rare earth and transition metal sites in laser glasses and crystals.
He founded IPG Photonics in 1990 as a small optics company in the Soviet Union. Since that time IPG has become a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers for diverse applications and markets, reporting revenues of $229.1 million in FY2008. The company now operates manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany, Russia, and Italy, as well as sales offices in Japan, China, Korea, India, and the United Kingdom. Major developments in IPG's history include moving to a vertically integrated manufacturing model in 2000 and going public in 2006.
Independent Thinker: Valentin Gapontsev (July 2007, SPIE Professional magazine