Tim Jenks, CEO NeoPhotonics
The CEO of NeoPhotonics, Tim Jenks, joined ESTEEM students for the second Lunch & Learn of the spring semester. NeoPhotonics is a leading designer and manufacturer of advanced hybrid photonic integrated optoelectronic modules and subsystems for bandwidth-intensive, high-speed communications networks. In simpler terms as Jenks put it, NeoPhotonics makes “the gut that makes digital communication work.”
Since becoming CEO in 1998, Jenks has grown NeoPhotonics from a start-up to a public mid-cap company. Jenks shared his experiences from being an entrepreneur and lessons learned from the hardships he has experienced as CEO with ESTEEM students. One of the points that Jenks credited to NeoPhotonic’s success has been the company culture. From the start, there was a “failure is not an option,” mentality that Jenks instilled into the company. He truly believes that values and behaviors of a company determine if you last and succeed, and noted that employees do not quit when times are tough if there is a culture of integrity within the company.
NeoPhotonics has sponsored ESTEEM thesis projects in the past, and is currently sponsoring Sean Bolton, who is working on leveraging NeoPhotonic’s current technology to develop advanced LIDAR sensors for 3D sensing and ranging.
Jenks ended his presentation by providing students with ten lessons he has learned from 20 years in entrepreneurship. One of these lessons was not waiting to have something to sell to hire a salesperson. He encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to get a salesperson face to face with customers to get feedback and perfect the product before it is ready for sale.