Meet Our Staff
President and CEO
Ben Waite began his career at Fiber Optic Center (FOC) in 1995. Ben brings his extensive experience in technical field work, business strategy and engineering management to his position of President and CEO. Ben brings his manufacturing knowledge and experience into customers’ worldwide operations.
In addition to his responsibilities at FOC, Ben has been an active member of the New England Fiberoptic Council for many years, including NEFC board positions as Secretary, Treasurer, and President. Ben graduated from Colby College with a BA in Physics, Math, and Science and Technology Studies.
He and his wife reside outside New Bedford, with their three children, where they are deeply involved in their community and extended families. Outside of FOC, he can be found coaching youth Baseball and Soccer.
Thomas Waite started at Fiber Optic Center in May, 2000 in IT, developing an interactive program that became the company website and keeps product information current and accessible for sales and customer service. Since then, Tom has used his product knowledge to lead the customer service, inventory and shipping departments. As Vice President, he continues to lead these departments and company operations. Before Fiber Optic Center, he was an IT consultant for Keene Inc., Boston, MA. Tom graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Economics and Mathematics and a minor in Business. He currently resides in South Dartmouth with his wife, Heather, and their two daughters, Emma and Breanna. He enjoys skiing, boating, playing golf and traveling in his free time.
Neal Weiss founded Fiber Optic Center, Inc. (FOC) in downtown New Bedford, MA in January, 1992 after 10 years as Business Manager of Boston Electronics Corporation (BEC) in Brookline, MA. BEC is an importer/exporter of laser accessories and other high tech components and materials; FOC is the result of a friendly separation and continuation of the fiber optic-related parts of BEC’s business. Like BEC, FOC does business all over the world, and specializes in cutting edge technologies that are not yet fully developed.
Neal’s position at FOC includes maintaining the company’s unique position and focus in the ever-changing fiber optic and high tech landscape. Specific areas of technical expertise include systems for fiber manufacturing (MCVD gas delivery, draw towers and ancillary equipment), SMA and other connectors for specialty and large core fibers, and sourcing of unusual or hard-to-find components.
An active participant in the SouthCoast (greater New Bedford – “NB”) non-profit scene, Neal is a past board chair of the NB Art Museum, the YWCA-SEMA capital campaign steering committee, and most recently the NB Education Foundation, which raises money for innovation and excellence in the NB public schools. He has also served on the board of the New England Fiberoptic Council, including a term as board chair.
Neal continues to coach little kids wrestling (ages 4 to 13) at NBHS. Neal’s education includes a BA in philosophy with a minor in linguistics from Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, as well as graduate level coursework in management, business, data communications, and sports science. His first career was as a teacher of English in the public junior high and high school in Exeter, NH. In 1998, Neal created Whaling City Sound to issue jazz and other music CDs, and which has become known in the jazz radio world, including a 2015 Grammy nomination.
Business Development, Technical Sales
Mario Goduco is in Business Development for Fiber Optic Center. He has over 25 years in manufacturing, operations and business development with AMP, Thomas and Betts, Aster Corp., and Adirondack Wire and Cable design, manufacturing and sales of fiber optic connectors, fiber optic cable assemblies, optical splitters/wdms. In the last 15+ years with Fiber Optic Center, he has set up and/or optimized manufacturing facilities for fiber assemblies at over 100 companies worldwide.
In a previous position as VP-Operations for US Fiber Optics, he created and managed assembly manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Mexico and China. He has written 4 papers on the processing of singlemode connectors and remains one of the pioneers in manufacturing low return loss connections. He has worked with fiber assembly operations in Asia, Australia, Europe, India and Africa.
Mr. Goduco continues to provide technical consultation in the setup, staffing, operations and qualification of fiber optic assembly manufacturing all over the world.
Business Development, Technical Sales
Dan has worked in fiber optic cable assembly since 1986, starting as a part-time line operator for a local cable production company and working his way up through to management positions in large global companies. His experience includes positions in process training, supervision, product and process engineering, quality system development and management, factory general management, global factory startups, and global project management roles. He has held several overseas positions, opening and managing factories in Mexico, India, China, and Czech Republic. He has led global project efforts in sourcing / supplier auditing, global process standardization, and global operations strategic planning.
Dan’s extensive experience gives him a unique ability to relate to help FOC’s customers meet challenges, adapt and grow in the evolving and competitive fiber cable assembly market.
Business Development, Epoxies, Technical Sales
Kelly Barker started her career in customer service, marketing and sales. Since then, she has been promoted to management positions in these departments, project management director, and new business development with a specialty in product line marketing strategy.
Kelly joined Fiber Optic Center, Inc. from PennWell Corporation where she spent more than five years in business development within various industries including Fiber Optics, Cabling, Connector, LED, Military and Aerospace. She has worked extensively with adhesive manufacturers on their product lines and applications within these markets.
Kelly graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell in 1997 with a BS degree in Marketing and Management and a minor in Legal Studies. She resides in Nashua, NH with her husband and two girls, Maizie and Audrey. She enjoys being involved in community activities, such as park and recreation sports with her girls, and enjoys camping and reading.
Business Development, Fiber Design & Manufacturing, Technical Sales
Larry Donalds began his career at Fiber Optic Center (FOC) in 2017 as Business Development, Fiber Design and Manufacturing, Technical Sales. Larry brings more than 35 years of experience from 3M Company in St. Paul, MN after recently retiring.
During his time with 3M Company, he spent 24 years in the development and manufacture of specialty optical fiber, utilizing “voice of the customer,” helping 3M design and produce fibers to meet specific customer applications and performance criteria. . Projects included the development and production of EDFA (Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier) fiber, radiation-hardened fiber for gyroscopes, solution doping of preforms, patent development for Oxyfluoride Erbium fiber, organometallic rare earth deposition and a rare earth single mode fiber bend and position sensor.
In his fiber position at 3M, Mr. Donalds maintained and operated MCVD equipment from SG Controls of Cambridge, England, whom FOC has represented in North America for over 25 years.
Larry has achieved several awards over his career including 3M Golden Step Award, Photonics Circle of Excellence Award, R&D 100 Award, 3M Circle of Technical Excellence Awards in 1983, 2001, and 2008, & 3M Ideation Challenge award in 2017.
He and his wife reside in Arizona. Outside of FOC, Larry’s hobbies includes fishing, boating, snowmobiling, outdoor landscaping, & deck design and construction.
EMEA Business Development, Technical Sales
Erwin Gelderblom manages sales and technical support for FOC in the EMEA area. Earlier positions included Toshiba Medical Systems, Framatome, and Amphenol. Erwin joined Molex Fiber Optics in 1997 as European account manager, developing business for optical backplane connectors and optical flex circuit products to become the largest sales area for Molex. Erwin completed a four-year internal MBA program while at Molex, and was responsible for market analyses, growth strategy and business development for Molex Europe.
Following ten years at Molex, Erwin worked for Prysmian Cables in the Netherlands. Since 2009, Erwin has worked with FOC, handling consumables, production and inspection equipment.
Erwin graduated in 1987 from MBO college in Gouda, Netherlands with degree in electronics engineering and lives in the Rotterdam area with his wife Anita and their three children, Nils, Lianne and Finette.
EMEA Business Development, Technical Sales
Giorgio Bonvini, based in EUROPE, manages sales and technical support for FOC in EMEA region. Earlier positions include AEG Telefunken, TELEMECANIQUE, and AMP. Giorgio joined Molex, in 1987, as Telecom specialist developing business in this market for copper and optical connector, selling standard products and collaborating with different factories to develop custom solutions. He transitioned to sales manager for telecom and industrial market coordinating a team of sales engineers. Additionally, he completed internal MBA program with focus on finance, marketing, operation and HR . After an 18 year career at Molex, Giorgio moved to ITT Cannon for 8 years as South Europe Sales Manager. Those responsibilities included managing a sales team for military, industrial and railway markets and developing projects for copper and fiber optic application. From ITT Cannon, Giorgio began collaboration with FOC . Giorgio is based in Italy travelling across EU continent visiting customers located in specific countries .
EMEA Business Development, Technical Sales
Marcel Buijs manages sales and technical support for FOC in the EMEA area.
With over twenty five years in the photonics industry, Mr. Buijs’ credentials include founding the first Photonics Department at a Technical College in The Netherlands, with three fellow teachers, and developing curriculum for the subjects of Opto-Electronics, Fiber Optics and Machine Vision. For more than 17 years, his specific role in research and development for a global fiber optic connector company, was developing processes for making fiber optic products and a broad process portfolio. His specific department was responsible for several important developments in both the single-fiber and multi-fiber optic connector markets. Areas of expertise include laser cleaving, polishing and measurement processes and proven yield and product performance improvements. Marcel’s process, analytical and statistical knowledge gives him the ultimate tools to help every FOC customer meeting their specifications in making the ultimate fiber optic product and improve process yield.
Marcel has a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from Saxion University. He and his wife Ellen live in the center of the Netherlands near Holland’s largest national park “de hoge Veluwe” with their three children.
Business Development, Films, Technical Sales
Donna Brodie started her career in the abrasive coating industry for fiber optic, automotive and industrial markets in August 1991 with Mipox International, originally on the production floor, converting raw materials into custom sizes. Donna moved from that role to customer service for 7 years, and then to Sales Account Manager, where she developed and followed up on business leads, maintained contact with distributors and direct customers, ensured customer satisfaction, and visited customers in North America and Europe.
After 21 years with Mipox International, she joined Fiber Optic Center in October 2012 as a Business Development Manager for Film. In this role, Donna is the technical film manager, account manager, and distribution liaison for the Mipox International account.
Business Development, Test, Technical Sales
Chris Rollinson began his career at Fiber Optic Center in 2013 with 40 years of experience in test and measurement. Chris handles Business Development for Test and Measurement with a specialty area in the MAP passive component tester.
Chris has nearly 20 years in fiber optics, mostly as application engineer and later product line manager in instrumentation at JDSU, where, in the fiber boom, he designed and installed several complex optical measurement systems. Further back he was involved with shock , vibration and sound measurements with the Danish company Bruel & Kjaer.
Chris Graduated from the University of Leeds (UK) with a BSc. in Physics. He Lives in Ottawa, Canada with his Wife, Dog, several old cars and a motorcycle.
Business Development, Specialty Products, Technical Sales
Randall Elgin started her career at Fiber Optic Center (FOC) in February 2010 as a technical specialist in encapsulation materials for optical applications. Since then she has worked with new materials, optical and otherwise, that enable high tech applications in the photonics industry. She regularly attends the photonics exhibitions in the US and Europe. Randall joined FOC from Nusil, where she spent 5 years working on the encapsulation issues for Solid State Lighting. Prior to that she spent 3 years at Lightspan in Wareham, MA, learning about and supporting emerging optical applications. Before Lightspan, she was an electrical engineer for 17 years at Sippican Ocean Systems in Marion, MA. Randall graduated from Boston University in 1984 with a Masters in Electrical Engineering. She and her husband reside outside New Bedford where they built a super energy efficient home, enjoy rural living and take in the New Bedford and Boston classical music scenes.
Optical Cable, Technical Expert
Wayne Kachmar has been in the optical cable industry for over 37 years. He has participated in many innovations and seen the maturing of the industry. Over the years, Wayne has been involved in many unique projects to provide optical cable in diverse environments such as the underwater ROV that penetrated the Titanic, as well as cable that is in service sensing sub-atomic particles in the Antarctic ice. Wayne developed a number of unique concepts and products using optical fibers as both information carriers and sensors where the cable became the sensor. These have included fiber laser ring gyroscope components and distributed acoustic sensors for terrestrial and underwater applications. As a principal investigator for many government sponsored projects, he has developed methods that push the state of the art in optical cable design and manufacture. Over his career, Wayne has been able to fuse this state of the art knowledge with conventional fiber cable design to significantly cost reduce both materials and processes.
With over 50 granted patents in fiber optic cables, connectors and tools and over 60 patents published or in process, Wayne’s path to TE Connectivity started when he founded and ran Northern Lights Cable, Inc. in 1988. He sold the company to Prestolite Wire in late 1997 continuing as division CEO until 2000. In 2000, Prestolite Wire was packaged with other holdings of the owner to become GenTek (a publicly held company), which also acquired Krone that year. Wayne’s position transitioned to Director of R&D, managing the RD&E center. In 2004, all Krone divisions were acquired by ADC who itself was acquired by TE in December 2010.
In 2012, Wayne was named a TE Fellow in electro-optic engineering based on the length and depth of his technical knowledge and accomplishments. This is the highest technical title within the TE structure with less than 20 persons worldwide out of 8000 scientists and engineers within TE.
In 2015, Wayne incorporated his consulting company Technical Horsepower Consulting, LLC. and joined Fiber Optic Center, Inc. as their Optical Cable Technical Expert.
508-992-6464 with ext. 8623
Marketing & Information Technology
Director Strategic Marketing
Kathleen has been a leader in the corporate business sector since 1991. Her experience includes management positions at Lightwave, KMI Research, PennWell Publishing, Beacon Communications, and Security Innovations, Inc.
As a strategic marketing director, she utilizes her expertise in business development, online strategy, marketing planning, digital best practices, standard operating procedures development, and database design, management and training. Kathleen has global business and marketing experience.
Outside of FOC, Kathleen is passionate about her volunteer work for several organizations including Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; American Red Cross; St. Jude’s; Voices of Hope; Destination Imagination, PTO and The Skelton Cohere Club that she founded with her son to support youth charity teams. She works with youth groups teaching business strategy for various community projects. In her volunteer work, Kathleen is committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders through exciting, strategy-focused business education. This mission guides all of her work outside of the corporate office.
Kathleen graduated from Curry College in 1991 with a BA in Communications and Education. She has a double minor in English and Psychology and has continued to take both certification and MBA courses through MCC and University of Massachusetts. Kathleen resides outside of Boston, MA with her husband and four children.
Marketing Promotions Director
Joni brings more than 20 years of marketing expertise, much of it in the high-tech industry. Her most recent experience was at Endeavor Business Media where she provided marketing direction for four media brands, including Lightwave and Cabling Installation & Maintenance. She is highly-skilled in email marketing and has been instrumental in leading successful marketing initiatives in the optical networking and structured cabling industries. Joni holds a Bachelor of Communication from the University of New Hampshire.
Kelly Michael Skelton
Kelly joins FOC as Systems Architect with experience in digital marketing strategies, analytics and identity solutions. Kelly earned his Marketing & Management Bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML). Additionally, he earned a Digital Marketing Certificate in Analytics, CRM, Social Media & E-Commerce from The Wharton School. Kelly is currently a Business Program Advisor for Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School and Academic Advisor of the Salesforce Leadership Society at UML.
His Licenses & Certifications include:
- Salesforce Trailhead Ranger
- Google Measuring Customer-Centric Marketing, Google Web Designer Basics
- Wharton Online: Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce
- Facebook: Ad Policies for Content, Creative, Targeting
- Facebook: Pixel (Ads & Outcome, Delivery & Evaluation), Split Testing and Best Brand Practices
- Instagram for Business
Customer Service Manager
508-992-6464 with ext. 8493
Michael Thorpe joined FOC in 2010 as a Customer Service Representative and quickly rose to a key leader within the department. Previously with Optical Cable Corporation, in the OEM group, Michael worked in sales for bulk fiber optic cable to assembly houses and customer service. During his employment at OCC, SMP was acquired (Now OCC North Carolina) where he was trained additionally on the connectivity side creating the perfect experience for FOC. Michael has a business degree from Nichols College and currently resides in Bristol, RI with his wife, Bianca, and their daughter Maya.
508-992-6464 with ext. 8424
Direct: 508-717- 8389
508-992-6464 with ext. 8389
508-992-6464 with ext. 8353
508-992-6464 with ext. 8408
Nicolas de la Cruz
Direct: 508-717- 8630
508-992-6464 with ext. 8630
508-992-6464 with ext. 8356