Dan Simpkins, Founder & CEO“Imagine what you can be, not what you can see.” Dan Simpkins. CEO, Hillcrest Labs. Dan Simpkins’ creativity and vision have shaped his career and defined his companies. Relentlessly entrepreneurial, he is currently CEO of Hillcrest Labs, a company he founded in 2001 to reinvent the TV user experience and which created what is now known as “Smart TV”. He then guided the company to create the first motion-based TV remote control using inertial sensors, and has led its growth to become the leading global supplier of software, hardware, and intellectual property for motion-enabled products. He continues to drive Hillcrest to create new user experiences and groundbreaking technologies for the consumer electronics industry. Dan’s passion for innovation and determination are also evident in his career prior to Hillcrest. He founded SALIX Technologies in 1990, and over the course of a decade led the company from inception to acquisition by Tellabs, Inc. for $300 million. In his capacity as engineer and technical leader, Dan has been issued 19 U.S. patents in the fields of interactive television and telecommunications. Dan’s business acumen and personal generosity are evidenced by the guidance and mentorship he gives to many current and former colleagues, and shape many of his business relationships. Dan sits on the board of private company PublicRelay, is an active advisor to and investor in several early stage companies, and is a former executive in residence for New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the country’s premiere venture capital firms. He also currently serves on the Cornell Engineering College Council, an advisory group to Dean Lance Collins. Dan earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree with distinction in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, which included additional studies in biology and cognitive psychology. He then earned a Master’s of Engineering degree (in EE) with a research focus in bio-electrical systems, also from Cornell. He is a frequent speaker at industry events; has authored papers on both technical and business subjects; and is a member of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Chuck Gritton, CTOChuck Gritton is responsible for all of Hillcrest Labs’ technology development, including strategy, product architectures and research. His distinguished career includes more than 20 years of experience in signal processing, image processing, networking and videoconferencing in the telecommunications, wireless, cable, consumer electronics and personal computer markets. He has held senior management positions at some of the world’s largest communications companies as well as emerging companies. Prior to joining Hillcrest, Chuck was CTO of Tellabs, Inc., following the acquisition of Coherent Communications, where he was CTO and vice president of engineering. Previously, Chuck was co-founder, president and CTO of Broadsword Technologies. He has held engineering management positions at AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Network Systems. Chuck also spent ten years as head of one of the International Telecommunication Union’s DSP working groups and has been an active standards participant throughout his career. Chuck has designed or managed the creation of many signal processing ASICs, leading to the deployment of millions of devices. Chuck has also designed or managed the creation of numerous DSP-based communications systems including a video conferencing system that was deployed in the space shuttle. Chuck holds dozens of domestic and foreign patents. He currently serves as an advisor for Colibria, a presence management company, and is a member of CTAM, SCTE, and IDIA. Chuck earned a bachelor’s in electrical engineering with highest Distinction, a master’s in electrical engineering, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia.
Chad Lucien, SVP, Sales & MarketingChad Lucien is responsible for Hillcrest Labs’ worldwide sales, marketing and business development activities. Since joining Hillcrest in 2004, Chad has been a member of the Company’s executive management team where he has held positions encompassing corporate strategy, business development, and general management of the Freespace® motion computing product line. During his tenure, he has licensed Freespace® solutions to global consumer electronics companies, developed a wide variety of strategic partnerships, and led numerous product launches in the Freespace® product line. Chad has over 15 years of experience in corporate strategy, business development, venture consulting, and investment banking. Prior to Hillcrest, Chad was the Director of Strategic Development for TVGateway LLC, where he worked with the cable operators invested in TVGateway to execute a spin-off, reshape the strategy, and complete multiple financings and acquisitions. Prior positions also include Principal of Katalyst LLC, an operational consulting and venture capital firm, and Associate at Houlihan Lokey, an investment banking firm specializing in valuation and merger and acquisition transaction advisory services. Chad earned a bachelor of science in commerce with distinction from the University of Virginia, with concentrations in finance and marketing and is a CFA charterholder.
Dave Karlin, SVP, Product StrategyDavid ‘Dave’ Karlin has over 30 years of experience in product development and technology-based strategic marketing. Since joining Hillcrest in 2005, Dave has been a member of the Company’s executive management team where he has held positions encompassing account and program management, product development, strategic planning and operations. Dave is currently responsible for Hillcrest’s product strategy and product management activities. Prior to joining Hillcrest, Dave served as Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing for Agilent Technologies’ Multi Industry Business Unit, as the Senior Manager of Product Planning for the company’s Measurement and Analysis Software & Technology Operation, and as a Director of New Ventures. During his tenure at Agilent, Dave directed the formation and implementation of innovative business, product and technology initiatives, covering the spectrum of digital to Ultra-Wideband signals with market applications in cellular, WLAN, aerospace/defense, industrial, and education. As an R&D manager and engineer for Hewlett-Packard, Dave led the invention, development, and market delivery of more than a dozen significant test and measurement instrumentation solutions, critical to the deployment of LAN, WAN and ATM data communication services during the last two decades of the 20th century. Dave earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University. As a Hewlett-Packard Fellow, he was awarded a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
Peter Jackson, SVP, Finance & AdministrationPeter Jackson is a founding member of the Hillcrest management team and has almost 20 years of financial management experience. Prior to Hillcrest, he directed the Switching Division finance team at Tellabs, Inc. Prior to Tellabs, as Vice President of Finance for SALIX Technologies, Inc., Peter played a key role in building the company, raising venture capital and negotiating its sale to Tellabs, Inc. for $300M. Previously, he served in several key financial management roles including Director of Financial Planning and Controller for Filetek, Inc., a data management systems company. Peter began his career with the public accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. Peter is a Certified Public Accountant, an Elijah Watt Sells national award winner and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with summa cum laude distinction from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) professional organization.
Steve Scheirey, VP, Software DevelopmentSteve Scheirey is responsible for Hillcrest Labs’ TV Software and Services products. Steve has a diverse background in consumer electronics, Web and mobile applications, telecommunications, and defense industries. He has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, software development, and systems architecture. Steve has a record of accomplishments for innovative startup companies. Steve is a founding member of Hillcrest and has a hands-on role in software development, project management, and technical leadership. Prior to Hillcrest, Steve was a software manager and technical contributor at Tellabs and SALIX technologies where he helped architect and develop one of the world’s first high density VOIP switches. Steve began his engineering career at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), a not-for-profit center, known for addressing complex research, engineering, and analytical problems. Steve helped develop and launch integrated command and control systems for the surface Navy fleet. Steve is a U.S. patent holder and inventor on numerous patent- pending applications. Steve earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Cornell University and a master of science in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University.
Steve Francz, VP, Hardware & OperationsSteve has held positions in engineering for over 25 years with a diversified set of high technology firms. Since joining Hillcrest in 2004, he has led engineering, product, and operations teams. Disciplines have included hardware development, industrial design, mechanical design, project management, configuration management, and quality assurance. Over the years at Hillcrest Steve has directed various developments including remote control designs from concept to manufacturing release, and new production introductions with manufacturing partners worldwide. He has also been responsible for user test planning and test execution. Prior to joining Hillcrest, Steve held engineering and engineering management roles at firms in the telecommunications satellite, test equipment, portable police and military communications equipment, and network management markets. His experience has included conceptual and detailed design of mechanical systems, product and safety certifications including NEBS compliance, configuration management, and project management. Working in several start-up companies, he was responsible for building the engineering team, new process development and developing processes to meet standards such as the ISO9000 quality standard. His management experience has included both product and hardware engineering teams including staff from a broad list of disciplines such as electrical and mechanical engineers, PCB designers, program and project managers, and configuration management analysts. Steve holds more than 10 patents in design of consumer electronic products and studied engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology.