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Tags: Optical
February 16, 2016

Infinera Co-Founder and President David F. Welch Elected to National Academy of Engineering

MargoBy Margo Westfall

Sr. Manager, Corporate Marketing

On Monday, Infinera Co-founder and President David (Dave) Welch, Ph.D., was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional accolades that can be awarded to an engineer in the United States.

NAEDave was one of 80 new U.S. members who, along with 22 new foreign members, entered into this prestigious group consisting of 2,275 U.S. members and 232 foreign associates in total from the fields of technology and engineering.


Infinera Co-founder and President David (Dave) Welch, Ph.D.
Infinera Co-founder and President David (Dave) Welch, Ph.D.

The NAE honors  “’…those who have made outstanding contributions to ‘engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature,’ and to the ‘pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.’” 

Dave was recognized for his contributions to high-power semiconductor lasers and photonic integrated circuits.  A pioneer in the field of optical devices and optical transport systems for telecommunications networks, Dave was first to make possible the commercial deployment of reliable 980 nanometer laser pumps, needed in low-noise optical amplifiers employed in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) telecommunications systems. He also achieved the first commercial optoelectronics integrated circuit, several years ahead of any competing research or development laboratory. Infinera was founded under his leadership and is now a world leader in photonic integration technology, empowering network operators to scale network bandwidth, accelerate service innovation and simplify optical network operations.

As co-founder and president of Infinera, Dave leads Infinera’s engineering group, architecture group, long-haul and subsea business groups, metro business group, data center/cloud business group, business development and marketing. Dave has made numerous contributions to the field of optical communication systems — including more than 250 published articles and 169 patents.

Dave has received a number of previous honors and awards including:

  • 2016: IEEE Ernst Weber Managerial Leadership Award
  • 2013: the Institute of Engineering and Technology J J Thomson Medal for Electronics
  • 2013: #5 of the “Top Ten: Optical Movers and Shakers” by telecommunications publication Light Reading
  • 2011: Optical Society of America (OSA) John Tyndall Award
  • 2010: University of Delaware Alumni Association Wall of Fame
  • 1999: OSA Joseph Fraunhofer Award/Robert M. Burley Prize
  • 1998: IEEE LEOS Engineering Achievement Award
  • 1992: OSA Adolph Lomb Medal

Founded in 1964, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. Its mission is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. For more information about the National Academy of Engineering, please visit

Congratulations to Dave on receiving this prestigious honor!

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