Zemax executive team

The diverse backgrounds of our executive team contribute to making Zemax a thought leader in both optics and technology. Our optics, engineering, and business skillsets help Zemax succeed as a cutting-edge software company with expertise in optics.

Mark Nicholson

Chief Executive Officer

Steers the ship
Mark oversees corporate strategic planning for the company. Ever focused on leading-edge applications of optical technology, Mark holds a PhD in plasma physics and spectroscopy and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Imperial College in London. For the past 20 years, Mark has helped Zemax navigate through key inflection points. Prior to that, he worked with Oxford Group and Crosfield Electronics.

Fast facts about Mark

  • He has written or contributed to many of the company’s white papers and Knowledge Base articles.
  • His first motorcycle was an MZ TS 125 and his favorite bikes are Moto Guzzis.
  • He played lead guitar in Roadhouse, Seattle’s premier classic rock cover band.

Find Mark on LinkedIn

Dan Hamann

Chief Revenue Officer

Drives the sales and lead-generation machine
Passionate about staying ahead of changing customer buying behavior, Dan identifies new markets and opportunities for Zemax, with an eye toward accelerated revenue growth, increased profitability, and a sustainable competitive advantage. Dan came to Zemax from F5 Networks, where he built a successful global sales team and installed their first full “Cold to Cash” waterfall. He worked previously with Simply Measured and Oralis.

Fast facts about Dan

  • He holds a bachelor’s in Spanish from Colorado State University.
  • He plays the accordion, guitar, and piano.
  • His love of travel takes him far and wide, to such places as Turkey, Cambodia, South Africa, and Europe.

Find Dan on LinkedIn

Alison Yates

Director of Virtual Prototyping

Leads product management, engineering services, and community engagements
Fixed on removing obstacles for customers, Alison leads a cross-functional, global team of product managers, engineers, content, and community professionals. She is responsible for delivering on the promise of faster time to market for customers through modern virtual prototyping. She also mentors junior engineers and students in underrepresented populations.

Fast facts about Alison

  • She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Wright State University, a master’s degree in electro-optics from the University of Dayton, and a yoga teaching certification.
  • She recently adopted a baby grand piano.
  • She has cycled in five countries

Find Alison on LinkedIn

Jeff deCillia

Chief Financial Officer

Serves as the financial steward for the company
Jeff’s focus at Zemax is driving growth and bottom-line results by infusing speed, flexibility, strategic thinking, and operational efficiency into the organization. Most recently he served as CFO of Donuts Inc., the operator of the largest number of the Internet’s top-level domain names. Prior to that he served as CFO of INRIX, Inc., a global traffic intelligence platform, where he was a key player in the acquisition and integration of INRIX’s largest competitor, and managed significant international operations.

Fast facts about Jeff

  • He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business and earned his CPA license while working at Deloitte.
  • He enjoys traveling internationally and the food pleasures that such travel offers.
  • When not at work he can be found on the golf course, working out, or otherwise staying active.

Find Jeff on LinkedIn

Sanjay Gangadhara

Director of Research & Development

Leads the technical development of all Zemax software solutions
Tasked with strategic planning and implementation of product releases, Sanjay leads a cross-functional team of engineers, physicists, and software developers. His background in general physics, electromagnetism, and optical systems diagnostics has served him well in his various roles at Zemax including optical scientist, senior analyst, developer, and now director of R&D.

Fast facts about Sanjay

  • He holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering & Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley and a PhD in Nuclear Science & Engineering from MIT.
  • His young children have PhDs in being energetic.
  • In his youth, he was named “Most Improved Player” on both his Freshman and Junior Varsity high school football teams.

Find Sanjay on LinkedIn

Cort Stinnett

Director of Business Development

Expands the global product portfolio
Responsible for identifying and pursuing new ways to grow the Zemax business, Cort is responsible for defining new product opportunities and building the team to deliver. With a background in engineering and a knack for market analysis, Cort offers fresh perspectives about customer needs and market direction.

Fast facts about Cort

  • He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from University of Kansas and an MBA from Creighton University.
  • When he’s not entrenched in market analysis, you can find him dodging cars as he commutes on his bike.
  • Is an avid Star Trek Fan and knows many quotes from all the movies!

Find Cort on LinkedIn