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Jo Maney,

NPI Announces Dr. Jim McNally as New Steering Committee Chair

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 18, 2023) – The National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics, photonics and quantum science and technology, is proud to announce the selection of its new Chair. Dr. Jim McNally, an innovator, investor, entrepreneur, author, inventor and long-time NPI Steering Committee Member, has been named Steering Committee Chair. Dr. McNally brings decades of experience in the optics and photonics industry, as well as a long career as an advocate and educator, to his new role. The NPI was founded by leading international societies Optica and SPIE in 2013.

“I am thrilled to be assuming the role of Chair of the NPI Steering Committee,” Dr. McNally said. “The NPI has been an important force for innovation and research for a decade now. The members of the NPI and its Steering Committee have helped lawmakers understand and appreciate not just the importance of optics and photonics in our everyday lives, but its potential as well. As the NPI enters its second decade of advocacy, there is much to be done. From funding opportunities to workforce issues, the NPI will be front and center as these issues are confronted in Washington.”

Dr. McNally continued, “Federal investment in research and development is at a critical juncture and the optics and photonics community plays an essential role in the emergence of several key technologies including quantum information science, semi-conductors, artificial intelligence (AI) and many more. As Chair I look forward to working with policy makers to ensure federal investments in optics and photonics are well funded and will deliver an impactful return on investment to support our communities nationwide. I look forward to engaging with the optics and photonics community and policymakers on their behalf.”

Dr. McNally has served as Treasurer for SPIE, a founding member of the NPI. He also serves as Board Director for TruTouch Technologies and SkyShow. For SPIE, his volunteer service includes the Executive Committee, Strategic Planning, Public Policy, Corporate & Exhibitor, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committees, the Optica/SPIE Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow Selection Committee, Financial Advisory Committee, Compensation Committee and the CEO Executive Search Committee.

Dr. McNally was part of the 3-person Executive Team that led the sale of ATA to Arlington Capital Partners in 2020. He was the founding CEO & Board Chair of TruTouch that developed the world’s 1st non-invasive alcohol measurement product recognized by TIME™ magazine as an Invention of the Year. TruTouch was acquired in 2020. He helped establish Lumidigm, Inc., acquired by HID Global in 2014. He was VP Operations at SVS, acquired by Boeing in 2000.

Dr. McNally has enjoyed many decades of volunteer work for charities & non-profits including K-8 schools, food banks, senior living facilities, University of New Mexico (UNM) Health Science Center, UNM School of Engineering, UNM Anderson School of Management, the Central New Mexico Community College, & Chair, New Mexico Optics Industry Association. He has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from UNM, Innovate Albuquerque Entrepreneur Small Business Award, Manhattan College Alumni Society Medal & School of Engineering General Excellence Medal.

About the NPI: The National Photonics Initiative (NPI) is a collaborative alliance among industry, academia and government to raise awareness of photonics and the impact of photonics on our everyday lives; increase cooperation and coordination among US industry, government and academia to advance photonics-driven fields; and drive US funding and investment in areas of photonics critical to maintaining US economic competitiveness and national security. The initiative is being led by top scientific societies including the American Physical Society (APS), the IEEE Photonics Society, the Laser Institute of America (LIA), Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, and SPIE, the International Society for Optics and Photonics. For more information visit