Executive Team Profiles
Global Customer Service
Davis joined Plasma-Therm in April 2012 as a Special project manager leading cost control effort for the VLN product line. He advanced to the role of Operational Excellence Manager initiating multiple continuous improvement projects and programs that boost efficiency, and productivity while enhancing customer satisfaction. Davis has over 20 years of Operations and Field Service Management experience within the semiconductor industry and he holds a B.S., Electronic Engineering, from ITT Technical Institute.
Director of Product Development
As Director of Product Development, Geerpuram is responsible for all the engineering operations at Plasma-Therm. Geerpuram joined Plasma-Therm in 2006 as a process engineer and advanced to a role as Process Engineering Manager before taking over as the Director of Product Development. He has around 15 years of experience in various aspects of semiconductor device fabrication and plasma processing and has authored or coauthored 20 publications and a patent. Geerpuram holds a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from the University of Florida.
Executive Vice President
As EVP of Technology,
Westerman oversees all technical operations
at Plasma-Therm. Westerman joined Plasma-Therm
in 1996 and became CTO and one of the four
managing partners in January 2009. Previously,
he oversaw Plasma-Therm’s R&D efforts
as head of product development. He has authored
and coauthored more than 30 publications and
10 patents in various aspects of semiconductor
processing. Westerman holds a bachelor's degree
in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech,
a master's in chemical engineering from University
of Illinois, and an MBA from Florida Institute
of Technology. Westerman has been a member
of the CS MANTECH Technical Programming Committee
since 2004 and is an active member of the Society
of Vacuum Coaters and the American Vacuum Society.
Director of Operations
Conte joined Plasma-Therm
in August 2014 as Director of Operations, bringing
with him more than 20 years of experience in
manufacturing and leading Lean manufacturing
transformations. He is an expert in state-of-the-art
manufacturing methods and has expertise in
automation, machining, and metal fabrication,
as well as in operational excellence initiatives
including Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, and Value Stream
Mapping. He previously managed operations at
several U.S. manufacturing firms. He earned
a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from New York
University and an MBA from the University of
Director of Human Resources
As Director of HR, Smoker
is responsible for providing leadership and
guidance in the development and administration
of human resource policies, programs, and practices.
Smoker came to Plasma-Therm in November 2012
as Senior Human Resources Manager and was promoted
to Director of Human Resources in June 2013.
She has more than 13 years of experience in
human resources and IT services management,
risk management, and strategic business partnering.
She earned the Senior Professional in Human
Resources certification in 2012. Smoker has
been a member of the Society for Human Resource
Management since 2001, and an active member
of Suncoast Human Resource Management Association
(Suncoast HR), since 2001.
Chief Executive Officer
Lateef joined Plasma-Therm
in 1998 as a project manager leading the PVD
product development effort. He advanced to
roles as Applications Lab Manager, Principal
Scientist, and Head of the Etch Business Unit.
In 2005, Lateef became a Senior Project Manager
in Oerlikon's corporate office in Switzerland,
where he focused on operational restructuring
of various divisions. Lateef later led the
MBO process, which re-established the Plasma-Therm
brand, at which time he assumed the CEO role.
With more than 20 years of experience in the
semiconductor equipment and process market,
Lateef is also co-author on a patent and several
published papers covering multiple technologies.
Prior to joining Plasma-Therm, Lateef spent
several years at Sputtered Films Inc. as a
process engineer. He serves on the Banner Center
for Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Council
and the St. Petersburg College Advisory Committee,
and is a leadership coach at the University
of Tampa. Lateef has bachelor’s and master’s
degrees in mechanical engineering from the
University of Nebraska, and an MBA from the
University of Florida.