Executive Team Profiles
Executive Vice President
of Sales and Service
Pollock began working
for Plasma-Therm in January 1979 and was on
the team that developed Plasma-Therm's earliest
plasma processing equipment. In 1996 he left
Plasma-Therm to further his career in semiconductor-related
capital equipment design, marketing, and business
management. Upon returning in 2001 to Plasma-Therm,
then owned by Unaxis (Oerlikon), he held the
post of business unit manager, and then became
the St. Petersburg site manager for Oerlikon.
In January 2009 he became EVP of Sales for
Plasma-Therm LLC. Pollock studied mechanical
engineering at Drexel University.
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.