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 of
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
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 Connecticut.
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.