Enablence hires ex-Cisco exec to lead financing drive for new semiconductor plant

Photonics stock image

A Kanata-based photonics company that hopes to build a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the National Capital Region has hired a former high-ranking executive at Cisco to lead its efforts to raise capital for the new plant.

Enablence Technologies said last week it has named Stan Besko chief financial officer. Besko replaces Paul Rowland, who had held the job since January 2022.

In a news release last Friday, Enablence said Besko will “play a key role in supporting the management team of Enablence as it executes its strategic growth plan.”

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An economics graduate of the University of Toronto, Besko also holds an MBA in finance and strategy from York University’s Schulich School of Business. 

The Toronto resident has spent more than 25 years in the technology sector. After beginning his career as a software consultant, Besko spent two years as a financial analyst at Hewlett-Packard’s Mississauga office before embarking on a 16-year run at tech giant Cisco.  

Besko held a variety of senior finance positions at the digital communications technology conglomerate, including a two-and-a-half-year stint in its Paris office, before serving as the firm’s Toronto-based finance director for four years. 

After leaving Cisco in 2016, Besko later spent a year as CFO of IT firm NTT Canada, where he helped spearhead the consolidation of the company’s 30-plus acquisitions. Most recently, he was managing partner of Wired360, an IT consulting firm headquartered in Toronto.

He joins Enablence, which trades on the TSX Venture Exchange, as the firm is poised to launch a major expansion. 

The company is currently scouting potential sites in the National Capital Region to build a $150-million chip fabrication plant that it says would employ more than 100 people.

Enablence is in the process of raising capital to finance a 50,000-square-foot facility that would produce up to 7,500 optical chip wafers a month – more than 10 times the capacity of its current production plant in Fremont, Calif.

The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, generated revenues of about $2 million in 2022, down from $2.5 million the year before. In financial documents, the firm attributed the drop in sales to “economic headwinds experienced by its end users.”

But Enablence officials told OBJ last spring the firm, which has about 50 employees, is poised to grow dramatically in the years ahead as new applications in the medical technology and automotive sectors drive demand for its optical photonics components.

In an interview last May, CEO Todd Haugen said Enablence is on the cutting edge of technology that will fuel the coming autonomous vehicle revolution and power next-generation medical devices that will be small enough to hold in your hand while scanning for conditions such as macular degeneration in a patient’s eye.

“The optics industry is on the verge of exploding,” Haugen said. “There are so many new use cases for it.”

In a statement last Friday, Haugen said Besko’s “deep experience in international operations and investment finance will be important assets” as the company looks to expand its footprint in major markets such as the United States and China. 

“His financial management experience at Cisco and NTT will be especially meaningful to our growth plan as we release our AI and LiDAR based products while accelerating the growth of our existing datacoms business,” he added.

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