Regional leaders honor fusion ignition team for game-changing innovation

innovation tri-valley 041023 (Download Image)

Rick Shumway, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley and board chair for Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, left, presents Mark Herrmann, program director for Weapon Physics and Design, with the 2023 Founders Award at a recognition ceremony March 29. Photo by Joy Liu Media.

A collective of regional business and civic leaders in the Tri-Valley has honored the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) fusion ignition team for their “game-changing” breakthrough.

The Innovation Tri-Valley (ITV) Leadership Group presented its 2023 #GameChangers Awards to eight innovative companies from the region in a ceremony on March 29 at Goal Line Studios in Pleasanton.

The LLNL team was presented with this year's Founder's Award, an honor which celebrates solutions offered to the world’s critical issues.

“Extraordinary solutions continuously emerge from our region, then drive impact on a global scale,” said Rick Shumway, ITV board chair and president and CEO of Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley. “This is the moment our community comes together to amplify and honor the disruptive, innovative spirit that is part of our Tri-Valley DNA.”

Representing the team at the ceremony were Jean-Michel Di Nicola, Mark Herrmann, Annie Kritcher, Arthur Pak, Michael Stadermann and Alex Zylstra.

In accepting the award, Herrmann, LLNL's program director for Weapon Physics and Design, said the achievement was only possible because of the Lab’s world-leading workforce and the strong quality of life and innovation ecosystem in the Tri-Valley.

innovation tri valley 2 041023
The fusion ignition team was honored with the Founders Award by the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group on March 29. From left: Rick Shumway, president and CEO of Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley and Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group board chair and LLNL team members Jean-Michel Di Nicola, Annie Kritcher, Arthur Pak, Michael Stadermann, Alex Zylstra and Mark Herrmann. Photo by Joy Liu Media.

“The best and brightest have come from all over the world to participate in the quest for fusion ignition,” Herrmann said. “We are honored and proud to be part of the Tri-Valley.”

The pursuit has pushed science and technology forward, making major advances over the past six decades in lasers, optics, precision manufacturing, detection, control systems and simulations and computing, Herrmann remarked. These innovations have led to many spinoffs that affect our everyday lives. For example, the integrated circuits in smart phones made with extreme ultraviolet lithography was an outgrowth from work initially done as part of the effort.

“This is not an ending point, but a starting point,” Herrmann said. “This advance also lays an incredibly important foundation for the potential of fusion as a base-load carbon free source of energy to power our planet in the future. But like the achievement of ignition in the first place, the Tri-Valley can play a key role in enabling that future.”

LLNL and the fusion ignition team were presented with an engraved glass plaque as well as certificates of recognition from U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell, California State Sen. Steven Glazer, Alameda County Board of Supervisors Nate Miley and David Haubert and Livermore Mayor John Marchand.

The ITV Leadership Group is comprised of leaders and influencers committed to connecting the businesses, educational institutions, research labs and civic leaders in the Tri-Valley region. ITV showcases the region as a technology and innovation powerhouse, outpacing the Bay Area mega-region in both job creation and economic growth. 

Other award recipients include Air Protein in Pleasanton; Zeiss Innovation Center in Dublin; Sparkz in Livermore; Prosomnus Sleep Technologies in Pleasanton; Lazarex Cancer Foundation in Danville; Reputation in San Ramon; and The Wellnest Company in Dublin.