Our Team

We are a startup company working out of the BioVentures Center established by the University of Iowa

Firefly Photonics LLC is a startup company working out of the BioVentures Center in Coralville, established by the University of Iowa.  Our engineering team employs three full-time engineers. Our support team includes: a business manager (CPA, MBA), an accounting firm (LWBJ, West Des Moines); a law firm (Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, Cedar Rapids); and an IT firm (Remedium Systems, Iowa City). We work with several advisors with extensive background in technology startups and business development.

John P. Prineas

President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

John P. Prineas studied light-matter coupling in semiconductor heterostructures with Hyatt Gibbs at Optical Science Center and with Jaghdeep Shah at Lucent Technologies. After completing research at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart as an Alexander von Humbolt Fellow, he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in 2001.

Currently, Prineas is a professor at the University of Iowa in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and has a secondary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Additionally, he was the founder and the first Director of the Molecular Beam Epitaxy Facility at the University of Iowa.


B.A. in Physics — Carleton College, Northfield, Minn.
Ph.D. in Physics — University of Arizona


Optical Science and Technology Center
American Physical Society
Optical Society of America, Senior Member
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Senior Member
SPIE the International Society for Optics and Photonics

Michael Jones

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Mike Jones was employed by Rockwell Collins for 21 years, beginning as an engineer and most recently holding the title of Vice President & General Manager of Communications & Navigation Products, where he set strategic direction, captured new business, and executed development and production of contracts. During this time at Rockwell, Jones was awarded the Rockwell Engineer of the Year award, which indicates his excellence as an engineer, in addition to his exceptional executive leadership experience.

His professional experience in optics began when he was employed with Reveo, a startup which developed stereoscopic 3D displays in White Plains, NY. He also worked with Optical Instrument Systems, a startup based in Michigan.


B.S. in Physics, Washburn University, KS

M.S. in Optical Engineering, University of Rochester, NY

M.B.A., University of Iowa

Fatima Toor

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Fatima Toor developed spectrally high performing (4-wavelength; time and wavelength multiplexed; single mode) InGaAs/InAlAs/InP based quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) with Claire Gmachl at Princeton University. She was an academic postdoctoral researcher developing silicon-based devices and then a research analyst at Lux Research where she helped multinational corporations build their innovation pipeline by evaluating startups in the solar industry.

Currently, Toor is an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Iowa with secondary appointments in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Informatics Initiative Cluster, and the Optical Science and Technology Center. She is also an affiliate member of the University of Iowa Holden Cancer Center — Experimental Therapeutics program.


B.S. with a double major in Physics and Engineering Science, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.,
Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Princeton University


American Physical Society
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Optical Society of America, Senior Member
SPIE the international society for optics and photonics
American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery

Theresa Whittlesey

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Theresa Whittlesey is an accounting/financial professional with over 25 years of progressive accounting experience. Theresa has gained extensive accounting experience through various accounting and management roles for a variety of organizations. She has business experience in government, auditing, tax, manufacturing, not-for-profit, healthcare, service, retail, small and large business. These roles have allowed her to develop expertise in accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, cash management, internal controls, financial analysis, problem solving, process improvement, budgeting and financial reports.

Theresa is dedicated to helping Firefly Photonics achieve business success by helping them establish practical and sound financial processes.


Bachelor of Business Administration, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

M.B.A., University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Theresa has also earned Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant designations.


Institute of Management Accountants


Interested in our products or want to learn more? Contact us today.

We offer custom products for your mid-infared light source needs, including LEDs and lasers.