James E. Pearson, director of research and administration at CREOL (Center for Research and Education in Optics & Lasers) and FPCE (Florida Photonics Center of Excellence) at the College of Optics & Photonics of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Fla., and special assistant to the vice president for research at UCF, has been named interim director for the Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center (AMPAC) there. Vimal Desai, director of AMPAC since it was founded in 1998, has accepted the position of vice president for research at New Mexico State University, effective July 1. At the College of Optics and Photonics, where he was hired in 2004, Pearson has focused on building business partnerships, cultivating additional funding sources and expanding the business and staff operations of CREOL & FPCE. Since his arrival, membership in the CREOL Industrial Affiliates program has grown by 50 percent, UCF said. He directs the FPCE Partnership Projects (24 projects at five Florida universities with 20 company partners) and is a member of the CREOL team overseeing a 21,000-square-foot expansion of the CREOL building, which will house new faculty and students and provide UCF incubator space for industry partners. Pearson, who received his BS, MS and PhD degrees in electrical engineering and physics from CalTech, has spent most of his career in the research and development of photonics technologies. Before coming to UCF, he was executive director of the Instrumentation, Systems & Automation Society, executive director of SPIE and president and general manager of United Technologies Optical Systems. He is a fellow of SPIE and OSA and a senior member of IEEE.