Meet the Circle Optics Team

With over 200 patents collectively and experience from optics expertise from IMAX, Kodak, L3Harris, Navitar Incorporated and others

Zakariya Niazi

Zakariya Niazi

Chief Executive Officer

We have accessibility and information through Google and things like that. We can access any information we want, but I think that people are innately curious about the world. People innately want to share, have more experiences about the world. I want to build technology that opens experiences for as many people as possible.

Ian Gauger

Ian Gauger

Chief Operating Officer

I have always considered myself a builder. I like to envision new things, think them through, and get them up and running. During undergrad, I led out a number of initiatives primarily related to raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and getting students to sign up for Be The Match. In grad school, I started a food pantry to help students struggling with food insecurity. In one year, we went from a single box in a reslife office to a 1200 square foot facility, 6 staff members, and a dozen volunteers. We ended up with 16 tons of donations that year. Joining a startup was a logical next step.

John Bowron

John Bowron

Senior Optical Engineer

Prior to Circle, I worked for 25 years in the industry in five different companies. My last stint was 13 years at IMAX in R&D. I was always looking for more opportunities to work on challenging problems, unique problems.

There are companies just down the road that I could have gone to if I wanted a nine to five punch the clock. I was done with that. I wanted to try something different. Circle’s been good because I’ve been able to do more optical design. The concept and the ideas are inspiring.

Allen Krisiloff

Allen Krisiloff

Chief Technology Officer

I am inspired by the development of new things that can change some aspect of the world. What that aspect is in this case is capturing views of the world in an inspiring way.

Andrew Kurtz

Andrew Kurtz

Chief Research Officer

The opportunity here is to influence the company’s success more directly. In our technology area in optics, AR and VR, there are 5,000 companies big and small competing. It is going to be very hard at the end of the day, working in that field to be in a company that wins. Here, there is an opportunity to not only succeed technically, but succeed in terms of business growth. Our space is unique – sparsely occupied.

Cody Hatch

Cody Hatch

Mechanical Engineer

I am an early adopter and someone always looking for that unique experience. When we were on our way back from a meeting, Allen mentioned a time he went on a bike ride in 1976 as they were building the 390 highway. He was able to ride his bike on the highway in the wrong direction. He took a moment to appreciate that this was likely the only time anybody would be able to do this – a unique experience. I feel like this moment with Circle is probably the only time we will get to do this – a unique experience. And that’s what I’m constantly looking for a unique experience.

Philip McMillen

Philip McMillen

Senior Project Manager

I worked at Kodak for a lot of years and then IMAX.

There are jobs that were just jobs, but they didn’t connect with my passion. Circle does that for me. It is because there is a connection to Circle in that I believe in what we are trying to achieve. For me, it’s about working on new technology and it is about the people in Circle. My passion is the ability to be part of a team and help that team be successful.

Robert Metzger

Robert Metzger

Senior Optical Systems Engineer

I am here to make something that has never been made before. And to take that creation and grow the business. It’s just so exciting.

Jennifer Sertl

Jennifer Sertl

Director of Marketing

This is the first time in 20 years that I’ve actually been an employee versus a consultant. I am here because of the inspirational leadership of Zak and Ian AND the promise of imagery to create connection.
Even before there were words, there were cavemen paintings, I feel that imagery get to being more than any other medium.

Robert Stanchus

Robert Stanchus

Senior Mechanical Engineer

I like conceptual work and I like getting concepts delivered. You are presented with the challenge, come up a bunch of ways to do it, and figure it out. It is a really cool thing to use those skills and make something happen.

Peter Stubler

Peter Stubler

Director of Software Engineering

After working many years in various capacities in Research and Advanced Development for a very large company, I was attracted by the opportunity to work in a small focused team to help develop a new technology. I believe that my diverse background allows me to contribute in many different ways.

Carlos Terrero

Carlos Terrero

Senior Mechanical Engineer

No matter how much experience we have or our level of expertise, there are always new applications or new ways of expressing things.

Grace Annese

Grace Annese

Software Engineer

With the demand for immersive experiences, I see endless possibilities for applications such as virtual production and virtual reality.
Mitchell Baller

Mitchell Baller

Imaging Science Intern

Working in computer science and working at Circle Optics are a lot like training for a marathon. It is nonstop effort, and you don’t get to see the results for a very long time-horizon. Daily execution and focus really matter for the long view.

Steve Feller

Steve Feller

Senior Software Engineer

I’m intrigued by the social aspects of this technology. The idea of being able to remotely experience an event or location in real-time is fascinating. While there are many technical and logistical challenges to overcome, the potential for such an experience is exciting and could open up new ways for people to connect and interact with the world around them.
Sonakshi Das

Sonakshi Das

Business Administration Intern

I think it is just so incredible to be on a team that made the world’s first stitch-free 360-degree camera system.