Odyssey Medal

Charles H. Chalfant

Chuck Chalfant

A native of Boonesville, Ark., Chuck Chalfant '81 earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Hendrix College and a master's degree in laser physics from the University of Arkansas, Before moving to California to work for the Lockheed Space Systems. He later joined the R&D division of Optivision, a small high-tech company founded at Stanford, and in 1996 moved his family back to Arkansas, while continuing to work for the company.

In 1997, he and several Optivision colleagues formed Optical Networks Inc. The company experienced rapid growth and when the decision was made to take it public, Chuck started Space Photonics, Inc., an optical communications company. More than a decade later, Space Photonics remains a successful privately held company and Chuck is now leading the company's pursuit of commercial laser communications solutions for the wireless information and rural broadband infrastructure.

SPI is now one of the world's leading innovators in optical communications technologies. SPI's patented LaserFire laser communications systems were recently licensed and are now in production by world-renowned innovator and manufacturer SCHOTT for military and government markets.