SAN JOSE, Calif.—Velodyne Lidar, Inc., recently announced the promotion of Rick Tewell to chief operating officer (COO).

Tewell assumes leadership of the company’s manufacturing efforts at its Megafactory in San Jose, California, where he will lead Velodyne’s day-to-day production of its lidar sensor product line. He joined the company in September 2017 as senior vice president of automated manufacturing and was promoted to chief advanced manufacturing officer prior to the promotion to COO.

Marta Hall, Velodyne’s president and chief business development officer, said that Velodyne “recruited Rick Tewell to manage Robotics and Advanced Technology.”

“Within a year, it was clear he could lead Operations as COO,” Hall said in a press release. “Velodyne Lidar is at the extreme edge of high tech, and Rick meets the challenge with da Vinci-like multiple talents. In the last three months, Rick upgraded the entire Velodyne Megafactory with robotics and newly designed innovative processes for production. As COO, he brings a futuristic vision and fresh energy to the operations of the company.”

“My main responsibility,” said Tewell, “is to take a design that came from the mind of a genius, David Hall [Velodyne’s founder and CEO], and make it into a product worthy of the Velodyne name. I work with David and Anand [Gopalan, Velodyne’s Chief Technology Officer] to translate these wonderful designs, that have the ability to change the world, into something that is manufacturable, and then ramp production to meet the demand. To take an invention from Dave Hall and turn it into a manufacturable product is a huge responsibility and one that I take very seriously.”

Before coming to Velodyne, Tewell established a successful career in the automotive semiconductor industry, including stops at Fujitsu and NVIDIA. Rick remembers, “The idea that cars eventually would be robots emerged while Dave Hall was participating in the DARPA Grand Challenge. At NVIDIA, we were creating the brains that would be used in self-driving cars.”

Tewell recognizes the essential role Velodyne’s products have in enabling safe mobility at scale.

“We are working hard to meet the next wave of demand for sensors to put on autonomous vehicles. Scaling up will drive the cost down to where the price is attractive to all customers. But we will never compromise on quality. It is critical from an operations standpoint that our product will ultimately impact someone’s life. This realization needs to permeate every aspect of what we do. This is not a piece of technology that is going to stay in a box. When you put a sensor on a car, the person in that car is trusting that technology to keep them safe.”

Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, Velodyne ( is a technology company known worldwide for its real-time 3D lidar computing and software platforms. The company evolved after founder David Hall invented the HDL-64 Solid-State Hybrid lidar sensor in 2005.

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