Dennis R. Toothman

A portrait of Dennis Toothman

Inducted:

04/19/2009

Degrees:

BSEE 1975 WVU (Magna Cum Laude)
MSEE 1976 WVU

Dennis Toothman, a magna cum laude BSEE graduate of WVU in 1975, founded CipherOptics in 2000. CipherOptics is an industry leader in large scale, high performance encryption solutions. His career has spanned hardware, software, and large scale networking experience with multi-billion dollar corporations and start-up organizations, developing and pioneering innovative high-technology products. Toothman began to focus on the security industry in 1998 as Vice President of Engineering for Celotek. While at Celotek, he produced a family of ATM encryptors supporting T1, T3, OC-3, and OC-12 interfaces (1.5 - 622 Megabits). His products were adopted by one of the largest Swiss banks and are still in use today, representing the world's largest encrypted ATM deployment.

Recognizing that the market for ATM products was limited, Toothman left Celotek and began discussions with Lucent Technologies regarding the development of a Gigabit IP encryptor for the storage marketplace. Working from his basement, Toothman negotiated a $3.5 million contract with Lucent. This contract was used to launch CipherOptics in August 2000.

Toothman was featured on the cover of Communication News magazine in March 2000. Many of the ideas Toothman discussed with Communication News came to fruition when he founded CipherOptics. In 2002, Toothman introduced the industry's first wire-speed gigabit IPSec encryptor, based on Network Processor, TCAM, and encryption acceleration hardware.

As Chief Technology Officer for CipherOptics, Toothman has architected and managed the implementation of a family of encryption devices ranging from 10 Megabits to 10 Gigabits. His products are in use throughout the world by many government, financial, and manufacturing institutions. In March, 2009 Gartner selected CipherOptics as a "Cool Vendor in Infrastructure Protection."

Over the course of his career, Toothman spent considerable time translating customers' business needs into viable, market-changing technology solutions. Some of the game changing products he developed earlier in his career include:

  • SNA software that was heretofore available only from IBM. This innovative software gave NCR a significant competitive advantage in accounts previously dominated by IBM. This software led to NCR's single largest deal for Office Automation products in 1983.
  • Large scale document transfer systems based on SNA/X.25 protocols for the Federal Reserve Bank. Toothman personally installed network equipment and custom developed software to connect the Kansas City, Denver, and Oklahoma City locations.
  • Large scale email and directory systems based on OSI, DECNET, and SNA protocols for DuPont. These systems supported 110,000 users, with gateways to the world's largest DECNET network.
  • Medical imaging workstations supporting networked cardiac catheterization procedures for Toshiba. These workstations supported high speed ATM communications and the industry's fastest JPEG compression hardware.
  • Microprocessor-based, multi-protocol communications adapters. This capability, in 1976, enabled NCR to achieve performance and line density levels previously unachievable.

As a graduate student at WVU, Toothman was awarded a stipend by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in recognition of his software engineering contributions to the mine monitoring project under the direction of Dr. M. Dayne Aldridge. Toothman is a member of the Pi Mu Epsilon math honorary, and Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi engineering honoraries. He is also a 33 year member of IEEE.