In his relatively short career Michael Friedlander has already managed several times to bridge in a stellar fashion between optimization theory, software, and sophisticated application. His contributions to the theory and practice of mathematical optimization are at once topical and lasting. His software packages are used by practitioners from both academia and industry in a variety of application fields, including seismic imaging, machine learning, and signal processing. These efforts required development of a substantial body of new theory that has implications for others in the field, and his ability to develop deep theoretical results that have implications for pragmatic software implementation set him apart from many others in his community. His papers have received over 1000 citations and a Google h-index of 15, and he is already an associate editor of several leading journals.