Optec, Inc. is located in Lowell, Michigan, just east of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. For many years now the company has been in the forefront of research and development of astronomical, visibility, and video/CCD microscopy optical instruments for both amateurs and professional alike.
Optec was incorporated in 1979 and is the successor to DOAA Enterprises; a Detroit-based company founded by an Oakland University college student, Gerald Persha. Under the leadership of Persha, Optec has grown from a small basement operation to a corporation employing 8 technicians, machinists, and sales staff. Optec's roots are founded strongly in astronomical research instrumentation with products such as the SSP line of photometers, the patented TCF temperature compensating focuser and the recent addition of the Pyxis LE, a high precision, low-profile camera field rotator.
In addition to the astronomical product line, Optec designs and manufactures optical couplers for video/CCD microscopy, atmospheric visibility measuring instruments such as the Model LPV transmissometer and the NGN integrating nephelometer. These unique instruments are used to monitor the air quality in many of the national parks in the USA as part of the Improve Network.
Optec maintains and uses the Optec Observatory, a small observatory and testing laboratory for Optec's astronomical product line. Optec Observatory is fully computer controlled with separate control room and observing deck. Recent additions to the observatory now allow remote operations of the telescope, SSP photometer, and CCD camera control software.
The telescope at the Observatory is a Meade 10-inch LX-200, mounted on a special heavy-duty wedge manufactured by Optec. The pier for the telescope is pyramid shaped and was constructed using 45 bags of concrete mixed by hand on site. The telescope is exclusively used for equipment testing and electronic observations, and is only used manually for collimation and finder adjustment.
Optec has a support staff of many diverse and qualified individuals who take great pride in their accomplishments with the company.
Jerry Persha is the founder of Optec. Though he is
officially retired, Jerry is still an active member of the Optec team. Jerry
the company while still a student at Oakland University. DOAA Enterprises
began as a basement operation in Royal Oak, Michigan and moved to Lowell
in 1979 when Jerry incorporated the operation as Optec, Inc.
Jerry continues to provide all the optical designs for Optec's telecompressors, microscope optics, and visibility instrumentation. Jerry offers guidance on new product designs and is currently active with the AAVSO using the SSP single channel photometers to achieve milli-magnitude photometry of variable stars.
Jeff Dickerman joined Optec in 1988 and is primarily responsible for sales, service, and new product development. Jeff has been president of the company since 2008 when he and Tina purchased the corporation from Jerry Persha. His hard work ensures that every aspect of Optec runs smoothly and efficiently.
Jeff was instrumental in the acquisition of Alnitak Astrosystems in 2011 and continues to look for opportunities to bring products of exceptional quality to the astronomy marketplace.
Contact Jeff with any astronomy related questions at
Tina Dickerman is Optec's marketing and customer service manager. She is the primary voice our customers hear over the phone. As financial manager, Tina also ensures that Optec can continue to provide the high degree service and quality that our customers have come to expect, even when financial times are tough.
Contact Tina with any accounting related questions at email@example.com.
Mike Hayden has been with Optec for over 20 years and is the lead technician for the TCF-S and TCF-S 3" focuser. Mike is also responsible for the finish quality of all Optec products including the chemical blackening process used with our brass optical spacers. His attention to detail has reduced our warranty returns to near zero for the products under his responsibility.
Candice Sparks is our shop manager
and is responsible for running both the CNC turning and mill centers.
Candice began with Optec when she was only 16 years old and always
offers a cheerful attitude. Candice is our lead in-house machinist
and always keeps the shop running at peak efficiencies with her "Can-Do"
Lee Dickerman is the lead
mechanical engineer and designer at Optec. His inquisitive nature always
yields new product designs and improved efficiencies in all aspects of
production. Lee is responsible for the FastFocus, QuickSync, and
Gemini focusing rotator.
Lee's duties inlcude programming and quality control for all machined parts. With the addition of our Haas ST20SSY live-tooling lathe in 2014, he has developed innovation ways to improve Optec's manufacturing and machining capablities. Contact Lee with any design or manufacturing questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Schuck joined the Optec team
in 2012 after graduating from
Calvin College with a degree in
Physics with minors in Astronomy and Geology. Nick is responsible for
implementing Optec's in-house surface mount production facility,
assembly and testing of a wide variety of products including the Pyxis
LE, FocusLynx, QuickSync, and the Alnitak line of
With a lifelong
passion for Astronomy, Nick can often be found at Star Parties
throughout the midwest.
Contact Nick with any astronomy related questions at email@example.com.
Daniel Van Noord is an
and software engineer with a dual degree from
Calvin College. A
native of Grand Rapids, Daniel has a lifelong love for astronomy and
computers. During his years at Calvin, Daniel developed an
automated variable star discovery and identification program for the
large database of accumulated images.
He is the lead architect and programmer for all Optec drivers and software products.
Dan's extensive knowledge of observatory controls and telescope systems makes him uniquely qualified to lend assistance to astronomers worldwide seeking to configure and adjust their control computers, write scripts for automation, or handle more complex projects in a friendly and professional manner.
Contact Dan to help solve your observatory problems at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haynes joined the Optec team in 2015 and has quickly become a valued
member. Luke is learning all aspects of our operation and has
become a "jack-of-all-trades" in his day to day work. You
will often find Luke working on the manual mill or lathe, helping with
our board fabrication department, or assisting with instrument assembly.
Luke's willingness to accept any challange and open, honest
communication is a most welcome addition to the team.
Tom Van Noord is a
College working toward his degree in Electrical
Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. Currently working part time
at Optec with a full-time internship in summer 2015, Tom will be helping
to implement new technologies designed to improve Optec products.
Among other design tools, he is fluent in the use of Eagle circuit
design and board layout. Tom is a welcome addition to the Optec
Jordan Schaenzle assists with Optec's
software architecture. Jordan has an EE degree from
College and works as a consultant on the embedded team at
Atomic Object in Grand Rapids.
He is responsible for the circuit design of the entire FocusLynx
family of products, the HSFW filter wheels sold through Edmund Optics,
the Pyxis LE and several other Optec products. Jordan was
instrumental in pushing Optec toward full ASCOM implementation.
Often while enjoying a craft beer at Founder's Brewing Company, Jordan continues to provide welcome outside guidance for Optec's technological innovations and overall direction.