Optec Home > About Optec

 About Optec

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 Staff

Optec has a support staff of many diverse and qualified individuals who take great pride in their accomplishments with the company.

Gerald Persha

Jerry Persha is the founder of Optec. Though he is officially retired, Jerry is still an active member of the Optec team. Jerry formed 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

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 jeff@optecinc.com.

Tina Dickerman

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 tina@optecinc.com.


Mike Hayden

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 SparksCandice 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" attitude.

Lee Dickerman

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 lee@optecinc.com.

Nick Schuck

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 flat-field devices.  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 nick@optecinc.com.

Daniel Van NoordDaniel Van Noord is an amateur astronomer 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 daniel@optecinc.com.

Luke HaynesLuke 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. 

Jordan Schaenzle

Jordan Schaenzle assists with Optec's software architecture.  Jordan has an EE degree from Calvin 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.