A little something about me...

My life long passion for telescope making and astronomical imaging fueled my early interest in mechanical engineering leading to my position for over the last 25 years as President and CEO of PI (Physik Instrumente) USA. I retired in this role at the end of 2020 and still continue a role as a corporate Board advisor. PI  is the world leading manufacture of piezoceramic based micro and nanopositioning equipment for a variety of research and industrial applications including adaptive optic positioners for astronomical telescopes (UKIRT, Keck, NASA IRTF, ESO, VLT, Subaru, DKIST, SALT, Gemini, MRO, PanSTARR, James Webb, etc.), semiconductor equipment nanopositioners for optics, mask alignment and autofocusing mechanisms, automated optical fiber alignment systems for the optical telecom industry, and piezo scanning stages for advanced high resolution microscopies. Prior to PI, I was a Director of Operations with Newport Corporation.

To serve the optical sciences and engineering community  I participated in a number of capacities for the SPIE  (International Society of Optical Engineering)  an engineering/scientific organization with approximately 30,000 members and 220,000 active participants worldwide. I was elected as the Society's Secretary/Treasurer in 2007 and continued to serve in this role through 2014. I was a member of the Society's Executive Committee and Board of Directors from 2007 through 2017 and led the Board Search Committee for a new CEO of SPIE in 2019. A very humbling moment was to be honored as a Fellow of the Society in 2008, one of only 900 since the founding of this society in 1955.

I received the Society's President Award in 2017 and was honored in 2020 with the Society's Prism Award for lifetime achievement in the photonics community and as a long term executive of the SPIE. It was indeed a most unexpected award and one that left me uncharacteristically speechless at the podium during the ceremony.


In the professional astronomy area I sat on the Arizona Astronomy Board serving the University of Arizona's world renowned Steward Mirror Labs and Observatories where the worlds largest telescopes are designed and built.

Links to the SPIE's Executive Leadership ( International Society of Optical Engineers):


Other roles have included working on the Board of Directors of LEOMA, the Laser and Electro-Optic Manufacturers Association of America and going to the "Hill" in Washington a number of times to work with Congressman and Senators on important issues  to the US  laser & optics industry.........yet it all stemmed from the love of the sky and the tools to reach for it!  

I am a member of the Springfield Telescope Makers (home of Stellafane) and have judged the telescope making competition a number of years at their annual Stellafane meetings.

When I work with young people today who express a desire to learn about telescope making I encourage them strongly to pursue this hobby because the sky is truly the limit as they consider careers that are based on optical, mechanical and photonic technologies. Understanding the fundamentals of telescope system design from optics to mechanics to controls can vault a young person to the head of his or her engineering or science class. With the growth in fiber based communications, digital imaging and  increasing need for optical based sensors in a multitude of consumer product and defense/security applications, opto/mechanical and electro-optical engineers have exciting career opportunities to look forward too.

I was born in Toronto, Canada and my career  moved me to Long Island and then to Massachusetts. Last year I retired to our home in Florida and must say I do enjoy the warn weather year round. My super wife of over 43 years ( my high school sweetheart) was noted in our senior high school  yearbook as Brianís favorite stargazing companion ( she was the only one who could put up with me! )  We have 3 super daughters with great husbands and partners as well as 3 grandchildren at this point.  Overriding all of this though has been a desire to serve and honor God in all aspects of my life.

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Our family

On a personal tour at
Mount Palomar Observatory

Email me at brianl@heavensgloryobservatory.com