PlaneWave Instruments was founded around the goal of creating the perfect telescope. To this day, our team of over 60 employees helps us achieve the vision our founders first set out to achieve.
Bridget is a graduate of Monroe County Community College with an Associates in Sciences, Minor in Business and Marketing. She was a member of DECA during her senior year of High School, which help promote and advertise local businesses in the community.
Bridget has over ten years of customer service experience in different rolls, earning awards in a previous position for providing outstanding customer service. In her spare time, she enjoys golfing, playing tennis, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Shelby Stubbe (BS Engineering Physics, University of Arizona) has 12 years of experience in the telescope industry and has been with PlaneWave Instruments for over 5 years. In addition to managing the PlaneWave Engineering Department, Shelby oversees the integration and testing of the optical systems and mounts for each of PlaneWave’s observatory class telescopes.
At the University of Arizona, Shelby participated in experimental research projects varying from Space Biology to Beam Foil Spectroscopy and Atom Interferometry. Studying in the Physics, Engineering, and Optical Sciences departments, he gained a wide range of knowledge and experience across a number of engineering disciplines.
After leaving the University of Arizona, Shelby worked as a Systems Engineer and Project Manager at EOS Technologies. He gained significant experience with large robotic telescope systems from his oversight of site integration, alignment and acceptance testing of telescopes in the 1-2 meter class. While with EOST, he acted as project manager for the successful completion of systems such as the 1.3m SkyMapper Telescope, 2.4m Lick Automated Planet Finder and the 2.4m Thai National Telescope.
Since 2005, Matt has enjoyed working with telescopes to capture astrophotography that inspires people to look up in the night sky. Matt completed his Master’s in Geology and Planetary Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and was a research geologist for the Department of Energy where he focused on spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, and electron microscopy.
Throughout his career, Matt wanted to integrate his interest in astronomical equipment, cameras, and observatories. In 2018, Matt transitioned out of the geology sector and joined PlaneWave as their Technical Services Manager. Matt oversees PlaneWave’s observatory installations program and works on marketing and sales efforts for sharing the story behind PlaneWave.
Larry became interested in astronomy as a child and when he first looked through a telescope and saw Saturn he was instantly hooked. Over the years as his hobby had grown, he went to work at Oceanside Photo & Telescope near his home in California. In 2019 Larry joined PlaneWave Instruments to continue his passion for high performance astronomy gear.
Jason Fournier currently serves as VP of Manufacturing at PlaneWave Instruments. He has worked in the telescope/astronomy industry since graduating from CSULB. During college is when he developed his interest in astronomy and astrophotography. After taking many astronomy and photography related classes, Jason later started working as observatory operator and instructor’s aide at El Camino College. It was there he enrolled in a newly formed Newtonian telescope making class where he met others that shared his same interests and ambitions, that would later become the founding members of PlaneWave Instruments.
After college he joined Celestron International, a leading telescope manufacturer in CA. Jason eventually became the Product Development Manager developing products for both Telescopes and Sports Optics. At Celestron he helped bring to market many astronomical products like the EdgeHD optical system and NexImage planetary camera.
Jason joined PlaneWave full-time in 2012 where he served in many capacities from Sales and Finance to Operations. As VP of Manufacturing he oversees the production of PlaneWave’s telescopes, observatory systems and direct drive mounts for clients ranging from astroimagers, Universities and the aerospace industry.
Kevin first discovered his interest in both astronomy and computer programming at age 9, and pursued these interests simultaneously but separately for many years. In 2002 while taking a course in astronomy at the University of Iowa, Kevin was introduced to the concept of robotic telescopes and discovered the extent to which these two interests could be combined. While completing his B.S. in Computer Science and Mathematics, Kevin began developing software to control a pair of remote telescopes operated by the University, as well as few optical and radio telescopes located on campus. Kevin continued to take as many astronomy courses as possible while working to develop image processing and data analysis tools to be used by faculty and students in the department.
After graduating in 2004, Kevin pursued an M.S. in Computer Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. After completing his degree in 2006, Kevin became the lead software engineer for the Skynet Robotic Telescope Network, a global network of telescopes managed by the UNC-CH Department of Physics and Astronomy. Kevin worked on the development of the telescope control software, observation scheduler, data analysis tools, and web interface to the telescope network. Kevin also developed an array of troubleshooting tools to assist in remotely diagnosing and fixing problems across a wide variety of unattended telescope systems.
In 2013, Kevin joined PlaneWave instruments and has led the development of the control software for all computer-controlled PlaneWave products, including the L-Series direct drive mounts, PW1000 and CDK700 integrated telescope systems, focusers, instrument rotators, and automated mirror cover systems. He has also created numerous internal testing and commissioning tools to ensure that every product we ship meets PlaneWave’s high standards for quality and reliability.
Kevin Iott is an award-winning design engineer and Journeyman tool maker. His Passion for astronomy and Mechanics started at a very young age. Growing up on a family farm, Kevin was introduced to Astronomy when he received a small telescope as a birthday gift. He would go on to attend Astronomy summer camps in Middle school where his love of space flourished. At the age of 16 Kevin began working at a local telescope retail store, The Nature Company, where he was the resident telescope expert. While he was able to purchase modest telescope equipment over the years, the equipment he yearned for was largely out of reach. It was at that moment he decided he would have to build it himself.
Kevin attended The University of Toledo for Mechanical engineering and at the same time was working as a Journeyman apprentice at a large tool and die company. It was at this tool and die company that Kevin would get his first taste of true mechanical engineering where he was promoted to design engineer after only 2 years as an apprentice. For this company, Kevin designed many different types of equipment ranging from robotic laser cutting and welding cells to solar panel processing equipment.
In 2009 that dream became a reality when Kevin partnered with PlaneWave instruments. In the years following Kevin would go on to be the lead design engineer at PlaneWave where he would design and develop products such as the PW1000 1-Meter telescope, L-Series mounts, i Series gimbals and many more. Leaning on his tool and die background Kevin developed the machining, manufacturing, and technology strategies to propel PlaneWave to the forefront of the industry.
In 1977, Dave was graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Bowling Green State University. He was awarded the honor of top senior in Physics and top senior in Mathematics. He then spent 3 years at Caltech studying Astronomy and Astrophysics as a graduate student. During this time he developed a high-energy X-ray detector for a space-based X-ray telescope.
In 2012, Dave joined PlaneWave Instruments as partner and CTO, where he is actively engaged in the design of new telescopes, mounts, and software. He was the original optical designer of PlaneWave’s CDK line of telescopes, and part of the team responsible for the very successful CDK700 alt-az telescope that utilizes direct drive motor technology.
Dave has written many freeware programs for the amateur astronomy and telescope making community including TraceXP, a simple optical simulation program; FigureXP, a popular Foucault analysis program; FringeXP, a program for the analysis of interferograms; PointXP, a high accuracy telescope mount modelling application, and PlateSolve3, an all-sky plate solver. He worked closely with the Celestron engineers in the development of the StarSense technology and he has designed several new telescope systems including the Celestron RASA and several new wide-field catadioptric Cassegrain astrographs. His current interests lie in the software reduction of Speckle Interferometry images of double stars, the design of high-etendue optical systems, and the continuing pursuit of the perfect telescope.
Bill has been an active amateur astronomer since my childhood years. Visual observing led to sketching and then down the path to imaging as dark skies became more distant. An avid interest in observing our dynamic Sun grew to leaving the exciting world of metrology in California for Arizona and Coronado Instruments during the golden years of the early 2000s but the beach life called Bill back to develop electro optical and millimeter wave technologies for defense and airborne bathymetric LIDAR systems. Fortunately, the long hours in the lab and field were interspersed with trips around the globe to provide telescope and instrumentation engineering for solar eclipse broadcasts which he continues to enjoy. Bill joined PlaneWave in May of 2019 and is happy to be back working with our customers in astronomy and other fields.
Fascinated by both photography and the natural world from an early age, Blackhurst received his BA in Industrial-Scientific Imaging from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA in 2002. Following graduation, he returned to OPT (Oceanside Photo & Telescope, Inc.), where he had worked during high school and college. Eric was excited by the challenge of imaging the unseen and the un-seeable. Gaining understanding and practice in astronomical imaging quickly became a consuming mission. In the years since, he has been an operations manager, technical-sales agent, and support technician within the astronomy industry. Blackhurst has a long history of field work, with a wide variety of telescopes, tracking systems, and related instrumentation. This has led him to influence and support purchases and use of astronomical systems by countless educational institutions, private individuals, and both US and allied agencies.
Richard Hedrick is the President, CEO and co-founder of PlaneWave Instruments with 25 years of experience in the field. Richard’s idea of having an off-the-shelf product line of high performing telescopes and gimbals has led to the growth of PlaneWave from 2 employees in 2006 to 65 employees in 2021 and from a product line starting off with one optical telescope to a full product line of telescopes and gimbals ranging from $10,000 to $750,000.
Richard Hedrick has a BS in Physics from UCLA. He worked for the Particle Physics Laboratory at UCLA where he helped build a 20MeV particle accelerator. He also received an AS in Physics from El Camino Junior College where he co-founded a telescope making class which is still running today and where many of the key people at PlaneWave originally met. After UCLA, Richard was hired at Celestron International, a telescope manufacturer, as the Staff Astronomer and Technical Support Manager. He rose to be the CTO and Senior Vice President and was responsible for product development and co-owner of the company. Richard is married to Julie Hedrick and has a family of four children. He is an avid tennis player and guitarist.