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In memoriam: Sasha Pearlman, leader in the optical instrumentation industry

18 May 2017

Sasha Pearlman
Sasha Pearlman

SPIE Member Sasha Pearlman, founder and president of SPIE Corporate Member and frequent exhibitor Opto-Alignment Technology, passed away 22 March 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Born in Lvov, Ukraine in 1950, Sasha immigrated to Israel at the age of 17 and studied optical engineering after completing time with the Israeli army. He worked in optics at a small Ray Ban assembly plant in Israel for many years before moving with his wife and family to the United States in 1986. He settled in Rochester, New York, working for private optical firms including Melles Griot before eventually starting his own company, Opto-Alignment Technology, in 1992. He later moved the company to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2002 to be closer to his growing family.

Those who knew him reflected that since founding the company, Sasha worked at what he loved most: proudly designing and building precision optical assembly equipment with a focus on laser alignment and lens handling tools. The motto he chose for the company was, 'Built with pride. Backed by service,' and he strove to provide optical engineering solutions and consulting services to a wide array of clients, always doing so with a sincere emphasis on genuine customer care.

Sasha and his team at Opto Alignment were frequent exhibitors at SPIE events including Defense + Commercial Sensing, Optifab, Advanced Lithography, and Photonics West. "We here at SPIE were saddened to hear of Sasha Pearlman's passing," said Teresa Roles-Meier Sales Representative for Exhibitions and Sponsorships at SPIE. "Sasha was the kind of person and customer who makes me proud to work for SPIE, with our exhibitors and our society members. I might only see him a couple of times a year on the exhibition show floor, but when I was in his presence I always felt like I was with family. His enveloping handshakes and his smile warmed my heart."

His presence and expertise were felt beyond the exhibition floor as well. In 2016, he helped author content for a presentation on ‘Advanced centering of mounted optics’ at Photonics West. The article was later published as part of the SPIE proceedings.

Opto Alignment’s management team remains committed to Sasha’s primary tenet, they will continue to take pride in their products, treat their customers with respect, and provide dependable service. In his honor, the team has established a Memorial Scholarship Fund that bears his name. The scholarship will be awarded to University of North Carolina Charlotte students in the PhD and Master of Science programs in Optical Science and Engineering.

Sasha was diagnosed with terminal cancer early last year and after a year of treatments, he passed away in the company of his loving wife, Timna. He is also survived by his three sons, Guy, Omer, and Iftach; his six beloved grandchildren, Daniel, Eden, Orly, Yoni, Naomi, and Ethan; as well as, his brother, Eli.