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Chris Palermiti Turns a Childhood Hobby into a Rewarding Career

As a child, he and his dad spent hours building telescopes at home. Today, Chris Palermiti manages an expert team of 13 system test technicians and specialists. 

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Position: System Testing Manager
Location:
Jupiter, Florida facility
Employed by Jenoptik since:
2004

For Florida native Chris Palermiti (nickname “Chris P” or “Crispy”), optics is in his blood. As a child, he and his dad – who worked in optical engineering – would spend hours building telescopes at home. Little did he know then, this would become a lifelong passion and set the groundwork for his career at Jenoptik.

Interestingly, when Chris started at Jenoptik, it wasn’t in his current role. Instead, he worked in the shipping and assemblies departments. He enjoyed his job, but he knew he could do more. Two years after joining the Jenoptik team, he went back to college and finished his degree. It proved to be an extremely advantageous move.

After graduation, Chris was offered a position in systems testing. Today, he manages an expert team of 13 system test technicians and specialists. Here, Chris gives us more insight into his position and career path.

How has Jenoptik helped you in your career development?
Jenoptik has always supported my career goals. The company’s tuition reimbursement program helped me offset the costs of going back to school while still working full time. Jenoptik also gave me the opportunity to attend training programs to further my knowledge. Most importantly, Jenoptik has allowed me to work alongside some of the best in the business – and benefit from their expertise.

What are your key responsibilities at Jenoptik?
My team and I work closely with the operations group to ensure the products we manufacture, build and test are delivered on time – without sacrificing quality. I also collaborate with our engineering department on prototypes and test fixtures. Plus, I frequently travel to customer facilities to provide onsite support.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Not many people understand what I do. It’s kind of like being a secret super hero! If you’re in the industry, however, you know how optics and optical systems are used in everyday life. Working on these programs – and helping to improve the quality of life on our planet – makes it all worthwhile.

What types of projects do you enjoy most?
Our medical device systems play a role in treating and curing diseases. It’s an incredible feeling knowing you contributed to a potentially lifesaving solution. With that said, our entertainment projects are really fun. These lenses go into theme parks, theaters and planetariums around the world – venues that bring joy to millions of people. I love hearing random strangers in theme parks say, “That was the coolest ride ever! It was so crisp and clear.”

What advice do you have for prospective Jenoptik candidates?
Go for it! Optics and photonics is a very niche market with a surprisingly broad range of career paths. It’s important to be patient, though, because there’s much to learn in these fields. With time and dedication, you will advance further than you can imagine and contribute to making the world a better place for generations to come.

What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
My all-time favorite movie is Jaws. Even though I grew up in Florida and have always loved to fish, I’m terrified of swimming in the ocean because of sharks. I tried to overcome my fear by getting my diver’s certification in 2010. I did two open water dives, but haven’t been in the ocean since. Ironically, I still hope to cage dive with great white sharks someday.