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Our Leadership

We were founded and are still guided by a team of scientists, engineers, and financial specialists with deep photonic roots.

With decades of experience, we are recognized across the industry for our ability to innovate and deliver.


Board of Directors

Tom Haslett, Ph.D. | Chief Technical Officer

Dr. Tom Haslett has been overseeing the entirety of Avo’s technical operation since 2006. His technical background is rooted in his more than 30 years of experience crossing optical technologies and applications, covering a wide range of device- and instrument-level optical and mechanical design and an array of spectroscopic and optical sensing techniques.


Prior to joining Avo Photonics, Dr. Haslett served as Chief Technology Officer of Photonami, a technology company focused on the design and manufacturing of advanced photonic solutions. At Photonami, he primarily developed novel semiconductor laser technology and lead teams from chip design through to packaged laser subassemblies. He was also strongly involved in research and development efforts on optical amplifiers and other active optical components. Dr. Haslett has also served as director of the Photonics Research Facility at Photonics Research Ontario, where he worked on fiber Bragg grating design and fabrication, holography and sensor applications.


Throughout his career, Dr. Haslett has played a strong role in customer interaction, technical project management and systems engineering. Dr. Haslett holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Queen’s University at Kingston (Ontario) and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Toronto.

Jeff Perkins, Ph.D. | Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Jeff Perkins directs and manages Avo’s operations. With broad experience in high-volume optical component production as well as quality operations, he comes to Avo Photonics from JDS Uniphase where he served as Senior Technical Manager of Process Development and Automation, Operations, and Product Development. In these roles, Dr. Perkins established and propagated process platforms into new product development teams to ensure that new products were designed for automation, initiated focused efforts on product cost and yield improvements, and directed design models for TOSAs utilizing both direct modulated and electro-absorption modulated lasers; uncooled TOSA platforms for VCSEL, FP and DFB datacom applications; and a ROSA platform implemented for both PINs and APDs, spanning multiple bit rates, and 850/1310/1550nm transmission.


Prior to JDSU, Dr. Perkins was at Epitaxx, Photocircuits Corp, and IBM. Mr. Perkins received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in fluid dynamics and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in heat transfer from Lehigh University (Pennsylvania).

Kimberly Wheeler | Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Kimberly Wheeler steers Avo’s operations while overseeing its corporate finances and financial reporting. Ms. Wheeler holds nearly 25 years of financial and operational experience. She joined Avo from Concords, Inc., a Philadelphia-based employment screening company, where she served as CFO. At Concords and through her accounting and financial analysis expertise, she proactively drove profitability and contained costs while managing the organization’s human resource and customer relationship management departments.


Prior to Concords, Ms. Wheeler served as CFO at A&A Connections/DataQ Internet Equipment Corporation, where she was responsible for the daily financial and accounting functions of two distribution companies with combined sales of $40 million even as she directed inventory control, international cash management, the generation and fulfillment of 15-month budgets tied to corporate goals and comprehensive tax accounting. Ms. Wheeler received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Villanova University.

Joseph L. Dallas, Ph.D. | President

With over 30 years of technical program and operations management expertise, Dr. Joseph L. Dallas guides the vision of Avo Photonics. Dr. Dallas founded Avo in 2003 because he saw a need for private-label photonics design, development and manufacturing. He has since grown Avo into an independent, U.S.-based global company that serves as the trusted source for confidential, client-owned photonics products for varied applications across key markets.


Prior to founding Avo Photonics, Dr. Dallas designed and created NASA’s Space Lidar Technology Center. As Deputy Director at this “skunk works” facility, he led development and production of active space-borne remote sensing optical instruments.


Throughout his career, Dr. Dallas has directed basic optical research, developed and produced semiconductor laser diode products, created various diode-pumped solid state laser systems, developed high-power diode array lifetesting stations and conducted long-duration optical damage threshold studies. He has a strong background in laser physics, materials, reliability and environmental testing.


Dr Dallas has written numerous optoelectronic technical papers and has presented at international conferences, including CLEO, Advanced Solid State Lasers and the Annual Symposium on Optical Materials for High Power Lasers. Dr. Dallas holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Villanova University and a Ph.D., with Distinction, in physics from the Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.).

Senior Management

Sven Mahnkopf, Ph.D. | Director of Engineering

With 17 years of operations and program management experience, Dr. Sven Mahnkopf serves as Director of Engineering at Avo Photonics. Dr. Mahnkopf has designed and produced edge and vertical cavity surface emitting laser devices, photodetector arrays, active optical benches, and SERS substrates. He has a strong background in laser physics, photonic crystal metamaterials, and plasmonic bandgap structures. Dr. Mahnkopf has authored or coauthored 4 patents, one book chapter, and more than 20 optoelectronic technical papers including 7 invited papers. He has served as session chair at OSA FiO.


Prior to joining Avo, Dr. Mahnkopf worked at Infineon Technologies (Singapore), Mesophotonics Ltd. (Southampton, UK), and Opticomp Corporation. Dr. Mahnkopf received a Fulbright scholarship in 1996 and holds a doctorate degree in Physics from Julius-Maximilians-Universität (Würzburg, Germany).

Timothy McDaniel | Director of New Product Development

As an optical engineer at Avo, Timothy McDaniel manages high volume production programs, advises opto-mechanical design; and develops opto-mechanical processes, fixturing, and prototypes.


Prior to joining Avo, Mr. McDaniel completed a Master’s degree in Physics from San Diego State University and a secondary Master’s in Optics from The College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida—with research focuses on femtosecond laser development and the fabrication of micro-structures in UV-fused sicilia using optical femtosecond pulses. Mr. McDaniel earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Khoa Van | Director of Materials

Mr. Khoa Van leads and manages high-volume optical production, ensures production quality, and fulfills commitments to the customer. His career at Avo began as a Process Engineer back in 2015. He is now the Director of Materials after demonstrating a talent for managing scalable production. He also plays a key role in implementing the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for the company. Mr. Van obtained his Bachelor’s and Master's degrees in Chemical Engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia and is currently pursuing his MBA at Penn State.

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