Gordon Pearlman (b. 1942)

Gordon Pearlman was born in Des Moines, Iowa on December 20, 1942. His father’s family had come from Poland to reunite with family when his father was three years old. Gordon grew up in the Conservative community in Des Moines, very active in the USY (United Synagogue Youth) movement.

He studied theater at the University of Iowa and Drake University, and then Tulane University for his MFA. He began his career teaching theater and serving as the technical director for the university theater departments at the University of North Carolina, first in Greensboro and then in Chapel Hill.

Gordon met his wife Sondra through their high school activities in the USY. Their first child, Mark, was born in Greensboro and their second, Aaron, was born in Chapel Hill.

While still in Chapel Hill, Gordon made his mark in theater production when he began rigging a mechanism to control several slide projectors with one controller. This had not been attempted before and was in the early days of computer development. Soon after, Gordon and Sondra and their two boys moved to Portland, Oregon where Gordon worked for Electronics Diversified. His earlier experimentation led him to create the LS-8®, the first theatrical computer lighting control console. It was used on Broadway for Tharon Musser’s design of A Chorus Line.

In the mid 80’s, Gordon started Entertainment Technology with Steve Carlson, creating products for both ET and others. During this time, he also developed the Strand Lighting Impact® console, which became one of Strand Lighting’s most successful products.

Gordon worked on the development of IGBT chokeless dimmers. This dimmer technology was available in portable dimmer strips, permanent dimmer racks, and delivered effectively silent dimming without the use of voltage dropping filter chokes. These dimmers are still shipping today in products from Philips Lighting Controls and Philips Entertainment. In 2010, Gordon became a Fellow of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology in recognition of his contribution to the industry.

In his personal life, Gordon has been active in all three of the Portland synagogues he has been a part of: Congregations Beth Israel, Havurah Shalom, and Neveh Shalom. He has served on the boards of several area agencies, including Jewish Family and Child Services, and Cedar Sinai Park.

He is spending his retirement with his wife, Sondra, entertaining friends and three generations of family in Portland.

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