Meet the BINTEL Team

BINTEL has 8 permanent staff and several casual members of our team who help out on weekends and busy times. Here’s some of them.

Bintel has over 110 years of total astronomy experience

Bintel has factory trained technicians

Bintel represents over 80 different brands

John Mills

John Mills


Like most lifelong astronomers, John first became interested in space and astronomy as a small child and as a teenager joined the local astronomical society in Huddersfield UK with a group of friends.

John spent years building his professional career in sales and distribution and translated this experience into a logistics and stock control management role for Siemens UK.

He then joined Apple UK as a Creative and upon moving to Australia in 2013, he transferred his skills to Apple George Street in Sydney.

John was a customer at the Binocular and Telescope shop for a couple of years when he was approached by BINTEL’s founders Mike and Lily Smith to become the company’s Business Development Manager. Having experienced firsthand BINTEL’s ethos of supplying the best possible products and obsessive customer service, John found the move from Apple to BINTEL a natural progression of his long-term vision.

In 2019 John and his wife Clare purchased The Binocular and Telescope Shop.

Outside of Bintel John has a love for the night sky or you will find him in his home study making sounds through Euro rack modules.  He is also a keen photographer of 40 years.


Clare Mills


Clare’s early career was spent in retail progressing to an assistant manager for both a clothing concession and a card shop in the UK. In the 90’s she worked at a bank as a reconciliation clerk before a 10-year long position at Siemens Medical as a Senior Project Tender Co-ordinator for large medical equipment tenders.

In the mid 2000’s she worked as a Senior Project Support for Canute Group supporting the project group with the removal and installation of large pieces of Medical equipment and assisting with implementing of new computer software.

In 2013 Clare moved to Australia where she joined a construction firm as a Project Manager of the furniture division. Her projects included the successful delivery of 15 floors of furniture to the Flight Centre Head office before being promoted to a sales focussed account management position.

In 2019 Clare purchased the Binocular and Telescope Shop along with her husband John.

When not at Bintel, Clare enjoys travel and discovering good restaurants with friends and family. With any spare time she has left you will find her engrossed in a good book.


Don Whiteman

Technical & Educational Services Manager

One of Australia’s most experienced optical experts, Don has worked as a telescope technician and telescope maker for more than three decades.

For the last 28 years Don has the been the chief technician at BINTEL.

He’s repaired everything from beginner’s telescopes to complex computerised mounts, astronomical cameras and accessories. Don’s hands-on expertise has helped guide countless beginners towards the best choice of telescope to start their astro journey and advised on the next steps for more advanced observers and astrophotographers.

Don is extremely proud of the growth in the STEM and education side of BINTEL. He’s supplied single telescopes to small primary schools and designed complete observatories for private secondary colleges and major Australian Universities.  Don has also consulted and supplied optical systems for a large number of government and defence related projects.

Prior to joining BINTEL Don worked in the mid 90s worked as senior technician at the world’s leading telescope maker, Celestron, in Torrance, USA as well as a period in the early 2000s at Meade Instruments, in technical services.

He has been an amateur astronomer since his first telescope back in 1965 and been heavily involved in astronomical societies for many years.

Elected a life member at the ASNSW (Astronomical Society of NSW), he’s served on the board as director of the ASNSW since 1994. Don actively spends dark time looking for faint planetary nebulae and small faint fuzzy galaxies.

Outside of astronomy in his spare time Don collects guitars and loves to fly fish.

Jack Gow

Jack Gow

Business Development Manager

Jack joined The British Army from college and served for 5 years as a UAV operator.  During this time he travelled the world extensively, touring countries such as Kenya, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium.  He also played rugby for his regiment.

After leaving the army, Jack re-located with his partner to Sydney’s Northern beaches where he worked as Air-Conditioning Engineer. He joined BINTEL in 2019 initially to look after stock and logistics, however it quickly became clear his real skills were dealing with customers and helping them with their telescope and optics purchases.

Jack also spends time helping beginners at his local astronomical society and consulting on astrophotography hardware and techniques at both basic and advanced levels. He grew up with a telescope in his backyard as his stepfather is a keen astronomer.

Away from BINTEL Jack enjoys gaming, skiing and once the world returns to normal, is looking forward to resume travelling,

Ignacio Tapia Vargas

Customer Service

Born and raised in Latin America, Ignacio or “Iggy” arrived in Australia in March 2020 – just in time for a few months of lock down. After several barista/bar attendant roles, he landed in BINTEL at the right time to help process online orders for Christmas that same year.

Soon after COVID’s second wave struck, he became an essential part of the BINTEL team keeping the the constant stream of orders efficiently  flowing out out the door.

His experience as an ESL teacher in vulnerable schools, and flight attendant in an ultra-low cost airline, led Iggy to develop the necessary skills to work as a front of house in pretty much any industry.

Since joining BINTEL, he’s continuously acquired more experience and responsibilities. From order processing and inventory control to his current role in customer support, he thrives on learning about nature and the night sky and helping solve customer problems.. He also was a good fit for BINTEL as his barista experience made him the designated team caffeinator (also Chief G&T pourer on certain occasions).

A word traveller, Iggy has a love of wild life and delights in long walks trying to spot the local fauna with his pocket binos.

On his free time you can find him experimenting in the kitchen, playing some board games or on some bar stage with his disco/funk band “The Queertet”.

Ashwin Singh

Meet Ashwin, our passionate astrophotography enthusiast at BINTEL! Currently pursuing his studies in data science at the University of Sydney, Ashwin’s passion for the cosmos extends beyond the classroom. As an executive member of the university’s astronomy society, he actively engages in promoting astronomy outreach and education.

Outside of his academic pursuits, Ashwin finds joy in capturing the beauty of the night sky through his telescope. When he’s not exploring the universe through telescopes or studying you can often find him gaming or chilling with his pet lizard.

Jess Gilmore


Since childhood Jess has been looking up at the sky and wondering about all things space. She would spend many nights sitting on the swing in her backyard, listening to music and gazing up at all the wonders above her. With her first love being mathematics, she studied pure mathematics at a university level for three years before packing up from her childhood home and moving south to pursue a science degree majoring in astronomy and astrophysics.

When she’s not working at BINTEL (and the skies are clear!) she’s usually found at her second job, as an assistant at Macquarie University Observatory. There she has the fantastic job of working a variety of telescopes and taking photos of the beautiful southern night sky.

Earl White

Earl White

Customer Communications Manager

How did Earl become permanently hooked on space and astronomy?  All it took was he lucky combination of watching the Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon crammed into a school hall with rest of his kindergarten classmates and stumbling across a bright “star” while using a borrowed 50mm telescope that turned out be the planet Saturn.

He studied IT at Macquarie University in Sydney before embarking on a long and varied career in the Australian IT industry.  In the 80’s he ran the technical support dept of the Australian office of UK computer suppler Amstrad. In the 90’s he handled the tech services before taking over as ANZ managing director for utility and network software company, Quarterdeck, where he launched some of the first commercial Internet software packages. Prior to making the jump full time to the astronomy business in recent years, Earl spent a decade working exclusively with Australian ERP, e-commerce integration and CRM software vendors including Pronto Xi and Legrand CRM.

Earl has post graduate qualifications in Astronomy from Swinburne University and is a director and current Vice-President of the Mars Society Australia, a leading space advocacy and research institute.  A regular presenter at astronomical society meetings and space conferences, he has a keen interest in planetary science and the large-scale structure of the Universe. When it’s dark and cloudy, you’ll find Earl planning his next astro tattoo or intently watching late at night a schlocky B-grade movie with his three Chihuahuas.

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