On 10 Jul 08, I will celebrate my 30 year service anniversary with my current company. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do my part building what we all consider to be a highly successful company. The problem in general when talking about something like this, though, is “what does one say about a 30 year career with a company?!” Typically, when I tell someone this little tidbit, they look at me incredulously and say “30 YEARS!? That’s a loooong time!” It IS a long time, and even I tend to look back in amazement. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be working at the same place, but my plan – mind and body being willing – is to work at least another 30 years (solution to the social security crisis?) one way or the other…
Overall I have been treated well with ups and downs along the way – a natural consequence of being a part of an organization that grew to > 90,000 employees at one point while pulling back dramatically due to divestitures, etc. and then back up to around 30,000 today. In my company, I have worked with or been a part of the semiconductor test portion of the manufacturing automation division for the vast majority of my career. This test portion has suffered ups and downs as well as my company considered the pros and cons of make vs. buy in the various areas of manufacturing automation. We in test are in fact in a bit of a “renaissance” period as we speak and have really never been so successful (in my memory at least). We are essentially the last one left out of a rather long list of process steps my company has automated over the years as the support industry has developed good solutions to the problems that needed to be solved.
I have also been very fortunate in that I have been given a rather long succession of very juicy problems to chew on (perhaps I seized many – but not all – of them). My favorite and most successful assignment was running a wafer test floor where multiple wafer fabs sent their wafers. My group was given the challenge of resolving a rather long list of problems that had developed over the years, and I was given the lead role as operations manager inclusive of engineering responsibilities. We managed to achieve all challenges, and about 2.5 years later the operation was moved back to a more normal reporting situation. I’ve often said I could write a book about my experiences in this one assignment, and may well do so one day. The wealth of knowledge, experiences and relationships I was able to develop amazes me to this day. Second on my list was my assignment as program manager for the development of a 64 unit parallel memory test and handling system for DRAMs. This was a leading edge assignment in 1983 for which my company moved me from Houston to Dallas, and the program success helped my company profitability, helped me get to know my new team extremely well and helped me move up the technical ladder at my company.
Wow, 30 years!