Another Semiconductor fab for NY – ams!

On August 20, 2015, New York’s semiconductor cluster grew yet again, with the announcement that ams, AG would be building a new fab at the Marcy Nanocenter, investing $4 billion and creating 1,000 new jobs. AMS product graphic
AMS is an Austrian integrated device manufacturer that produces analog devices and ASIC’s for the communication, medical and automotive markets. Their 2014 revenue was $464MM and they have fabs in Austria and Plano, TX. AMS has a cool video that you can view here.

Here at Zone 5, this is great news, as the folks developing the Marcy Nanocenter, Mohawk Valley EDGE, have been close friends and clients for almost a decade now.
In fact, when EDGE first decided to go all in on the semiconductor industry, we helped build the MNC brand, developing the logo, MNC_SUNYPoly_logowebsite and collateral and providing strategic support and guidance on business development.

As with any project like this, there will be many people that claim credit, but we saw firsthand the work put in by Steve DiMeo and Mark Reynolds at EDGE to tell the semiconductor industry why Upstate NY was the right place for semiconductor manufacturing. Behind the scenes, we watched Lamar Hill advise Steve and Mark and introduce them to all the right people in the industry as they built out a world-class site for manufacturing.

And for a long time early on, Zone 5’s own Tim Dunn was VP of Marketing and Business Development for EDGE, guiding both the brand development and global marketing efforts for Marcy Nanocenter.

So we’re awfully excited and proud that our friends at EDGE can claim a huge victory by landing AMS as the anchor company at Marcy Nanocenter. Tonight, we raise a glass to you guys! (I’m guessing it should be a Saranac?)

A 25/25 Perspective on #AMAHigherEd

(Image credit: Ty Wilkins @TyWilkins)Last week, I was in the great state of Texas to attend the 25th annual Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA). The conference was held in Austin, known to be a bit weird at times and proud of it.

I felt a little weird myself heading into the conference since I realized the Higher Education Symposium and I were celebrating the same anniversary. I’ve actually spent my entire 25-year career exclusively in higher education marketing so I was contemplating what I would experience in Austin and at the conference itself.

Austin, TX hosted the AMA Higher Education Symposium

Capitol view from UT Austin

The first evening of the conference kicks off with a welcome reception where everyone has a chance to settle in, meet old and new friends, and get geared up for the sessions over the next three days. I walked into the reception with a weird feeling like the one you get walking into a high school reunion not knowing who you might see, what the conversations would be like, etc. After only a few minutes at the reception, I was received with many handshakes and hugs, and that weird Austin vibe quickly went away. The evening concluded with some great Texas BBQ at Stubb’s.

After a morning run on the University of Texas campus, I was looking forward to the first keynote session of the higher education conference. I wasn’t disappointed. And, with all the buzz that morning around #AMAHigherEd, many felt the same way. The session theme focused on how colleges and universities should embrace the unique aspects of their location as they define and communicate their institution’s character. A first for any keynote that I’ve ever attended, it was highlighted by live music by Darden Smith, as well as, stories and poems from real Texas cowboys talking about the importance of place and showing a willingness to brag about who they are and what they do. A willingness to “brag” resonated with many in the audience but not in a negative context. If you have something good to say about your school and are truthful to what that is, go ahead and brag about. As I tweeted during the session, Bragging=Branding.

Ray AMA Higher Education tweet

Following the keynote, I was geared up to attend a few key sessions. One revealed the latest insights on how students and parents go about the college search and selection process and the overwhelming impact campus visits have on their final college decision. Another focused on the art and science of demographics and the importance of knowing and using the right data in making key strategic enrollment and marketing decisions. The last session of my day highlighted the development of a reimagined higher education website for Columbia College in Chicago. Amazingly, Columbia took their old site of over 36,000 content pages down to less than 1,000 with one purpose in mind…to create a site for right-fit prospective students only. It certainly paid off with inquiries increasing 44% in the first month the site was launched. Lesson here? Know who your audience is and create content (“stories”) that are relevant and appeal to them. How weird!

My last day of the conference was highlighted by the keynote from Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, president of University of Arizona. Dr. Hart shared how the University’s “Never Settle” strategic plan was the foundation for creating an all-new institutional-wide branding campaign. Her points affirmed for me what I’ve always believed…that an institution’s strategic plan must be part of or the driving force behind any new branding initiative.

All in all, this year’s #AMAHigherEd conference raised the bar as far as record attendance, the breadth of session content and the chance to have some good times with clients and friends. I’m now looking forward to next year’s conference in the windy city of Chicago. Until then, stay weird Austin!

SIA Awards Dinner Wrap Up

Last week, as the temperatures began dropping in the 518, the intrepid technology team at Zone 5 headed west to California for a week of meetings, culminating with the annual Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) Awards Dinner.

We enjoyed great meetings with the Silicon Valley Strategic Advisors (SVSA), the leadership of the Fab Owners Association (FOA), and the new venture Silicon Catalyst. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with our friends and clients at Mohawk Valley EDGE and Marcy Nanocenter at SUNY Poly!

The event itself is always great; following a meeting of the SIA Board of Directors, the Awards Dinner provides an opportunity for the top leaders in the semiconductor industry to come together to hear forecasts for the year ahead and bestow the highest honor in the industry – the Noyce Award.

Named for Robert Noyce (inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor), this year’s Award was given to Altera CEO John Daane. I always have carried a great deal of affection for this event, as my former boss, Governor Pataki, was the only elected official to win the award, in 2003. As is normally the case, NY Loves Nanotech was out in full force for this event. Interestingly, they were not alone as state economic developers this year, with an aggressive showing from the State of Indiana led by the Hoosier State’s Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann.

In addition to the award and forecast, the crowd at the SIA Awards was thoroughly entertained by keynote speaker Austen Goolsbee. Goolsbee has served as chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers and a member of the cabinet, as well as the chief economist for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  It’s amazing, but this guy somehow has made economics entertaining! Here’s what our CEO Todd Mosher had to say:

 

Todd's SIA Annual Awards Dinner Tweet

Todd’s SIA Annual Awards Dinner Tweet

Todd’s thoughts seemed to be shared by many at the event, as his Tweet was picked up and quoted by Investor’s Business Daily.

So, we return to Albany, brimming with optimism on semiconductor industry sales for 2015, driven by the human race’s insatiable appetite for digital tools.  Or maybe, in the words of Goolsbee, “compared to what?”

SemiZone: Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

We sat down with industry experts at SEMICON West to cull their best business, trends and marketing insights. As we head to the SIA Annual Awards Dinner this week, we wanted to revisit some of our chats. Here’s what materials, market and technology experts Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet had to say.

The semiconductor industry runs on silicon. What are some of the challenges there with supply and demand?

Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

Lita Shon-Roy and Karey Holland of Techcet

Silicon has had a tough time – over supply, over capacity. Prices have dropped and plants have closed; this leads us to believe the price will eventually go up again because the supply will be more constrained. Overall, the market has been learning, not overbuilding and not installing too much capacity like in the past.

The semiconductor industry is so cyclical in nature. How have companies gotten better at responding to the cycles?

The leading edge materials space is still squirrely. In regards to the commodity side, people are now much more disciplined at how to plan and forecast. It just depends on what material set you’re looking at.

We’re seeing an awful lot of consolidations and mergers. Where do you see further opportunities for consolidation or expansions?

What I’m hearing is the challenge is that large companies don’t want to invest more capital right now. I just had a conversation with someone about how large companies are also so fraught with bureaucracy they have a tough time doing development in an cost-effective manner. That being said, I think large companies will continue to look at small, entrepreneurial type companies to buy.

There’s not a lot more room for consolidation on the materials side right now.

The semiconductor industry sometimes struggles to tell their stories well. Do you see this problem and what’s the solution?

Telling stories is a struggle for most companies in our space. The small companies out there are at the disposal of the large companies, so the type of branding that Zone 5 can provide would be very helpful for them. Help with branding will help increase value to their potential buying parties.

SemiZone: Jeanne Beacham of Delphon

We sat down with industry experts at SEMICON West to cull their best business, trends and marketing insights. Here’s what Jeanne Beacham of Delphon had to say.

Tell us about yourself, Jeanne.Jeanne Beacham

I’m the President and CEO of Delphom. Delphon is a group of different types of materials and services that support both the semiconductor and medical industries.

One of my brands is Gel-Pak. People know this brand well since devices are shipped in them everyday. They protect semiconductor chips and medical devices.

I have another brand, Quik-Pak, that does prototyping for semiconductors so we see the bleeding edge devices – the very first wafers that come off the line – that we then have to get it in a package within 8 hours so someone can test it.

Also, UltraTape supplies all the adhesive tape used in clean rooms. Basically, we make the things that everyone forgets about it, but are critically important in the pipeline.

We touch just about every semiconductor fab… [and] universities. Overall, we have about 7,000 customers across the world.

You have a unique perspective on challenges companies are facing. How do you see them being nimble and drive efficiencies?

That’s important: how do we expand?

My mantra right now is “double.” How do we double, but not double our costs?

Anytime someone comes to me for something new I ask them, “How is that going to double what you’re doing?”  I think the growth is really here in the semiconductor industry. There are exciting trends that say there are going to be continue to be more units.

Where do you see growth opportunities?

Growth for our brands is about listening to our customers and helping them identify problems.

There’s a consolidation trend.

 What do you think the challenges will be in 2015?

I think there is an opportunity: how do we look outside of where we’ve been selling?

Is SEMICON the best show to be at? Are there smaller shows where we can do business? We, for example, love going to tabletop shows where you get a one-on-one with engineers and they can pick up and play with our products.

Looking to other industries to see what we can borrow and vice versa, where we can insert our technology, is what we should be thinking about.

Where, specifically, do you see opportunities to convergence and cross-over in industries?

I think medical will be huge. How do we monitor and place a bigger focus on preventative medicine vs. an emergency room situation? How do we simplify technology so people actually want to use it?

As you know, Zone 5 is a marketing firm, who do you feel markets well in the semiconductor industry?

That’s a tough one. When I walk around the trade show floors, I give everyone a second to – by their booth – to tell me exactly what they do.

I’d give the industry a C minus.

We did a change with our booth this year. We took off all the words and did one, simple image with chips. We feel very strongly in simple, succinct messaging.

FUN FACT: Jeanne is currently in Africa with the nonprofit, Asanti Africa, with a group of teachers and engineers to exchange ideas on how to best teach science. She is there with her two teenage sons. We can’t wait to hear stories upon her return!