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.

Applied Seals NA – B-to-B Campaign

In semiconductor and related industries, seals and o-rings are traditionally viewed as a commodity. Applied Seals North America (ANSA) was looking to educate the market on the importance of seal quality and how it impacts cost-effective semiconductor fabrication.

Applied Seals: Save the Seals

Semicon West, the most prominent tradeshow for the semiconductor industry, offered a perfect forum for reaching their target audience. But as a relative newcomer to the industry, Applied Seals was faced with the challenge of getting attention.

To attract attention, ANSA needed a “hook” beyond the typical tradeshow outreach . Zone 5 created “Save the Seals,” a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser to create a playful hospitality event, or, “education with a sense of humor,” in order to generate interest in a rather dry topic. All décor and materials for the evening included the “official” Save the Seals logo and information on why ASNA offers a better product. A series of “save-the-date and RSVP email blasts were sent to build awareness. Additionally, a VIP invitation was personally delivered to a select invitee list during Semicon West. This unique invitation included a Save the Seals wristband for event entry and to show support for the “cause.”

Key industry leaders attended the Save the Seals hospitality event providing positive networking for the ASNA team. Over the course of the evening more than 100 industry professionals enjoyed the festivities.