Last week, representing MEMStaff, I was fortunate enough to give a talk at the Commercialization of Micro-Nano Systems (COMS) conference in Albuquerque, NM. This was a unique opportunity for us to talk about the human aspects of MEMS commercialization which is an often under-appreciated and rarely, formally discussed topic at conferences. As the MEMS industry’s premier staffing agency, we work with many MEMS companies throughout the world to help find them top talent to aid in their efforts. This gives us a unique perspective in the industry.
Our talk, entitled “Evolution and Acquisition of Talent in the MEMS Industry” focused on how talent has changed as the MEMS industry has matured, but also how it is still quite different from the general semiconductor industry. Also, we discussed the importance of hiring the best MEMS engineers as well as methods to find and retain such engineers.
We find that a handful of key people at a company can impact whether a MEMS effort succeeds or fails. This seems to be acknowledged by Venture Capitalists who put such a strong emphasis on a team when considering investment, often even ahead of any particular technology. Thus the value that top MEMS professionals provide far exceeds the additional effort required to find them and get them on board.
During our talk, we went over a number of issues such as the differences between MEMS and the general semiconductor industry, and the great amount of experience that exists even in the presence of a relatively small number of profitable MEMS businesses. For more detail, please see our talk as well as our paper from the COMS 2010 conference.