THAT CEO CHALLENGING INTEL ALSO DREAMS OF EXPANDING WORLD'S HORIZONS
Oct. 14, 2007
Author: Max Jarman, The Arizona Republic
Estimated printed pages: 3
Semiconductor industry leader Hector Ruiz, honored by the University of Arizona for his leadership and vision at the "intersection of technology and business," brings passion to more than chip-making.
He dreams of Internet connectivity for half the world, and a future in which more Hispanics make strides through the gifts of perseverance, a sense of self-worth and education.
UA named Ruiz, now chairman and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., its 2007 Technology Executive of the Year at a ceremony Friday at the Phoenician hotel in Phoenix.
Under Ruiz's direction, the $5.7 billion-a year Sunnyvale, Calif., chip maker has been challenging the market supremacy of giant Intel Corp. He previously served 22 years at Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector, which until 1997 was based in Phoenix.
UA President Robert Shelton said the awards ceremony was held in Phoenix this year to recognize the school's growing presence in the area, which includes the opening of a branch of its medical school in downtown Phoenix.
"He's giving Intel a run for the money," Shelton said of Ruiz. "But he doesn't rest on his laurels."
At Advanced Micro, Ruiz is focused on the bottom line, but he also believes that business leaders must have a passion for something that is meaningful.
Ruiz has a vision that half of the world's population will have access to Internet connectivity by the year 2015.
It's a goal that Advanced Micro calls its "50x15 Initiative."
"The 50x15 initiative might be lofty, but we now have a stake in the years ahead that is bold enough and courageous enough to force us to think creatively," he said.
Born in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Ruiz earned bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate from Rice University.
Ruiz is in tune with the challenges that face the growing number of Hispanic immigrants in the United States.
"We are now the largest minority group and the fastest-growing," he said. "But we also have the highest high-school-dropout rate, the highest teenage pregnancy rate, and we live in areas with gang activity and high rates of crime and violence."
The way to overcome the problems is through a positive sense of self-worth, a stubborn sense of perseverance Hispanics call ganas and education.
He noted that education makes the other two possible and that it is the key to success for the Hispanic community in America.
"Education is the enabler that will create the opportunities for us to overcome the challenges we now face," he said.
Ruiz joined Advanced Micro in 2000 as president and chief operating officer, was named chief executive officer in 2002, and appointed chairman of the board in April 2004.
At Motorola, Ruiz is often credited with the 1997 decision to relocate the headquarters of Motorola's semiconductor business to Austin from Phoenix.
The move precipitated Motorola's slow exodus from the Valley. The company now has about 1,000 employees in the Phoenix area after counting more than 20,000 a decade ago.
Four University of Arizona alumni also were honored Friday for their distinguished service or lifetime achievement by the University of Arizona's College of Engineering and the Eller College of Manage-ment:
* Gregory H. Boyce, president and CEO of Peabody Energy Corp., received the College of Engineering Distinguished Service Award.
* John Buttery, entrepreneur and founder of Tucson research firm BLR Data, received the Eller College Distinguished Service Award
* Don Dillon, founder of CMX, an Arizona construction management and engineering firm, received the College of Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award
* Christopher McGuire, vice president and director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation of Palm Desert, Calif., received the Eller College Lifetime Achievement Award.
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CAPTION: Hector Ruiz
Edition: Final Chaser
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Record Number: pho176885428
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