The annual TI Big Event once again lived up to its name this year with an experience that proved to be bigger and better than ever. The TI Retiree Roundup and Rodeo, held Sept. 14 at the Mesquite Rodeo Convention Center, attracted some 2,000 participants and some very special guests.
“TIers just like to get together and visit,” commented Max Post, president of the TI Alumni Association, which presented the event. “In every survey [completed about the event], the number one interest in attending is the opportunity to get together and visit with former associates.”
Many also came to hear noted financial expert Scott Burns, who returned by popular demand to address money matters of interest to retirees. Although problems with the sound system made it difficult for some to hear, Scott provided informative hand-outs of his talk for everyone present, which allowed them to still receive the benefit of his wisdom.
In addition to mingling with old friends and picking up sound financial advice, retirees received encouraging words from TI Chairman, President and CEO Tom Engibous. From a pickup truck-turned-podium in the Resistol Rodeo Arena, Tom addressed the crowd, noting, “I’m speaking to the people who made TI what it is today.” He discussed some of the many changes the company — and the world — has witnessed in the years since TI began, and pointed out how the company has become a major player in an increasingly high-tech world.
“We are now the number one player in the DSP (digital signal processor) business,” Tom said. “DSP and analog are the most important semiconductor technologies for the Internet today, and we lead the world. TI is viewed as the best-positioned semiconductor company for the next decade. I believe the best DSP uses are yet to be invented. The good news is, this strategic direction is adding to TI’s bottom line.” He emphasized that even though retirees aren’t reporting to the office, they still play a crucial role in the company’s operations. “We need retirees as mentors,” he said, emphasizing the importance of education to TI.
In addition, retirees have valuable connections that can further secure the company’s future. “One way retirees can help TI is recruiting,” he added. “The labor market is the tightest in years. If you refer potential employees to TI, we will pay you in cold cash.” Tom added that, while TI retirees are contributing to the company’s future by recruiting and serving as mentors, the greatest contribution lies in what they already have given. “TI is a great company today,” he acknowledged, “because we are building on the legacy that you guys gave us.”
Tom’s speech was followed by a cutting horse demonstration by Bill Aylesworth, TI CFO, and his wife, Billie. Following the demonstration, the official rodeo kicked into full swing, with all the dirt-kicking, bronco-busting action synonymous with the event. Famed cowboy Don Gay was on hand throughout the event and explained each activity, which was a great benefit for retirees who had never experienced a rodeo. By far the most popular rodeo performers of the day were the smallest ones. Wishbone, the little monkey who rode a sheep dog around herding goats from one pen to another, received as much applause and as many smiles as Don’s 4-year-old barrel-racing granddaughter.
Inside, more than 20 booths from area organizations were on hand. Among those participating were the Texans Credit Union, Volunteer Center of Dallas, AARP, Plano Senior Net, Mesquite Arts Council and Senior Benefit Centers of America. TI was well represented, with the TI Alumni Association, Texins Activity Center, Texins Association Genealogy Club, Texins Association Art Club and the Texas Instruments Foundation all setting up booths.
Retirees were able to get flu shots and get tested for glaucoma. Ronnie and Jerry Brandenburg, who head the activities committee, reported that feedback from the event was very positive. “The best part of the event was the meeting and greeting and catching up with old friends that was going on,” Ronnie said. “There were lots of hugs, kisses and handshakes among the TI retirees and the wonderful TI volunteers who helped with this event.” She said more than 50 TI volunteers lent their hands to make the Big Event a success, and, thanks to TI’s sponsorship, they were able to charge only $7 for admission.
The surveys filled out by more than 500 retirees endorsed the event and indicated retirees are enthused about seeing it continue. Ronnie said the favorite write-in response was, “What is the matter with TI? Have they gone nuts? At last, an event that was FUN! Let’s do it again and again.”
“I think they expressed the sentiment of everyone there,” Ronnie said.