More than 1,500 retirees and guests were on hand to hear words of encouragement from Tom Engibous, Texas Instruments Chairman, President and CEO, at the TI Roundup on Oct. 11 at the Mesquite Rodeo Arena.
It had been exactly one month since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a Pennsylvania field. The TI leader addressed how those events have changed the world and how, closer to home, have impacted TIers. “The world is a different place than it was at the same time last year,” Tom said. “This year, there is excessive uncertainty regarding terrorism, the economy and the stock market. To sit around and become a victim of uncertainty is not the thing to do.”
Tom said many people who grew up in times of prosperity have seen nothing else. However, the good times were created by hard work in the hard times. “I like the response of Winston Churchill, who said: ‘History will be kind to me, because I intend to write it,’” Tom commented. “At TI, we intend to write history in our space,” he added.
“Our nation is building a legacy from previous generations. As a company, when we make mistakes, we learn from them.” Tom said that, today, we face new challenges as both a company and a country. In response to the Sept. 11 tragedies, many TIers asked, “What can I do?” TI offered the opportunity to contribute to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. TIers gave more than $540,000, of which $40,000 came from retirees. With the company match, TI will donate more than $1 million to alleviate suffering in New York City and Washington, DC.
Regarding TI’s business, 2001 is a mirror image of 2000 — a record year. In comparison, 2001 will go down as the worst year of decline in the semiconductor industry, and TI is not immune from that level of deterioration. “The year 2001 will be 50 percent of what we contemplated in January,” Tom said. “But in the downturn, we have the financial strength to focus on the future. We essentially have no debt and won’t cut research and development by one dime.”
The company told TIers in January that the business was going south fast and asked employees not to spend for discretionary expenses. “We didn’t state a lot of rules,” Tom said. “TIers made the decisions on their own to reduce costs. We continued to expand our lead in digital signal processing, where TI leads the world.” Tom is proud of how TIers have handled this downturn. He said, “As tough as this has been, I am more optimistic about the future.” He predicted that DSP and analog semiconductor technologies will significantly impact broadband and the wireless Internet just as PC demonstrated enormous growth in the 1990s.
Tom encouraged retirees to get involved in the schools, saying that one of the biggest challenges is the decline in electrical engineering graduates. “We need a skilled work force in technology,” Tom emphasized. “Retirees are needed to serve as mentors and substitute teachers in support of schools.” Retirees looking for more information on this topic can visit the TIAA website. “I appreciate the positive difference you (retirees) make in contributions to TI. Civilization moves forward one person at a time,” Tom said.
After Tom’s speech, lecturer-actress Dr. Rose Mary Rumbley recounted the Texas Rangers’ history with stories about the legendary law enforcement officers.