More than 700 retirees and guests gathered at the Mesquite Convention Center on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, for the annual TI Retiree Luncheon. They met friends, enjoyed fellowship and barbecue, and took part in a patriotic program honoring veterans. Accompanied by Garland Symphony musicians, an honor guard of ROTC cadets from the West Mesquite High School paraded the colors and led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. All attendees joined in singing the National Anthem.
TIAA President Betty Purkey then recognized veterans in the audience and also those with family members now serving on active duty, and saluted representatives of the 807th Medical Brigade located in nearby Seagoville.
Following lunch, Betty recognized the work of volunteers who made the event possible, including TIAA members, the active TIers who pitch in each year to help with registration and transportation, and particularly the work of TIAA Administrator Jessica Stewart. Betty also commended the good work of Ronnie Brandenburg, who prepared an “In Memoriam” slide show that recognized those retirees and former TIers who have passed away since last year’s luncheon.
She then introduced Tom Weichel, manager of TI’s newest manufacturing facility, RFAB in Richardson. Tom joined TI in 1990 in Houston, as a photolithography engineer in HFAB. Tom summarized the results of TI’s third quarter report, commenting that revenues were up 30 percent from a year ago and earnings per share reached $0.71, an increase of 69 percent from the same quarter last year.
He pointed out that TI expected sequentially lower revenue in the fourth quarter, reflecting a combination of seasonal patterns, continued soft demand in computing and consumer markets, and slowing growth in the industrial market. Most of Tom’s presentation covered the ramp-up of RFAB, which will be the world’s only production facility to use 300-millimeter wafers to manufacture analog chips. Retirees, many of them coming from manufacturing backgrounds, had no problem identifying with Tom and his experiences in getting a brand new fab into production on a tight schedule. Many retirees visited RFAB for the TIAA annual meeting in May 2006 when it was only the shell of a building. It was amazing to see the transformation as Tom showed a series of photographs of the equipment installation for what will be one of the world’s most advanced wafer manufacturing facilities.
More than 30 exhibitors had booths at the event, including major sponsors for the annual TIAA Charity Golf Tournament, benefiting The Senior Source. Three Texins clubs attended for the first time and provided information on their activities — the Art Club, Genealogy Club and Texoma Club.
There was a lot of retiree interest in the booths, but the busiest on seemed to be Buckner International. When the day was over, retirees had dropped more than 1,070 pairs of socks into collection bins. Buckner’s will distribute the socks as part of their “Shoes for Orphan Souls” program.
George Consolver and the TIAA Community Involvement Team worked with Buckner’s to bring their needs to the attention of retirees. A team of retirees worked at the agency last summer to sort shoes, and they plan to schedule work sessions again in 2011.
TIAA again offered free one-year membership if an attendee had worked at TI and had never been a TIAA member. It is not necessary to retire from TI to join. The TIAA Membership Committee enrolled seven new first-year members and accepted dues for membership renewals from 10 TIAA members.
The TIAA Travel booth was also a beehive of activity, with a number of retirees getting information on trips, signing up for trips and leaving suggestions for future travel events.
In the medical area, 110 luncheon attendees received seasonal flu shots, and 24 got pneumonia vaccine. The medical screening area was popular, with tests continuing for about an hour after the end of the scheduled activities.
Almost 500 retirees and guests completed survey forms at lunch. The vast majority (96 percent) said they liked the event and 89 percent want to return to the same site in 2011. The idea of served meals vs. lining up for a buffet seems to have caught on with many favorable comments on the surveys about service. The TIAA Activities Committee makes use of the survey comments in planning each year’s event. TIAA follows up on specific areas which need improvement. More than 50 favorable written comments were made about the work of the volunteers and these have since been passed on to those who helped with the event. Retirees were impressed with the ROTC flag ceremony and many favorable comments were made about the professionalism of the student cadets from the West Mesquite High School.