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Ben Eynon 84
Major: Associates Degree in Engineering
The education and training I received at Keystone (Junior) College prepared me for the rigors of the Microelectronic Engineering degree I pursued at the Rochester Institute of Technology immediately following Keystone. I enjoyed my engineering courses taught by Tom Cupillari and Mike Mehalchick in physics, Gus Vlassis in chemistry, and Mary Morasky in Mathematics. I have told Mr. Cupillari several times over the years that his passion for optics influenced me to the extent that I myself pursued micro- and nano-lithography both academically and professionally. This field utilizes optics to shrink electrical circuit patterns onto microchips, making the electronic devices we buy more compact, more powerful, and less expensive.
I would also like to say here that a big part of my education at Keystone was about life and deciding what kind of person I would become. I attribute much of that "education" to Tony Libassi as a result of the many hours he spent coaching and mentoring me as an advisor and friend when I served as president of the student senate. Tony had both the interest and the patience to help foster my maturation process as well as that for hundreds of other students over his years at Keystone. I remain grateful to him to this day.
Most memorable Keystone moment
There were so many wonderful friends and experiences I had at Keystone that have come to mind frequently over the last 25 years. The most memorable however, was our graduation ceremony.
As a class, we had made friendships over our time at Keystone enjoying social activities, club meetings, varsity and intramural sports, and even our studies. The 200+ of us graduates had been on different class schedules and pursued disparate extracurricular activities, but there was a family-type feeling that had grown among us. At graduation, we were all gathered together there in the gymnasium. I remember looking across at everyone's faces and thinking that those now "family" members of mine would be so for the rest of my life. And then I looked at all of the Faculty and Staff members standing in their own robes and mortar boards. Their faces bore the pride and sense of accomplishment for having helped us learn their particular area of expertise of course, but they also imparted a piece of themselves through the giving of their time and talents to each of us. I will never forget that day and thank everyone for what they gave to me - what I have carried with me ever since.
What are you doing now?
Career-wise, I am currently Vice President of Semiconductor Business Development for a high tech startup company based in Austin, TX. My job requires that I travel about 50% of the time to technical conferences, industry trade shows, and customer locations across the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Over the years I have been awarded several patents, written a book, served on many industry conference committees, and have published over 30 technical articles. I have taught seminars on semiconductor lithography technology all over the world and enjoy other public speaking opportunities that come up from time to time.
Hobby-wise, I have actually done very little flying over the years since obtaining my pilot's license at the Fleetville airport (now called Seaman's Field) while attending Keystone. Instead, I have had to pick up hobbies I can maintain while on business trips. I now enjoy jogging, ocean snorkeling, writing, and learning languages. Even though almost all of the work done in the microchip industry is in English, over the years I have learned to speak some basic Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, German, Italian, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese to try to fit in better when I am in countries that speak those languages.
Most interesting life experience
I would love to say that I piloted myself across the Pacific or I survived a shark attack, but I haven't done anything as magnanimous as that. Instead, visiting other countries and spending time with people of so many different cultures has been the most interesting and even life changing experience for me. I think the most memorable and interesting of all was my first visit to Japan. I was 25 years old and was on my first big business trip as an engineer working for Texas Instruments in Dallas. I traveled across Japan almost end-to-end for about five weeks. Prior to arriving, I had thought that by simply reading about a foreign culture or watching a TV program about it meant that I could drop right in and blend immediately. Not so, but fortunately the Japanese culture is extremely kind and generous to visitors so I learned this lesson in a friendly environment. Being abruptly forced to negotiate through fundamental differences in language, ideologies, and social etiquette challenged me in so many ways beyond what I expected; so much so that I have sought out career options that incorporated a global travel component ever since.
I am married to my best friend, Lori, and have two wonderful daughters: Lauren and Lacy. We live in Round Rock, TX and enjoy the time we get to spend together going to movies, swimming, playing WII games, and taking vacations either to beaches or to the mountains to ski. We also have two dogs that serve both as family members and as our home alarm system.
I should also mention that my father (Ben Eynon, Sr.) graduated from Keystone in 1961 and was that year's student senate treasurer, and my brother (Dan) graduated in 1986 and was that year's student senate president. I was fortunate enough to have graduated and served as student senate president in 1984, the 50th anniversary of what was then Keystone Junior College. We are definitely a Keystone family!
What you hope to be doing in the future?
I hope I can:
- continue working in the industry that I have enjoyed for over 20 years,
- transition to a teaching role when it makes sense to do so,
- have enough free time to publish more - maybe a novel this time,
- travel because I want to and not because I have to, and
- stay in shape and healthy long enough to enjoy retirement.