RICHARD L. PETRITZ
Richard L. (“Dick”) Petritz Ph.D was an American pioneer of both the U.S. venture capital and semiconductor industries, whose portfolio of start-up companies created industry-defining technologies, thousands of jobs, and high investment returns for investors. In aggregate, Petritz and his venture capital portfolio of new companies attained a market valuation greater than $600,000,000 and generated follow-on private investment exceeding $150,000,000. He and the companies he co-founded had particular influence in the development of microelectronics and information-age industry in Dallas, TX, Colorado Springs, CO and the Rocky Mountain region. 1)Joanna Bean, “Microchip Guru lauded for industry excellence / Springs man helped launch the venture-capital industry”, The Gazette, June 20, 1999.
Dick began his career as a lab scientist and physics professor. He then spent another decade as a large-scale commercial R&D director for Texas Instruments, before a long career as a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He was recognized for his uncanny ability to marry technologic innovations and business start-up skills. His peers in industry and former employees largely agreed, if “Silicon Mountain” (Colorado Springs) had a godfather of high-tech industry it would be Dr. Petritz, and INMOS International Ltd. (co-founded by Petritz) the progenitor of “Silicon Gorge”, a cluster of microchip firms around Bristol, England. 2)Joanna Bean, “Springs computer chip pioneer will retire as chairman of Simtek”, The Gazette, August 06, 1998. 3)“Tech Clusters: How the West was won”, The Economist, August, 2011. Petritz was one of few Americans to become a Fellow of BOTH the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). For his achievements as an entrepreneur and electronics visionary he received an Honorary Doctorate from Regis College in 1983, was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1991 by the University of Colorado, and received the “Man of the Year: Lifetime Achieve Award” by the American Electronics Association (AEA) in 1999.
For all his achievements in science and industry, what his colleagues and employees most remember “Dr. P” (as he was fondly and respectfully nicknamed) for was his mentorship of young executives and for creating corporate cultures that promoted camaraderie and espirit de corps. That enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship persists today for those that carry on his legacy.
|Born:||October 24, 1922
|Died:||April 28, 2003 (age 81)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
|Alma Mater:||Northwestern University|
|B.S. Electrical Engineering||1946|
|M.S. Electrical Engineering||1947|
|Dissertation:||ON NOISE IN SEMICONDUCTORS CAUSED BY FLUCUATIONS IN THE NUMBER OF CONDUCTION ELECTRONS|
Military Service: Naval Officer (Ensign; Radar Specialist), USS Harry F. Bauer, DM 26 (1944-1946)
Academia & Research – (1950-1958)
- Chief, Semiconductor Research Branch at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory
- Assistant Professor, Catholic University, Washington DC (1950-1954)
Research & Development Director – (1958-1968)
- Director of Semiconductor Research & Development Labs, Texas Instruments (1958-1968)
Venture Capitalist –
- Principal, New Business Resources (1968-1977)
- Co-Founder, President, Mostek Corporation (1969-1970)
- President, Telpar (1971-1972)
- President, Linolex Systems (1973-1975)
- Industry Consultant:
- Director, Leeds & Northrup (1975-1976)
- World Bank & Gov’t of Korea (1975-1976)
- IBM, Semiconductor: strategy & technology assessments (1977)
Entrepreneur – (1977-1985)
- Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, INMOS International Ltd., (1977-1985)
Entrepreneur & “Super Angel” – (1986-2001)
- Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Simtek Corporation (1986-1998)
- Principal, New Venture Resources (1986-2001)
Philanthropist, The Richard Petritz Foundation (2001-2003)
|Community Service (CO.):||Board Member, Colorado Springs Symphony (1992-1998)|
|Advisor, University of CO., School of Engineering Advisory Board|
|Board Member, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce|
- American Institute of Electrical Engineers – Best Paper presentation Award (1948)
- Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) – The Browder J. Thompson Memorial Prize (1954)
- U.S. Navy – Meritorious Civilian Service Award (1954)
- Texas Academy of Science – Fellow, (1961)
- IEEE – Fellow; for contributions to semiconductor & surface physics (1964)
- American Physical Society — Fellow
- Regis College – Honorary Doctorate of Science (1983)
- University of Colorado – Entrepreneur of the Year (1991)
- Success Magazine – Exceptional Entrepreneur Award (1998)
- American Electronics Assn. – Man of the Year / Lifetime Technical Achievement (1999)
Dick was an avid golfer, a Life Master Bridge player and a lover of performing arts. As a Colorado Springs Symphony director and arts patron, he believed in the necessity of art, culture and society for inspiration and for uplifting the community.
A LEGACY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Dr. Petritz died April 28, 2003 leaving a legacy of technologies, companies and entrepreneurs spanning a 50 year career. By 1988 INMOS alone had generated more new start-ups than all of Colorado Springs’ other major high-tech companies – including such giants as Digital Equipment, Hewlett-Packard and Honeywell – combined. 4)Arensman, R. “Fertile INMOS Ltd.. spawns high-tech startups in Springs”, The Gazette Telegraph, October, 1988. That number continued to grow in subsequent decades.
The multiplier effects of Mostek, INMOS, and New Venture Resources and the start-ups that followed provided Colorado Springs with world-class industry knowledge base, CxO acumen, additional start-up capital for new companies, and development of entrepreneurial infrastructure around the State of Colorado. The same was true of Bristol, England (“Silicon Gorge”).
Possessing unique acumen in science, technology and entrepreneurship, Dr. Petritz became a leading exemplar of what is today referred to as a “Super Angel”. Dr. Petritz’s principles of entrepreneurship, his guidance and encouragement of new managers, and his understanding of the role that community, art and culture play in Entrepreneurial Ecosystems live on in those that he mentored and partnered with. Indeed, it is the mainstay of the Petritz Foundation’s mission.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Joanna Bean, “Microchip Guru lauded for industry excellence / Springs man helped launch the venture-capital industry”, The Gazette, June 20, 1999.|
|2.||↑||Joanna Bean, “Springs computer chip pioneer will retire as chairman of Simtek”, The Gazette, August 06, 1998.|
|3.||↑||“Tech Clusters: How the West was won”, The Economist, August, 2011.|
|4.||↑||Arensman, R. “Fertile INMOS Ltd.. spawns high-tech startups in Springs”, The Gazette Telegraph, October, 1988.|