Although it's sometimes overlooked as a semiconductor and advanced microelectronics hub, the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is home to a significant concentration of manufacturers, suppliers, and research institutions. Seagate, 3M, Honeywell, Medtronics, Cypress Semiconductor, VTC, FSI International, and Fluoroware are some of the companies either based in the region or with major facilities there, while the University of Minnesota is a world-class microtechnology research center. An annual tally of the revenues generated by the companies' facilities in the region totals billions of dollars, while graduates of the university have landed jobs with leading semiconductor and disk-drive companies around the world. When I toured the area in May, the long Minnesota winter had finally ended. The arrival of spring signaled a time of new growth in the local microelectronics industry. The facilities I visited were either adding on new space or renovating existing space. Cypress was bringing in the last process tools to its new Fab IV-A and was fitting out Fab IV-B. VTC was putting the finishing touches on its new 40,000-sq-ft addition, with plans to break ground on a $100-million building in 1998. FSI's state-of-the-art Class 1 process lab was nearing completion, while across the street Fluoroware was gearing up to add an impressive multilayer blow molding unit for high-purity chemical containers. Physical Electronics (PHI) was keeping up with a surge in orders for its advanced analytical metrology tools. The old engineering building at the University of Minnesota was scheduled to be demolished within the year and a $22-million one built in its place. Historical links connect the corporate lineages of several of these organizations. Control Data played a role in both VTC's and Cypress's respective legacies. VTC was originally the bipolar division of Control Data, bought for $10.6 million by current CEO Larry Jodsaas and partner Greg Peterson. Cypress purchased
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