Blue Chip: Stevens Alumnus Michael Polcari

1/10/2013

The semiconductor industry is collectively worth a staggering $300 billion or more worldwide, and is undergoing continual change and consolidation.

It’s a good thing Michael Polcari is there to help inform and guide that industry.

Polcari, who grew up in Union City, N.J., began his path to the top with a bachelor’s in physics from the University of Notre Dame, then moved back east to complete both master’s (1972) and doctoral degrees (1977) in physics from Stevens.

“Stevens was a terrific experience,” he remembers. “Learning to work independently and getting a strong science education as a grad student went a Polcari’s career took him to IBM, where he eventually became director of the Advanced Semiconductor Technology Laboratory at IBM’s famed T.J. Watson Research Center during a period of explosive growth for the industry. Later, Polcari would be appointed Vice President of Procurement Engineering for IBM’s Global Procurement division.

He always found himself at the leading edge of semiconductor research and manufacturing. That’s why, in 2003, he left IBM to join SEMATECH, a not-for-profit consortium of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers based in Albany. SEMATECH provides ongoing research and development support to its members.

After six years as CEO leading day-to-day operations, Polcari stepped aside in 2009 and became chairman of the group’s board, where he now advises SEMATECH on long-term strategy.

Polcari began contributing to Stevens in 2012 after a visit to campus and a meeting with President Nariman Farvardin. He became convinced the time was right to support Stevens.

“I feel that it’s always good to be supporting the next generation of technologists,”

Polcari says. “As the technology becomes ever more complex, there will be tremendous technical challenges in our industry to keep us interested going forward. Stevens is certainly a place that has trained quite a lot of people for the tech industry, and I am sure that will continue.

"I am pleased to see it.”