Fourth Quarter 2020 Quarterly Employee Spotlight

Learn More About The Exciting Opportunities Available At ASIC North

Paul Dewell

Please provide a short introduction of yourself including how long have you been working at ASIC North, where you are located, what your position is and what you do at ASIC North?
I’ve been at ASIC North for the past 4 years as a Physical Design Engineer working out of the Research Triangle Park North Carolina office. Currently, I am helping the standard-cell design group of a major IC Foundry whose focus is delivering extreme-low-power design kits for handheld device applications. I help with standard-cell design and also run pre-released libraries through trial RTL-to-GDS flows to flush out any issues before the kits head out to customers. I also created and run logic-synthesis/place-and-route PPA (Performance, Power, and Area) analysis flows to help guide early cell development and compare new technologies against other offerings within the company.

Through the years of my career, I’ve been fortunate to work on almost every aspect of the IC design flow.  My front-end design work includes schematic-based design in the olden days, followed by RTL coding and logical synthesis along with test-bench-based Verilog simulations for design verification.  My back-end design experience includes digital place & route with some mixed signal design integration along with physical verification. I’ve also had opportunities to design small RAMs and ROMs, determining and verifying the transistor design as well as doing the full custom layout.

What do you enjoy about the work you do and what is most rewarding?
I really like when the work is creative, when you can “step back” and admire the result of my efforts. Of the many occurrences, a few highlights for me include hearing the chime of a seat-belt-warning design, watching the simulation of a self-timed ROM, and having a complex PPA analysis program (finally after many trails) successfully run the flow and print out the desired data tables.  I get a kick out of automating tasks to make my and others’ work easier and faster. I really enjoy doing methodical “private investigation” to determine the root causes of design errors and unexpected design behaviors, which come up daily. I’ve always enjoyed being able to do a variety of things, learning new skills and broadening my understanding of other parts of the IC design flow. The potential alternative of spending my whole career focused on a single design aspect, for example, just clock tree design, sounds very tedious.

What is one of your greatest career accomplishments?
Rather than one specific career achievement, I think my greatest accomplishment has been the consistent steady stream of daily solutions to the problems that must be overcome for the success of a project.  One of the most interesting things I worked on was a radiation-hardened standard cell technology for space applications. It is likely that designs created from that library are currently orbiting Earth on the International Space Station. That’s pretty cool!

What do you do for fun outside work?
I like keeping up with what’s going on in space technology, watching science fiction shows and movies (I’m a Trekkie), and looking at the stars. A clear view of the Milkyway on a cold night leaves me awestruck. One of the things I love most is spending time with my 12 grandkids (yes, 12), reading books on the couch or playing with toys on the floor. I enjoy large family reunions and playing strategy games. I love going out to dinner with my wife or sharing a getaway with her in the mountains of Virginia, on the beaches of South Carolina, or by the fire pit in our backyard.

Manager Comment:
Paul is the kind of person that is not content with the status quo.  He seeks out better ways to accomplish a task or improve his skills and then makes it happen.  By doing so he has increased our customer’s productivity and quality to new levels and has earned accolades for himself and ASIC North.  Always well-organized, he is able to break down large projects into manageable milestones and clearly communicates progress towards those goals.  It is reassuring to know that no matter what the assignment, Paul will be able to execute independently and at a high level.  Paul is also a member of the ASIC North Wellness Committee and his enthusiasm in keeping his co-workers informed about Wellness opportunities is to be admired.

Third Quarter 2020 Quarterly Employee Spotlight

Learn More About The Exciting Opportunities Available At ASIC North

Rudy Farmer

Please provide a short introduction of yourself including how long have you been working at ASIC North, where you are located, what your position is and what you do at ASIC North?

I started working for ASIC North in May of 2010 in Burlington, VT.  I had worked for a large chip manufacturer in Vermont from 1980 to 2007 in various roles including test equipment design and system delivery, analog mixed-signal specials, and ASICs but left engineering for a few years to pursue another passion: finance.   Returning to design engineering work at ASIC North was very much like a homecoming because my first assignment was working on a project for my previous employer.  One interesting tidbit is often my fingers would remember how to do stuff in AIX from back in the day (before Linux) that my conscious mind could not remember.

Currently, I am working on my 14th major project for ASIC North and I am assigned to work on PCIe timing.  My project roles are usually design engineering, always something to do with HDL’s, verification, timing & synthesis, test & JTAG & BIST.  In the middle of my career I had a lot of project leadership roles but now I get to focus on executing specific engineering tasks, not oversight. Yea! That’s what I prefer.

What do you enjoy about the work you do and what is most rewarding?
The most enjoyable part of work for me is collaborating with my teammates to produce something useful.  It takes many long hours to do what we do and it is important to me to help my team succeed.  I enjoy the morning huddles where we list out our vexing problems and make attack plans.  I am always learning new things because there is so much to know in our discipline!   There is never enough time!  ASIC North is a very honest, trustworthy, ethical, effective organization.  I really enjoy working here because my team always supports me and cares.

What is one of your greatest career accomplishments?
My greatest career accomplishment is At Speed Structural Test (ASST). The team I was working with was “stuck in a rut” using race-free LSSD testing in manufacturing and our major customer was having chip quality issues because the 400Mhz functional logic was not being tested with functional clocks at-speed.  It is rewarding to see that ASST is now used pervasively in the industry for advanced process geometry products.

What do you do for fun outside work?
I like to do all sports, but I have had to moderate what I do because I have aged.  Currently I am golfing, skiing, biking, hiking and boating.  My greatest joy is my family and friends.  I have two wonderful daughters in their 20’s who are building their careers and lives.  I have a wonderful partner. We are currently learning to navigate the new COVID-19 world-order together.

Manager Comment:
Rudy consistently puts his all into each project that he works on. He is always looking for ways to provide value to our clients beyond their expectations. He makes it a personal goal that every client has a undeniably positive experience working with him and ASIC North.

Second Quarter 2020 Quarterly Employee Spotlight

Learn More About The Exciting Opportunities Available At ASIC North

Regene (Regi) Graen

Please provide a short introduction of yourself including how long have you been working at ASIC North, where you are located, what your position is and what you do at ASIC North?
When my future husband and I rolled into Phoenix forty years ago in my rusty Pontiac Catalina stuffed with all of our lifetime possessions, I could not have imagined the wonderful career changes looming in the near future for this small-town Minnesota girl armed with a BS degree in nursing. From a Coordinator of Nursing position in a facility allied with the famed Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, to five years with a small, semiconductor design firm in Mesa, AZ offering layout career education and opportunities, to a twenty-two year stint as an IC physical integration engineer with Motorola, my most fulfilling position has been with ASIC North, my “home-away-from-home” in Tempe, AZ for the past decade.

ASIC North is known for its creative and brilliant workforce, including management, human resources, IT support, and design teams, all of whom join together seamlessly to make the design effort efficient, productive, and challenging while at the same time being a pleasant and stimulating environment in which to work. As a physical design engineer at ASIC North, my duties include chip and IP block layout lead (digital, analog, and RF–custom and auto place & route), drc/lvs verification, project methodology development, database release/archive, mentoring new employees, and conducting interviews of prospective employees.

 

What do you enjoy about the work you do and what is most rewarding?
What do I enjoy most about my position at ASIC North? I love the innovative and artistic aspects of physical design engineering and learning from brilliant minds (my colleagues). I find my work addicting and rewarding. I’m known by many as an “organized detail freak” or better stated.…a “systematic comprehensive enthusiast!”

What do you do for fun outside work?
Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my husband and our daughter, our most precious joy, to the many marvelous Marriott timeshare resorts across America to experience places we’ve never discovered and to partake in the diverse traditions and cuisines of each, unique location. Barefoot walks on the beaches of Maui and Marco Island are high on my list of favorites, as well as just kicking back under a pool umbrella with a good mystery novel in hand.  Lunches with dear friends, beautiful nature walks, binging an exceptional Netflix drama series at home with my husband, and completing artistic projects such as knitting and cross-stitching also pop up on the agenda when time allows.

Manager Comment:
Regene is a highly positive force for projects at ASIC North. She exhibits a can do attitude, keeps a smile on her face during stressful projects and is always willing to help others. Her organizational skills keep us on track while her methodology outlook helps feed our hunger for continuous improvement. Regene is truly a pleasure to work with at ASIC North and is a great example of what makes our company one of the best.