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Episode 3

Workforce Development and Advanced Packaging

  • Jim Vandevere
  • President, BRIDG
Aired: November 30, 2022

To get an on-the-ground perspective on the critical fight for semiconductor workforce development, Nitin brings Jim Vandevere, President of BRIDG, a nonprofit focused on technology commercialization in Orlando, FL to join him on the podcast. After an overview of the work BRIDG does in their development of semiconductor capabilities, specifically advanced packaging, Vandevere details some of their critical work in workforce development. With a uniquely large quantity of higher education institutions (public, private, and community), as well as access to local high schools and military veterans, Vandevere presents the case that BRIDG is well-suited to shape the semiconductor workforce of tomorrow.

View Transcript


Hello, my name is Nitin Shah. Welcome to Circuit Talk. This is the third episode of our second source series. So this is a series of conversations with leaders in the semiconductor industry. And today, I'd like to introduce to you Jim Vandevere. Of bridge. So Jim, welcome. Great to have you here. I was wondering if you could just introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about yourself and your career before you join BRIDG. We'll talk about BRIDG later. Okay,

Great. Well, it's a pleasure. Thank you for having me. And my career expands over 30 years of C level experience with telecommunication companies such as Siena, from the beginning and Q Terra that was acquired by Nortel Networks back in early 2000. into medical device and some other startups. But my background primarily is photonics electronic startups in telecommunication and medical device. That's where they've come in.

Perfect. Great. I wanted to hear more about your role at BRIDG. But first, tell us more about BRIDG itself. Where are you? What do you do?

So BRIDG is located in Osceola County, which is basically just south of Orlando, Florida. We are a BRIDG is a nonprofit organization focused on technology commercialization for the Meo city, Osceola County region, one of our primary goals is to develop semiconductor capabilities and advanced packaging at Neo city, along with bring our Neo City Academy students along to learn about what semiconductor processing is, and then to help and assist the ecosystem as far as the Landau economic Osceola County, University of Central Florida to kind of bridge the gap between innovation and technology and actually commercialization. So that's pretty much what BRIDG is doing.

Yeah, sounds great. So tell us more about the advanced packaging work that you're doing. As you know, packaging is an important component of the chips Act and the discussions around that. And yet, the amount of actual packaging production in the United States is quite low. So I was wondering, in the context of the chips, act, packaging and the advanced packaging work you're doing, what is BRIDG doing in this context,

the BRIDG understands that there is a shortfall of advanced packaging or packaging in general, in the industry in the United States. As a matter of fact, I think we're down to 2% of the worldwide capability in the US. And we are focused on taking an interposer technology that was licensed from iMac which is one of our partners in Osceola County, their US headquarters is on the third floor, which makes a great relationship to have access to 5000, high quality engineering staff, however, BRIDG's focus is to develop the interposer, which is currently running in our 200 millimeter fab next door, it's 25,000 square foot of cleanroom space, they have a 200 millimeter line, as I said earlier, and then we are looking at migrating that interposer for RF digital and then eventually photonics type applications. The industrial base I VAs and the government DoD are looking at actually adding that capability United States in a selected bridge, and our region to do that. And that technology is, you know, a very advanced semiconductor processing point of view, it's been done packaging all over the place. But it's the way you do the packaging by 3d stacking chips and or other layers to create a conduit to where you de risk yourself from meeting up a printed circuit board, which is very hard to get the you know, in the United States, I don't think anybody makes printed circuit boards anymore, you know, the raw materials are not available. So using silicon to do that. And other kinds of substrates is what we're looking at from an r&d point of view. So it's really about the advancement and bringing the United States capability back and controlling that intellectual property here. That's what we're trying to accomplish with the interposer.

So it looks like you're really a catalyst and it says essentially a center of excellence for the advanced packaging, the interposer technology that you've got under your belt, but then you can serve the DoD community, obviously commercial entities and for prototyping for new innovations, particularly you mentioned your background and photonics and compound semiconductors as well. So it What's your vision as you grow your base, your customers? It looks like you've got a very broad swath of capabilities that you're building. Well,

the good thing about Nina city is We have the ability to add a lot of different technology bases that are competitive to what we're currently doing here at the Neo city factory. But the important part is, you know, yeah, 500 acres. And you know, Florida is based, as a service industry and agriculture, the largest, you know, farm, and the largest cattle ranches in Florida. So what the county and the the God of the state has done is develop this land to support a third, you know, leg to a stool to diversify the portfolio so that the workforce has a place to go. That's not just, you know, service and agriculture, but more into high tech, and the semiconductor processing and the tools and everything are in error. Very neat, not what people don't know about it. So part of the issue is getting that information out there and showing people how really neat this stuff is to work with. Semiconductors, you know, for from an industry point of view is very kind of off the beaten path. But everybody knows you take your cell phone, you take your computer, you take anything you work with today, you take all the Evie vehicles that are out there right now that none of it works if you don't have chips, and those chips come from plants like this. And I will say that one of the best parts about being here is Florida is not known as a high tech, you know, region. It's known as Mickey beaches, just hanging out for fun because the weather is always nice. But adding this kind of business sector can change Florida immensely and help the US because you know, there's the talented university system that's in here there's you know, University of Florida UCF right around the corner, FIU, FAU, Florida State, you know, there's, you know, Florida a&m, I can go to Ellis University, Miami, Florida poly, we're all looking at these universities to supply students that work on behalf of this stuff.

You're also bringing in high school students, right? I mean, bringing students even at the high school into learning about the technology and the capabilities you have. That's very exciting. Please tell us more. Yeah, the

the high school students, our first graduating class out of BOC Academy was last night, we had four students that worked with Co Op, they were all hired. They love them, they come in and we invite anybody to come out and and check out our site and see what our kids are about. They're They're fantastic students, every tour usually winds up at the high school, we're looking to with, you know, the avenues are given us by the US government to support and expand the school. The school right now has about 100 kids per class. And so there's 400 in the school, and we'd like to double that. And then we'd also like to get stem into the pipeline as far as Osceola County and throughout the state. So that's part of our approach. Our approach is, you know, we have this beautiful property, we have great places, it's pad ready for any kind of development you want to do. And we talk to a lot of people to come here and join us. But we're also focused on workforce development. So not only are we doing it through the students, and doing it through community colleges, Valencia colleges, right attached to our campus here. We also go into universities, but we're also targeting military that has gotten out of the service recently, you know, and their capabilities and what they're doing. So everybody says, What's your two year plan to staff I says, Well, we're gonna go right after the militaries that have exited the service. And in good standing, and we can apply they're, you know, they're dedicated people, they're trained, they could do maintenance, they could do technical work, they can do all kinds of things, you do supply chain, you take it, it's semiconductors, just not working on a tool and running a recipe. It's there's a lot more to building that business. And there's inventory, there's, you know, supply chain, there's, you know, finance everything. So, those people can add value immediately and make an impact. So we're looking at them as our you know, first step, and then the rest of the step is seeding your population. So in 10 years, you have a viable workforce that's educated from PhD all the way down from associates or even high school graduate, it doesn't really matter. All people can find a job in this industry.

Jim, that's really inspiring. So thank you very much for spending time with us today. And I would very much encourage our audience to, to check out BRIDG, they have some videos on their website, which really gives a view of the community aspect that BRIDG is achieved, as well as the advanced technology they're putting in place, and how it can be very much integral to the chips Act, and the future of the semiconductor industry in the US. So again, Chen, thank you very much for spending time with us today on circuit talk. Thank you.

Thank you. Thanks for having me, man. Appreciate it. Take care. Thank you.