Elmer Wolff Jr


Oral History – Elmer Wolff Jr (Continued)



These are my personal reflections on the people and timing that was coincident with the formation of the nucleus of what is now the Texas Instruments Semiconductor Business.  The original team was composed of mostly young people that more than likely were the first person in their family to have the opportunity to obtain a college education.  The parents of these young engineers grew into their adult life during the economic depression of the 1930s.  The value of a higher education was not lost on our parents!  It is clear to me now the magnitude of the sacrifice that my parents made to provide me with that educational opportunity.  The cost of school tuition was cheap compared to today’s cost, but it still represented a very significant portion of their income.


The individual standards that our parents taught us were the binding philosophy that formed the spirit and dedication of the first team.  We were taught that you only get what you work for.  You were responsible for your actions.  You must act reliably, be dependable and loyal to your employer and fellow workers.  Your personal integrity must be maintained to the highest degree.


I now recognize that the lessons taught by our parents contributed immeasurably to the chemistry and success of the initial team and in the formation of the subsequent TI semiconductor business.   We were each




Oral History – Elmer Wolff Jr (Continued)


determined that we were not going to be the one to let the other team members down! 


In addition, it would be a serious oversight not to recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by our wives and family. Without their love, commitment and strong support, none of what was accomplished would have been achieved. 


We were also very fortunate to have been formed and allowed to work in an organizational atmosphere created by Pat Haggerty and Mark Shepherd.  That overall environment was the catalyst that permitted each of us to make our maximum contribution to the project.  We each had a great deal of freedom and strong management encouragement to experiment and explore new ideas.  The atmosphere was truly exciting and challenging.


I believe the combination of our being the first generation after the depression with the values given to us by our parents, and the aggressive gambling spirit of Texas Instruments represents a truly unique combination of events and time.  I truly doubt that such an atmosphere and team can be created today in consideration of the mobility of professional people and what I perceive to be a more cautious evolutionary form of management in established American corporations.  




COPYRIGHT © 2001 by Jack Ward.  All Rights Reserved.  http://www.transistormuseum.com/

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