CEO FORUM – 12.09.09 Orlando

The Rollins College Center for Advanced Entrepreneurship and CEO Nexus, in collaboration with the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, cordially invite you to the CEO Forum, a program series that brings together leaders of established growth-stage businesses in a confidential setting to meet and learn from CEO peers who have grown their companies into more advanced stages of business development.

This event is by invitation only.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

SunTrust Auditorium, Rollins College

Registration and networking from 6:30 to 7:00 pm

Program and Q&A from 7:00 to 8:00 pm


Speaker: Steve Miller

CEO, Sawtek

Steve Miller is a co-founder of Sawtek Inc., founded in 1979 and located in Apopka, Florida. Steve served as its CEO from founding until Sawtek was acquired in 2001 by Triquint Semiconductors. Sawtek makes surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices that are used today, primarily, in cell phones and cell phone base stations. Prior to founding Sawtek, Steve worked at Texas Instruments where he was developing surface acoustic wave devices for military and space applications. Steve left TI and along with two partners founded and grew Sawtek into the world’s largest independent supplier of SAW devices.

In 1983, Sawtek received $4 million in equity funding from a who’s who in venture capital. The company did well, meeting all of its projections year after year, but the VCs became impatient and tried to force Steve and the other founders to sell the company. Because the VCs did not have a controlling interest they could not force a sale. In the late 1980’s Sawtek arranged a $4 million loan with Sun Bank and bought out the VCs for exactly what the VCs had invested and, in the process, formed an ESOP for the benefit of the employees. The ESOP owned more than 50% of the company.

In 1996, Sawtek had an IPO, one of the most successful IPOs that year. Over the following three years, there were successive public offerings for Sawtek. In 2001, Sawtek was acquired by TriQuint Semiconductors on a stock for stock basis with a value of more than $1 billion. This created more than 100 millionaires among the employees who where the beneficiaries of the ESOP. Steve subsequently served on the Triquint board through 2004.

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