LEADER IN SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY, CO-FOUNDER OF MARVELL TECHNOLOGY GROUP, AND “INVENTOR OF THE YEAR”
Major and graduation year: Electrical Engineering, BS ’83
Location: Los Altos, California
Child prodigy: Alumnus Sehat Sutardja knew at a young age that he wanted to study engineering. At 12 years old, he was already studying electronics and building circuit boards, and by 13, he was a certified radio repair technician. When it became clear to him that the United States was the best place to learn more about electronics, he came to Iowa State University to study electrical engineering.
Family business: In 1995, after receiving his MS and PhD degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, he co-founded Marvell Technology Group with his wife, Weili Dai, and his brother, Pantas Sutardja. Their first product was a specialized read channel for computer disk drives, which was faster and less power-consuming than the drives already on the market. Today, Marvell Technology Group has offices in over 15 countries and brings in over $3 billion in revenue each year. Many different technologies developed by Marvell can now be found in computers, televisions, smart phones, Wi-Fi systems, and more.
Awards and achievements: Sutardja has served as president, chief executive officer, and co-chairman of Marvell’s board of directors since its inception, and as chairman of the board since 2003. In addition, he serves as the president, chief executive officer, and as a director of Marvell’s U.S. operating subsidiary, Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. Sutardja is the inventor and co-inventor of over 65 patents and is an IEEE Fellow. In 2006, Sutardja was named Inventor of the Year by the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association, and in 2010, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association.
Charitable contributions: One of Sutardja’s goals has always been to make technology accessible and affordable to those less fortunate. Technology developed by Marvell was used by the One Laptop Per Child charity, making their computers the first to cost below $100. Marvell has also developed a vast amount of high-performance, low-power computer chips that have greatly reduced the energy consumption from everyday electronic devices like cell phones, televisions and computers.