STEM hero: Microchip's Steve Sanghi

-July 22, 2015

The last time we checked, Microchip CEO Steve Sanghi did not wear a cape. He could not fly. And he did not make a habit of rushing into burning buildings to save puppies from a blaze.

Yet, Sanghi was recently named a "hero." Indeed, he was inducted into the REC (Robotics Education and Competition) Foundation STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Hall of Fame as a STEM Hero for his efforts in encouraging STEM interest with the next generation.

Microchip’s Steve Sanghi with well-known young engineer Joe Hudy.
That honor, as well as his 2015 ACE Awards win in the STEM Impact category this week, is well deserved. The recognitions have been a long time coming.

Sanghi's support of STEM education is reflected in both his own personal attitude toward STEM and through Microchip’s charitable arm. Mainly, he has worked in two critical robotics programs: FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and Vex. Both programs focus on technical learning and building good citizens, while also teaching workforce-development skills such as critical thinking, budgeting, and working on a deadline, as students work with industry mentors to build robots for competition.

Sanghi also founded the annual Arizona FIRST Regional FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) many years ago, and currently serves on the international FIRST Board of Directors. Further, he has personally funded and selected the winners of the Steve and Maria Sanghi Scholarship for several years, which is awarded to one of the Arizona FRC participants annually.

Microchip is the organizing sponsor for the two annual FRCs in Arizona, having just successfully completed two events for the first time in early April 2015, along with financially supporting the events and several FRC teams. The company has also been the organizing sponsor of Arizona’s FIRST Regional FRC for many years.

Sanghi’s company also supports two FLL (FIRST Lego League) teams each year consisting of employees’ children, who are parent-coached.

Microchip also offers space in its Tempe, Arizona, facility for the Arizona Community FRC team to build its robot every year. The team consists of students who otherwise would not be able to participate, or are home schooled.

This all comes in addition to the 24 Vex teams in Arizona, along with two Vex tournaments, the company has sponsored. The attitude of STEM encouragement is highly recognizable with Sanghi but to be true it's a company culture that is exhibited by many Microchip employees. Numerous employees mentor various robotics teams, teaching them team building, leadership, electronics, and other skills that will benefit them in school and in the workplace.

STEM has become a popular topic of concern recently as Space Race-inspired Baby Boomers begin to exit the workforce and industry leaders look to their grandchildren to take their place and continue to grow engineering. But for Sanghi and Microchip, that concern has been on the radar for years.

In 2012, Sanghi, already having deep knowledge of the situation and working to encourage youth interest in STEM for years before, told EDN in a cover story, Engineering the Next Generation of STEM: “In the US political circuit, we often talk about the end product, which is jobs, but that [product] is the output of the rest of it. We have to work on it well ahead of time and get kids excited about science, math, engineering, and technology. Corporations need to help nurture the resources and the community in which they operate. That [goal is] what we are trying to [achieve]: Prepare our future engineers; prepare our future employees; and educate the youth in math, science, engineering, and technologies.”

Sanghi is no newbie to STEM, nor to the ACE Awards, presented annually by UBM Canon's EDN and EE Times. Below is video of his 2010 ACE Award for Executive for the Year.

Also see

The ACE Awards were presented during the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley on July 21, 2015. The full list of winners can be found here.

Join over 2,000 technical professionals and embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware developers at ESC Minneapolis Nov 4-5, 2015 and learn about the latest techniques and tips for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the embedded development process.

The Embedded Systems Conference and EDN are owned by UBM Canon.

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