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Advanced Micro Devices Arrives in Style


At the moment I can’t remember the year that AMD came to Austin, but it was a good year. We prepared a million answers for them over a period of time, hosted their site selection people several times, and finally got them together with some industrial realtors to try to find a site. Once a suitable site was located, then began the process of making sure we could get the right zoning, all utilities, adequate access, and all the other stuff needed to get such a project underway—without revealing the name of the prospect to the city.

Finally, finally, came the date for the groundbreaking. We picked a date, along with AMD President Jerry Sanders and the California Headquarters folks, prepared the spot on the site for the ceremony, finished the invitation list, notified the press making sure there were no conflicts, and doing a dozen other things that are so easily overlooked.

Time for the ceremony was 10 AM. The Mayor, City Council, Chamber Officials and all the appropriate local wheels were there. The soil had been appropriately softened, and the ceremonial shovels were waiting. In fact, everyone was waiting-- for AMD President Jerry Sanders.

Most of the people there were busy people, and didn’t like to be kept waiting. The press kept asking, “Is he going to show?” Five minutes to ten and he wasn’t there. Two minutes to ten and still no sign. I felt like all the dignitaries were looking straight at me. The AMD people didn’t know where he was either.

But at exactly ten o’clock, coming around the trees from Ben While Boulevard was this shining new Excalibur automobile with Jerry Sanders driving – solo. His appearance was recorded by every photographer present.

Mr. Sanders has a complete distaste for the ordinary. When he came down during planning and construction, we always offered to pick him up at the airport. He usually declined, and most often made his appearance in a limousine. My assessment is that he is a brilliant man, and enjoys the position and status that he has earned.

As I write this, AMD is building another major facility in Austin on Southwest Parkway—probably as a result of my son-in-law Larry Humphreys working for them. This is another good year for Austin.

Vic Mathias - July 4, 2005