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Thomas Digges

CEO, Virginia Semiconductor

Thomas Digges holds a bachelor of arts in French from the University of Virginia, a bachelor of science in Metallurgical Engineering from Virginia Tech, a master of science in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, and a Ph.D. in Metallurgy and Material Science from Lehigh University. 

From 1963-65, he was a member of the technical staff at the Naval Research Laboratory. And as a member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments from 1968-73, he developed the float zone technology for producing high-resistivity silicon used for the Paveway Sensor. He also grew the first digitally-controlled silicon crystal in the world in 1970.

Digges was the principal investigator on germanium crystal growth on the Skylab experiment in 1974 and worked at theJet Propulsion Lab from 1975-78, focusing on solar energy conversion. In 1978, he founded Virginia Semiconductor, a supplier of small-diameter and specialty-application silicon wafers. The company received the Photonic Spectra Circle of Excellence award in 1991, and in 1994, the prestigious Blue Chip Award given by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Connecticut for increasing its export business from 20% sales in 1986 to 40% sales in 1993.

Digges holds 10 patents, four trade secrets disclosures, and has published over 30 refereed technical publications.

He and his wife are members of Virginia Tech’s Ut Prosim Society and the Committee of 100. Digges was inducted into the College of Engineering Academy of Engineering Excellence in 2012, and is a former member of the College of Engineering Advisory Board, on which he served from 2007-11.