As part of Micron’s 40th anniversary celebration, we’re bringing you stories from our employees who were here at the beginning and have seen the company’s values take shape over the years. Micron’s core values of today are people, innovation, tenacity, collaboration and customer focus.
In this post, we’ll talk to Micron employee No. 129, Dean Brokaw, who is currently the director of system integration business operations. Dean talks about Micron’s most precious asset — it’s people — and how Micron’s programs are set up to develop and retain this asset.
Corporate Communication: When did you join Micron?
Dean: When I was 19 years old, I was managing a doughnut shop, and Don Lopez, employee No. 30, would frequently come into that doughnut shop. He would mention to me this operation out in the desert where he had just started working as a supervisor in manufacturing. He would come in multiple times a month and finally, after a few months of talking to him, I thought, “Well I’ll go out and give an interview a try.”
After seven interviews, I was able to land a job as a production operator in diffusion in the fab in 1982. And here I am, 36 years later. It was a great experience for a young person to go through. I actually learned a lot in that interview process.
CC: What has kept you at Micron so long?
Dean: The people. I’ve had the good fortune of working with so many good people. Smart, talented, hardworking people that always kept Micron’s best interests in mind, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think the fact that the company — in the early stages, we were all able to do many different things. In one of my jobs, I was responsible for procurement, but I was able to do procurement, material handling, even a little bit of accounting at times, and I think that those challenges made it very rewarding to be here at Micron, because you were always doing something different. And I have to admit: Even today, my job isn’t that I come in 8 to 5 and do the same thing every day. That’s not it at all. We have a lot of different things that I get to work on. So the challenges and the constant change, which can be challenging and hard on people at times, but it’s also made the work rewarding and fun.
CC: What were the fundamental values at Micron then compared to now?
Dean: As far as people, I certainly think that Micron has always been people-oriented. I think most of us who have been here for some time appreciate how the programs have supported employees. We have education assistance, and we have great medical benefits. Things like that show that Micron has always had people in mind. It’s nice to see “people” first on the list of our core values today.
CC: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to 1981 you?
Dean: One thing that Micron’s been really good about, and many of us have had the opportunity to benefit from, is investing in your future, whether it’s through education or financially. The programs they’ve put in place have helped many of us, but that education piece is so important. My son started here last summer. He has his bachelor’s and I remind him, “Keep working on your education. Micron is so good about helping us with that, so don’t take it for granted, and as best you can, try to increase your education.”
Thanks to Dean for giving us a glimpse into Micron’s 40 years through a pioneer’s eyes. Next up, we’ll hear from a Micron vice president in Pioneers of Micron: How Innovation and Tenacity Have Shaped Our 40 years.