Distinguished Engineer Citations
Lloyd WhetzelDistinguished Engineer: 2014
Degree: B.S., Electrical Engineering Technology – 1993
Citation at Time of Nomination in 2014
Lloyd Whetzel graduated from Texas Tech University in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering technology. He began his career in the semiconductor industry and became a Texas Tech student at the same time in 1976 after being accepted as a Texas Instruments (TI) Engineering Development Program participant immediately following high school. By his own admission, his introduction to semiconductors – while working as a facilities mechanic installing the piping and equipment for the TI Lubbock wafer fab – was coincidental.
During his 22 years with TI, Whetzel eventually moved into the process engineering organization; his contributions in process engineering were the beginning of his career progression within TI. In 1998, TI made a decision to close the Lubbock facility. By that time, Whetzel had held engineering and management positions in process engineering, equipment engineering, and manufacturing; and was serving as the Thinfilm and Ion Impant module manager. Whetzel planned to move to TI’s Houston fab to become the Equipment Engineering manager in early 1999.
However, only days before shutting down the facility, an opportunity arose for TI to instead sell the Lubbock facility. Whetzel and a small group of other TI employees made the decision to leave TI, remain in Lubbock, keep the fab operational, and convert it to an analog/mixed-signal foundry.
In less than a year, this group, aided by additional employees, established a new company, installed and qualified a semiconductor process technology, developed its own manufacturing software, achieved ISO certification, and began to deliver products.
The resulting organization, X-FAB Texas, Inc., has been in operation for 15 years, and now employs approximately 400 people, up from 35 employees on the first day of operations. More than 40 of the approximately 60 engineers at X-FAB Texas are graduates of Texas Tech. X-FAB Texas has built an excellent relationship with Whitacre College of Engineering faculty and students, providing internship opportunities for hundreds of students over the years. X-FAB Texas continues to partner with Texas Tech faculty on opportunities which are mutually beneficial.
Whetzel is now the president and CEO of X-FAB Texas, and has been a managing director of the company since its inception. He serves as a member of the board of directors for the Fab Owners Association. He also serves on the Dean’s Council for the Whitacre College of Engineering, has served on the Department of Construction Engineering and Engineering Technology Industrial Advisory Board, and has served on the Technical Advisory Board for Texas State Technical Colleges in Sweetwater and Amarillo.
Whetzel has been married for 36 years to his high school sweetheart, Betti, and they have four children, two sons-in-law, two grandsons, and a granddaughter. Their youngest son, Landon, is a sophomore electrical engineering major at Texas Tech.
He has a passion for working with children that started with his own kids, coaching most of his children’s sports teams. He has been teaching a first grade Sunday school class at Bacon Heights Baptist Church for 15 years and serves as a counselor during the church’s children’s camp in New Mexico each year.
Whetzel’s other interests include golf, hunting, fishing, snow skiing, and enjoying the music of Stay Sane, a band which includes both of his sons. He is also an avid Red Raider sports fan.