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Samsung Employee Describes Decades of Commitment to the U.S. and Texas

In 2021, Samsung Austin Semiconductor announced the construction of a new semiconductor fabrication facility in Taylor, Texas. The project is the second of its kind in Texas — with the first being in Austin. To a longtime employee such as Rafael Lainez, Director of Manufacturing Engineering at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, the new fabrication plant is the latest indication of Samsung’s longtime commitment to the U.S. For Lainez, much has changed over the years at Samsung. Despite the many changes Lainez has witnessed, however, some things have remained the same: Samsung’s commitment to being a proud U.S. employer and a good neighbor and upstanding corporate citizen of Central Texas and its dedication to serving the local community.

In 1997, Rafael Lainez started his career at Samsung at the Austin campus. Lainez recalls that as he drove an hour and a half from his home in San Antonio, he was excited to begin his first day of work and that the environment at Samsung was immediately welcoming. “When I got to the office, I was lucky in the sense that I had friends waiting for me and ready to show me around,” he said.

1 Rafael Lainez holding a 12-inch wafer at Samsung Austin Semiconductor.
2 Rafael Lainez examining a wafer using a semiconductor inspection microscope.

As a skilled engineer who already had valuable experience, Lainez says he was drawn to Samsung because at the time, the company’s operations in Austin were being launched as the biggest and strongest in Texas. The company provided an opportunity for Lainez to work on cutting-edge DRAM memory products with 8-inch wafers, with which he did not have previous experience. The chance to learn something new and be a part of the most advanced technology around was a key point in him joining the Samsung team.

In early 1997, construction on the first Samsung Austin Semiconductor fabrication plant was underway. As Lainez recalls, the site was originally a corn field. “Because it was originally farmland, there were absolutely no trees around,” Lainez says. “Samsung planted every single tree on the property!” For Lainez, perhaps the clearest indication of the scale of the operation was the constant construction taking place. He says, “It was impressive — a massive undertaking. I think at one point, Samsung had all the cranes in the city working on our site 24/7.”

1 A rodeo taking place at Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s groundbreaking ceremony in Austin, Texas, on March 28, 1996.
2 The University of Texas Longhorn Band performing at the Samsung Austin Semiconductor groundbreaking ceremony.
3 The people in attendance at the Samsung Austin Semiconductor groundbreaking ceremony.

At the time, there was a lot of local excitement over Samsung’s investment in a U.S. semiconductor fabrication facility – the first foreign-owned company to build a fab here – and entry into Central Texas. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on March 28, 1996, and featured the University of Texas Longhorn Band and a rodeo. It truly was a big Texas welcome. A lot of time has passed since the first shovel hit dirt, but Lainez has been at Samsung Austin Semiconductor for nearly the entire journey. Over the years, he has remained at the company not only because of the opportunities it has presented him, but also because of the culture Samsung has cultivated.

Lainez started as a Capacitor Module Engineer on the Process Architecture Team before moving to Product Introduction, where he brought memory products from 0.35µm technology to 100nm products to market. Over the years, he’s worked on SRAM, DRAM and Flash memory products, as well as application processors and other products at System LSI. Most recently, he has been involved in Foundry Operations, which includes manufacturing for a wide range of customers. Lainez says that working at Samsung Austin Semiconductor means there is “never a dull moment.” He adds that “Samsung has always been an innovative company, and I’m proud to work for a company that can adapt and respond to the needs of our customers and the marketplace.”

Rafael Lainez leading a meeting at Samsung Austin Semiconductor.

He has also been through the Samsung Leadership Program and had the opportunity to lead new departments on several occasions, which has given him a fuller perspective of his work and Samsung’s uniqueness. These departments include Metrology, Defects, Integration, Materials and Analysis. For as dynamic as his career has been, Lainez believes the most meaningful part of working at Samsung Austin Semiconductor has been the people. About his colleagues, he says, “A lot of them are still here, and I have met people that started out of college, married Samsung teammates and formed families. That is what has made Samsung Austin Semiconductor special to me.”

Rafael Lainez with a colleague at the Samsung Austin Semiconductor office.

For Lainez and his team, Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s profits exceeding $1 million and turning a profit at a fabrication plant outside of South Korea for the first time was meaningful milestone. However, they were surprised by the reaction they received when they reported the news back to headquarters: how much of that profit had they shared with the local community? To Lainez, this was a defining moment. Recalling the memory now, he says, “It reinforced Samsung’s values and that Samsung cares, not just about operating profits, but also about the well-being of the entire community and everyone associated with the company. And that is a very memorable and proud moment that I will always carry with me.”

In the years since, Samsung Austin Semiconductor has taken this message in earnest and established strong partnerships in the local community. One partnership of note is the one the company shares with the Manor Independent School District (ISD) in Manor, Texas. Samsung Austin Semiconductor has extended support in the form of scholarships and other initiatives, in addition to mentorships provided by employees on a volunteer basis. These mentor/mentee relationships often extend from middle school to graduation and have helped cultivate a growing interest in STEM education. Lainez says, “This partnership — which Samsung employees have dedicated their time and talents to — has helped students reach academic achievement district-wide, and we’ve been proud to support them.”

Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s efforts have also led to the construction of a new middle school, high school and football stadium. About the all-encompassing impact that Samsung Austin Semiconductor has had on Central Texas, Lainez says he is “proud of how Samsung has supported the local community.”

(From left) Rafael Lainez and Martin Thierry

Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s commitment to the community also includes its efforts to be a quality workplace for employees who have served in the military. For three consecutive years, Forbes has named Samsung as one of “America’s Best Workplaces for Veterans.” Having veterans on staff has benefited the workplace. One colleague Lainez identifies as an ideal example of a veteran benefiting the Samsung Austin Semiconductor environment is Martin Thierry, who served eight years in the United States Navy and is now Director of Cleans & Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP). According to Thierry, Samsung Austin Semiconductor offers a variety of opportunities to veteran employees, and the Rule & System background that veterans bring to the company allows them to thrive. Thierry says, “Many veterans have also served in leadership roles during their military careers. This makes them ideal for supervisor and managerial roles at Samsung.”

With Samsung’s new fabrication plant under construction in nearby Taylor, Texas, the company is making sure the same collaborative, caring spirit is being brought to the Taylor community. About the relationship with the city, Lainez says, “This project isn’t being ‘done to the community’ but rather it is being done withthe community. We have been actively listening to and working with residents, government officials, and the private sector to make decisions that are aligned with the interests of the communities in Taylor and the surrounding area.”  

The city of Taylor reports that not only will the project create an estimated 6,000-10,000 construction jobs, but that Samsung Austin Semiconductor has agreed to specific employment benchmarks and will focus on recruiting employees locally. Through an aggressive hiring plan, the company has agreed to create, fill and maintain at least 1,800 full-time jobs. In addition to this, Samsung Austin Semiconductor will maintain a diverse workforce, enhance recruiting of Taylor residents and potential minority job applicants and hold jobs and recruiting fairs for new hires. The company will also collaborate with the Texas Workforce Commission to assist in the recruitment and hiring of local employees[1].

Rafael Lainez with members of the Samsung Austin Semiconductor team.

Between the continued work at Samsung Austin Semiconductor and Samsung’s continued investment in the U.S. with the ongoing expansion in Taylor, Samsung has created a culture that places the company and community in an inseparable bond. Lainez says that although the company has employees of different cultural backgrounds, they have always come together as one. “Over the years, all together, we created our own Samsung Culture, with this year’s company rally cry focused on that culture — Together We Will.” Samsung — together with local communities in Texas — will continue to do big things in Texas.

To learn more about Samsung Semiconductor’s commitment to local community, Check out the video below.

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[1] According to the City of Taylor “Samsung Semiconductor, LLC Announcement” from July 15, 2022. Available at: