Business & Tech

BOLD TYPES

Demand for chips is insatiable, and that’s just fine with Entegris

Bertrand Loy
Chris Morris for The Boston Globe
Bertrand Loy

If the semiconductor industry is going to keep up with Moore’s Law, chip makers might have Bertrand Loy (above) and his team at Billerica-based Entegris to thank.

Essentially, Moore’s Law says that industry innovators will continue to find ways to increase the processing power of computer chips at a steady pace. Entegris’s products, such as filters and gases, help protect chip components during the manufacturing process and ensure their purity.

The seemingly insatiable demand for smaller, more efficient chips has paid off for Entegris, which has seen its annual revenue nearly double in the past five years, to $1.3 billion last year. Loy says his company’s investment in R&D is paying off as chip makers chase ever-more-incremental gains in efficiency. Its purchase of ATMI in 2014 helped with the growth. And Loy wrapped up another big deal last month: the $355 million acquisition of SAES Pure Gas, a maker of gas-purification equipment.

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Entegris has emerged as one of the most prominent players in the state’s still-strong chip industry, primarily located along the highways northwest of Boston. The company was essentially formed in 2005 by the merger of Mykrolis Corp. and Entegris, which had been based in Minnesota. The company kept the Entegris name, but not the hometown.

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After the merger, the top brass realized that many key players in the company and the industry were in Massachusetts (the original home to Mykrolis), and decided to move the headquarters here in 2008.

Another driving factor: The move also put more of the corporate staff closer to manufacturing operations.

Loy is a native of France, but he spent much of his career in Massachusetts. He was the chief financial officer of Mykrolis when it went public in 2001 and eventually became chief operating officer of Entegris in 2008, before getting promoted to the top job in 2012.

Revenue growth also means job growth, and Loy can’t think of a better place to do the hiring than Massachusetts. Over the course of 2018, he expects to add 80 to 100 jobs in the state, and at least 800 globally. (Entegris employed 4,000 people on Jan. 1, including about 450 here.)

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“Success really depends on the talent we can bring to Entegris,” Loy says.

“You have some of the best universities in the world [here], when it comes to materials science. . . . If you look around, on a global basis, the talent pool that is available here in Massachusetts is second to none.” — JON CHESTO

GE promotes Cowan

Mo Cowan is getting a new job at General Electric — a promotion that will make him the president of global government affairs and policy.

Cowan – a top adviser to former governor Deval Patrick and an interim US senator — joined the company in April 2017 as vice president of litigation and legal policy. Cowan will succeed Karan Bhatia, who is leaving to lead public policy and government relations at Google.

Cowan will be in charge of helping the Boston industrial giant tackle key political and policy issues. The 65-member team is made up of government affairs professionals, as GE prefers to call them, but, yes, there are lobbyists among them.

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GE has been vocal on a number of topics, including taxation, trade frictions, and tariffs. Top of mind for Cowan will be tariffs as the Trump administration escalates a trade war with China and other countries. GE has long supported free and fair trade and has raised concerns about how tariffs can make it harder for US manufacturers to compete globally.

“Tariffs potentially have real meaningful impact across the portfolio,” Cowan said.

Prior to joining GE, Cowan was chief executive of ML Strategies, the lobbying arm of the Boston law firm Mintz Levin. ML Strategies represented GE in 2015 and 2016 as it contemplated moving its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston.

GE moved to the Fort Point Channel district in August 2016 after securing an incentive package from the city and state worth about $150 million. Since then, GE has changed CEOs, gone through a major restructuring, and been dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average after more than a century.

So what does Cowan say to Bostonians who might be nervous about GE’s future?

“I say the same thing I always say to them: The decision to move the headquarters to Boston was a decision with a long-term view in mind,” Cowan said. “I tell folks stay tuned — a lot of exciting things ahead.” — SHIRLEY LEUNG

Storms and rising seas

Michael Parker’s first job after law school in the mid-1990s landed him in the Environmental Protection Agency’s local office, where he worked on cleaning up some of the most polluted sites in New England.

Today, Parker regularly puts his land-use permitting skills to the test through his long-established real estate practice, as a member of Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster’s real estate group. But he now has another venue, one where that time in the EPA will really come in handy: Boston’s Conservation Commission.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh recently named Parker chairman of the commission, just months after he joined it. He lives at the Charlestown Navy Yard, so he has a front-row seat on the impact that sea level rise could have on development.

The commission reviews projects in or near wetlands, a responsibility that gives it a key role in making Boston more resilient to storms and rising seas. Parker sees cities like Boston as the first line of defense against climate change, particularly as the federal government under President Trump retreats.

“We’re pretty lucky to be living in a city that’s thinking about these issues,” Parker says. “This is the time to be taking climate-resiliency measures that might cost a little money, but it will prevent a lot of business interruption and property damage. . . . The cost-benefit analysis definitely augurs toward taking measures now so you won’t regret it later.” — JON CHESTO

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E-mail Bold Types at boldtypes@globe.com.