Executive Leadership Team
SkyWater is led by an accomplished team of semiconductor professionals experienced in technology development and volume manufacturing foundry services. This team is managing a Technology Foundry strategy around key capabilities, expertise, flexibility and quality for customers that value a forward thinking foundry partner.
Thomas Sonderman, President
Mr. Sonderman is the President for SkyWater with comprehensive responsibility for all business functions and operations. He is focused on defining new product markets and target customers while simultaneously driving operational efficiencies and building upon the company’s culture and brand. He has effectively driven a comprehensive business transformation from an IDM to a pure play foundry, diversifying SkyWater’s customer base, while significantly expanding the sales pipeline. He has leveraged SkyWater’s Trusted Foundry capability to grow and expand the company’s government business and has built a world class leadership team that inspires 500 employees to deliver world class operational performance.
Mr. Sonderman has extensive industry experience in all aspects of fab operations and has delivered market leadership and maximum shareholder value to high-technology industry leaders Rudolph Technologies, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and AMD. Notably, he played a critical role serving as part of an executive team at AMD that spun-off manufacturing operations to form GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
Mr. Sonderman is a widely recognized subject matter expert, author of 47 patents and highly sought-after industry speaker. He currently serves on the Executive Board for the American Society of Semiconductor Manufacturing and SEMI’s SMART Manufacturing Council. Mr. Sonderman received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science Technology and an MS in Electrical Engineering from National Technological University.
Steve Wold, Chief Financial Officer
With more than 25 years of leadership experience in senior corporate finance roles, Mr. Wold provides key insight and strategy on both short-term and long-term growth of the company. He most recently served as a key member of the leadership team of Arctic Cat Inc. (formerly NASDAQ:ACAT), where he was instrumental in completing the sale of the company to Textron Inc. in 2017. Previously, he served with Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), for 18 years where he was focused on transforming processes, change management, and driving operational efficiencies as the company grew from approximately $1B to over $5B in revenue. Mr. Wold began his career as a CPA with Deloitte Audit and Assurance focusing on providing services to both publicly traded and privately held manufacturing entities. He holds a Bachelor of Accountancy from the University of North Dakota and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Brad Ferguson, Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Ferguson is responsible for developing the company’s technology roadmap and IP strategy by identifying high growth markets for SkyWater’s Technology Foundry business along with continuing to lead SkyWater’s government relations efforts. Previously, he served as Sr. Director of Sales in the custom foundry line of business at SkyWater and was responsible for the government relations strategy. He started his career in photolithography process development at Cypress Semiconductor. In 2008, Dr. Ferguson started up the Cypress custom foundry business to provide differentiated solutions to technology innovators. He also drove the accreditation process to achieve Trusted Foundry status which launched the site’s entry into the aerospace and defense market, a key component of SkyWater’s market strategy. Dr. Ferguson received a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
Tom Legere, Senior Vice President of Operations
Mr. Legere focuses on evolving and enhancing SkyWater’s operations and driving foundry efficiency to support its customer partnerships and the company’s long-term growth objectives. He brings more than 30 years of expertise in operational excellence across a diverse array of industries and technology segments. He has held senior operational roles at various companies, most notably Aurora Semiconductor, Sonavation, eSolar, SVTC, Cypress Semiconductor and Atmel. Mr. Legere brings an ideal combination of leadership and operational talent to SkyWater with extensive industry experience in aerospace and defense, life sciences, security, MEMS, renewable energy and semiconductors. He has led both mature and start-up companies with extensive implementation experience in Design for Manufacturability (DFM), lean and six sigma principles, supply chain management and customer engagement. Mr. Legere began his career at Fairchild Semiconductor where he received a Sherman Fairchild scholarship grant. He studied economics and mathematics at Amherst College and holds an MBA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.”
Gregg Damminga, Vice President of Technology Development
Mr. Damminga was promoted to Vice President of Technology Development to oversee the specialty process development and integration, design enablement, technology transfer, and site yield for SkyWater. Drawing from more than 30 years of experience in the semiconductor chip industry, his expertise and contributions have been instrumental in the formation and expansion of SkyWater as an independent foundry. Mr. Damminga has previously held positions with Texas Instruments, STMicroelectronics, TSMC, and Cypress in individual contributor and management positions in process engineering and development, equipment maintenance, manufacturing, planning and production control, purchasing, and human resources, managing organizations as large as 500+ people. Mr. Damminga holds M.S. and B.S. degrees with highest distinction in Materials Science from Northwestern University.
Rick Harding, Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Mr. Harding is responsible for building and driving the company’s overall sales and marketing efforts as it continues its technology transformation and serves a broader base of customers worldwide. He brings more than 20 years of technical sales experience to SkyWater, holding senior roles in sales, account development, technical design, operations and business development. Prior to joining SkyWater, Mr. Harding played key leadership roles in building and driving profitability for a series of private companies across a range of technology segments. He also spent 16 years at Cypress Semiconductor focused on technical sales and support of high tech semiconductor products and is on the board of directors at Red Team Alliance, a security education company. Mr. Harding holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from DeVry University.
Casey Sarver, Vice President of Human Resource Management
Mr. Sarver has more than 20 years of progressive human resources experience acquired through opportunities with SkyWater, Cypress Semiconductor and UW-Hospital & Clinics. In his current role, he is chartered with directing and delivering on all aspects of corporate human resources, focused on people and culture. At Cypress, he led global human resources teams supporting worldwide manufacturing locations as well as numerous domestic and international non-manufacturing locations. Mr. Sarver has held HR leadership roles with responsibility for the delivery of talent management, human capital planning, change management, employee engagement, employee relations, and total rewards programs. Mr. Sarver holds an M.A. degree in Human Resources & Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.
Khoua Yang, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller
Mr. Yang brings to SkyWater 14 years of increasing responsibilities in Corporate Finance. He started his career with Cypress Semiconductor in 2005 and rejoined the company in 2013 as the Division Controller for the Bloomington, MN facility (Fab4, now SkyWater). During his latest Cypress tenure, Mr. Yang led Finance and Accounting functions for Fab4, Cypress Foundry Solutions, and Cypress Foundry Operations which included financial management and oversight of $350 million in annual operating expenses. As a result of his due diligence and investor presentation efforts, Mr. Yang was instrumental in the divestiture of Fab4 to Oxbow Industries in 2017 to form SkyWater. Prior to rejoining Cypress, he was in Operations Finance at Target Corporation and led Financial Planning and Analysis functions at WuXi AppTec. Mr. Yang holds B.B.A. degrees in Finance and Management of Information Systems from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Paul Chopelas, Sr. Director of Sales
Mr. Chopelas heads sales for the West Coast of the U.S. and is focused on standard and custom ASIC solutions. He is based out of the Bay Area and has more than 30 years of experience in semiconductor and software industry with a long history of leveraging commercial innovations for government and military customers. Mr. Chopelas started his career as a systems engineer with Boeing and Northrop Grumman designing payloads and subsystems. After 10 years in engineering, he moved into sales and application engineering with industry leading semiconductor companies including Cypress Semiconductor, Cobham Semiconductor Solutions (formerly Aeroflex), Actel Corporation (now Microchip), and Mercury Systems. Most recently, he was VP of Business Development for the start-up Nebbiolo Technologies, started by a seasoned team from Cisco Systems. Mr. Chopelas received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University – Long Beach.
Kristine Schroeder, Sr. Director of Sales
Ms. Schroeder heads sales for the East Coast of the U.S. and is based out of the Boston area. An accomplished and highly motivated sales and business development professional, she has more than 20 years of experience in differentiated technical products and services. As an expert at consultative sales processes and through a proactive collaborative approach, Ms. Schroeder has proven to be a trusted partner to customers. Previously, she served as Director of Business Development for Cooper Perkins, Inc., an engineering design consultancy, Sales Engineer & Partner at SJ Associates, an independent manufacturer’s rep firm, and Sales Engineer at Altera (Intel FPGA). Prior to these roles, she held several sales representative positions for nearly a decade at Texas Instruments. Ms. Schroeder earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont.
Brian Wilbur, Director of Sales
Mr. Wilbur supports custom and standard foundry customers in the Midwest as well as Europe and Asia. As an ASQ-certified Six Sigma black belt, he has a proven history in developing successful outcomes for SkyWater’s customers. In his previous role as a Foundry Customer Manager, Mr. Wilbur’s focus was on expanding existing business and enabling technology in SkyWater’s dynamic manufacturing environment. Prior to moving into his sales and customer management roles, he held several engineering and engineering leadership positions at Minnetronix, Inc., a medical technology company, Cypress Semiconductor and Samsung Austin Semiconductor. Mr. Wilbur holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Leadership Development certification from Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business.
CJ Bonifas, Director of Quality Management
Mr. Bonifas has 14 years of experience in the semiconductor industry with a focus on quality and process improvement. Under his leadership as Director of Quality and owner of the government supplier facility security program, SkyWater has achieved the IATF 16949 Automotive Supplier certification and Trusted Foundry accreditation to address key automotive and government markets. Prior to his current role, he was both an individual contributor and area manager in the failure analysis group, where his application of Lean methods significantly increased the output and technical capability of the team. Mr. Bonifas holds a B.S. and M.S. in Materials Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.