I reviewed this book for Irish Tech News noting I was never employed by Analog Devices but was aware of their contribution to the semiconductor industry for some time.
The Future Years, a Story of Analog Devices Startup in Limerick, Ireland by Pat Cunneen
My overall impression upon reading this book is very good. I honestly expected the author who spent a career with Analog Devices in HR management to be reminiscing on the good old days. What I found was a welcome surprise. In essence, the author’s talent for storytelling from the outset was very clear and indeed engaging. I also found his weaving of the Analog Devices story into the overall story of semiconductor development from 1969 to be very well crafted. Equally as impressive was his ability to tell the interconnected story of establishing Limerick Ireland as a technology hub, which persists to this day.
Content-wise, it is quite detailed moving from the foundation days of semiconductors as we knew them in the late 1960s to what can only be described as pioneering work in the 1970s onwards. Bearing in mind the GNU project was ongoing at this stage, the future was bright for technology if the basics could get nailed down. Timing in the story was certainly a reoccurring theme in the author’s tale of risk along with a sustainable approach to commitment and reward.
The author made several interesting links to Analog Device’s operating environment through the 1970s/1980s/1990s. The management team dealt with some rather large challenges in getting their business off the ground, along with creating a sustainable future for it. What impressed me more than the high level of storytelling was the progressive nature of Analog Devices, and more specifically its leadership practices, management practices and company culture. This set in the 1970s was decades ahead of its time. Such an approach provided them with the flexibility to strategically pivot in a manner that is lost on many large corporations today.
The fact that it took place in one of Ireland’s regional cities, for the most part, is not as important as the fact that it is a success story that has the potential to be repeated anywhere in the world. If the chemistry of chance is aligned as it was in this story, then insightful vision and strategy can indeed make it happen. If you are interested in technology and/or leadership practice, then this will be a good read for you no matter where you are in the world.
In 1976 Analog Devices began operations in a small SFADCO advance factory unit in Limerick with a start-up team of 13 people – among them author of THE FUTURE YEARS, Pat Cunneen.
Today, Analog’s Limerick wafer fabrication facility is one of the most important success stories in the company’s 50-year history. It employs over 1,200 scientists, engineers, production and support staff in one of the largest, most successful, most technologically advanced campuses in the country and has achieved a sustained stream of world class innovative new products, profitability, and growth.
With its consistently high levels of added-value employment, investment and growth, Analog has been hugely important to the economy of Limerick. In turn, the Limerick campus has been the source of extraordinary talent, hugely important to the continued global success of Analog Devices Inc., and has been a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the IDA as it regularly showcases Limerick’s success with its leading-edge technologies and advanced manufacturing processes.
Pat Cunneen’s story covers the first dozen or so years of the start-up, recording and celebrating the success of all the people who worked in Analog over those early years, including those sadly lost along the way. It touches on the technology and operational challenges, the vibrant sports and social environment but, mostly, it is a story about people.
THE FUTURE YEARS is an important contribution to the industrial history of Limerick – and Ireland – over the past half-century.
Author royalties will be donated to Milford Care Centre, Limerick.
The author Pat Cunneen @PatrickCunneen joined Analog Devices in 1976 and led a successful career in HR there until his retirement in 2022. He is now an author and co-founder of Lighthouse Organisational Consultants Ltd. This book is published by Oak Tree Press and is available at https://www.successstore.com/
John Mulhall @johnmlhll is a writer with Irish Tech News for over 5 years and also a DevOps and Infrastructure Engineer specialising in Cloud related technologies. You can learn more about John at https://maolte.ie
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