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Leading the Semiconductor Industry: Michael Fritsch

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Whether tackling the challenges of executing solutions or learning something new each day, Michael Fritsch, entrepreneur, president, and chief operating officer of Confoe, Inc., enjoys every moment of his tough work life. Fritsch, with more than 24 years of experience under his belt, has lead many large and emerging high-technology businesses and organizations and has dedicated his career to performance improvement.

An adventurer of a different sort, Fritsch, who has a B.S. in Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, began implementing business solutions for a varied customer base simply because he enjoyed the challenge it offered him. Now, after years of hard work, he can assure every client of the performance improvement afforded by the Confoe advantage. And why not? From serving the army, Fritsch learned to deliver seemingly undeliverable objectives at a cost-effective rapid pace.

The Military Academy requires every student to be well versed in academics, athletics, and leadership activities. West Point’s four-year development process, dubbed the “West Point Experience,” aims to enrich cadets in four vital areas - intellectual, physical, military, and moral-ethical. As part of this culture, Fritsch, too, was involved in a lot of different activities: the Cadet Glee Club, the Student Council on United States Affairs, the Cadet Band, and intramural sports teams, to name a few.

After graduating from West Point, Fritsch served the United States Army for six years on active duty as a field artillery officer, both in the U.S. and in Asia. Later, he joined Applied Materials and served in a succession of management and executive roles with increasing P&L responsibility in the areas of manufacturing, account management, and global field operations. Fritsch also earned an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and completed Stanford University Graduate School of Business’s Stanford Executive Program in 1994.

Then Confoe, Inc. presented him with a challenge. Fritsch, the eternal adventure seeker, couldn’t resist. His hero, Milton Friedman, had said, “Columbus did not seek a new route to the Indies in response to a majority directive.” With this in mind, Fritsch left Applied Materials to join Confoe, then in its nascent stage.

Confoe, Inc. provides a unique combination of domain expertise, software as a service (SaaS), and business process outsourcing (BPO) that ensures rapid, measurable results in weeks through a single secure, integrated, and collaborative environment. This helps clients achieve quick and accurate solutions in reduced time and with reduced cost. Fritsch’s other specialties include strategic planning and alignment, improved profitability and ROI, training and development, and rapid business growth, to name a few.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Spend time with my family and occasionally travel for pleasure.

Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. I don’t use my CD player much, but the SD card on my Treo holds my MP3s. Rage Against The Machine, Rush, and The Who are probably on my most frequently played list.

Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. PC Magazine and The American Spectator.

Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. My favorite has to be The Prisoner and Blackadder from the BBC, closely followed by The Job from ABC.

Q. Who is your role model?
A. Milton Friedman was, and is, a personal hero of mine. I had the privilege of meeting him in person a few years ago, when he was still with us. He inspires me because he really changed the world for the better and did it with the power of ideas, boundless optimism, and good humor. I humbly strive to emulate his boundless spirit and personal effectiveness.

The most important lesson Fritsch has learned is that “the world is both small and flat.” He said, “The people you work with will impact your career again, no matter where in the world they are.” This idea, he said, “reinforces the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect and operating with integrity.” He predicted that increased teamwork, with the goal of harnessing a business-performance network, will prove to be a vital driving factor across industries. “From a software perspective, the SaaS model will become increasingly dominant,” asserted Fritsch.

As an expert in business strategies and governance structures, Fritsch has made his mark on the industry through alliances, joint ventures, and multi-company projects. Numerous top publications, websites, radio shows, and conferences, including Profit Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tacoma News Tribune, AOL Research & Learn, Fast Company, KLBJ News Radio, and Field Service 2007, among many others, have called on Fritsch’s expertise.

In addition to learning from the many mentors he has gained throughout his career, Fritsch also tries to learn from his own mistakes. He believes qualities like perseverance, commitment to excellence, and fairness and integrity in business dealings have helped him build a secure and successful career. He advised the professionals of tomorrow to use networking to build up their careers today. Effective networking and dedication will provide professionals with “an unbeatable combination” for success, Fritsch said.
On the net:Confoe, Inc.

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