Browse by year:
April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature
Mihir Parikh
Friday, November 21, 2008

Age 53
Place of Birth Mumbai

Residence CA

Family Married

Came to the U.S. 1965

Education B.S. (Engg. & Physics); Ph. D. (Engg. Science)

First job and career IBM, 1974

Company started 1984

Year did an IPO 1993

Year became millionaire

Favorite charity UC berkeley and Tech Musuem, San Jose

Net Worth

Lifetime goals Create value and have fun

Philosophy Of Life Balance

Most Inspired By Great minds

Most excited by Creativity in art and science

Mihir Parikh, Ph.D. has served as chairman and CEO of Asyst Technologies, Inc. since July 1992. Asyst is a manufacturing company providing equipment that integrates into the processing equipment and the factory as a whole.

Mihir received a bachelor’s degree in 1969 and a Ph.D. in 1974 in Engineering Science from the University of Berkeley, California. His first love was aeronautical engineering, but he found engineering physics much more stimulating and intellectual. His career began in a 7-year stint at IBM and, subsequently, at Hewlett-Packard (HP) for 4 years more before Dr. Parikh decided to become an entrepreneur. “It was an honor and pleasure working for IBM and HP,” recalls Mihir.

An incident that occurred at HP remains etched on Mihir’s mind; he credits it for keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground. When he had first joined HP, he attended a breakfast meeting hosted by David Packard. Along with his colleagues, Mihir was in line to get coffee when a tall, dynamic man approached him to shake his hand. The man introduced himself, though he did not have to, as Mihir was stunned to find himself face to face with the Packard from Hewlett-Packard.

The line to the coffee urn being long, Parikh offered him his place in the line. Packard politely refused, moving to the back of the line to wait his turn. “That really touched me as it showed that even he gets to the end of the line like everyone else, it shows culture,” says Mihir.

Asyst was founded by Mihir in 1984, and he has gone through the whole gamut of raising money, taking it public and now enjoying success; Asyst is currently a $1.5 billion marekt-cap. company. “Basically our company is just like any other. We make real money and generate real revenues, the only difference being we’re trying to create a culture that goes beyond just taking money to the bank,” says a modest Mihir.

Mihir is also a recipient of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) Award for North America in 1999 for his significant contributions to the semiconductor industry.

Turning a millionaire has not changed his outlook of life. He and his wife have four children, and Mihir still considers being a husband and father his utmost priority. He spends a reasonable amount of time at home and the family go for outings and trips frequently. “Maybe the only change that has come about after becoming a millionaire is I drink better wines,” laughs Mihir.

Although Mihir enjoys a good game of tennis and is a collector and connoisseur of wines (he even has his own vineyard), he considers his children, aged 19 down to 8, his main hobby.

“I take time with them to impart good values and the first thing I teach them is that ‘money is not important’.” Mihir’s inspiration has been the various teachers and professors from Berkeley and the other institutions that he studied in. He is tremendously inspired by Sam Walton of Wal-Mart. “He has created a company in a world when there was no distinguishing factor. He has built his company around organization and structure.”

Mihir is inspired by feeling a sense of achievement. His motto in life is “Work with and through people.”

Share on LinkedIn