October 28, 2011
William J. Betz, a 2000 finance graduate, was recently named Senior Finance director of all product lines at Fairchild Semiconductor Corp., a public company with $1.6 billion in sales annually.
Betz began his career with Lucent Technologies in New Jersey after graduation. He was among 30 individuals selected for the company's Financial Leadership Development Program. With aspiration to work for Lucent, Betz applied for and received an internship with this company during his sophomore-junior summer at WVU.
When Lucent Technologies created spinoffs in 2002, Betz was invited to either continue with Lucent or join one of the new companies. Betz thought a brand new company sounded exciting and provided more opportunities, so he joined Agere Systems, a spinoff from Lucent that later became LSI Corp. of Allentown, Pa.
The internships, Betz said, were "crucial" in helping him get started. "They are an excellent way for the employer and the employee to see if a position is a good fit," he said, "and for the student to see what the job is all about."
Betz's first internship went well, and he returned to Lucent during his junior-senior summer.
Between 2001 and 2003, Betz held a number of financial positions, including financial analyst, financial project manager and finance operations controller. He was named director and chief financial officer in 2003 for a joint venture in Singapore called Silicon Manufacturing Partners (a joint venture between LSI & Global Foundries) where he was responsible for all financial matters, including accounting, planning, budget and capital.
After returning from Singapore, Betz continued with LSI and held several additional positions, including finance director of LSI's networking business. He later moved to California and in 2008, became director of financial planning and analysis and investor relations. In 2009, Betz left LSI for Fairchild Semiconductor and this fall was given responsibility as a senior finance director for all of the company's product lines.
His job is at times taxing, and he recently returned from a trip to Korea and Taiwan, but he said he likes what he does. "I enjoy it very much," he said. "The ideal vision for me is to be part of a world class business partnering team that fosters continuous development, added value services and creativity based on a core set of values of integrity, discipline and open communication across all borders with deep passion and energy at all times. My ultimate goal is to be CFO someday, and I drive toward that in everything I do."
Betz was Vice President and President of Delta Sigma Pi, the professional business fraternity, and also a member of the WVU Student Administration Board of Governors. He said his experience at WVU was a good foundation for his future and advises today's students to not only pursue internships but also to be involved.
"Getting involved and networking in clubs in the University and College is extremely important," he said. "Students should be active. I studied finance, but got to see a bigger picture through involvement outside the classroom."
He recalls the influence Dr. Terry Rose and Susan Robison, who helped him. He also remembers Dr. John Adams, who piqued his interest in international careers. Betz, who began working on a MBA at Babson College while at Lucent, transferred to Lehigh University and finally finished the degree as an EMBA at the University of Chicago while working for LSI in Singapore.
Betz is engaged to a psychology professor and plans to get married next year. He lives in California, and said that there are jobs, "lots of jobs," in Silicon Valley for students graduating with degrees in finance and accounting. Though Betz cautioned that the area has a high cost of living, he said the opportunities and rewards pay for themselves.