Growing Together: Amos Lu’s Reflections on 20 Years at Nova Taiwan
Amos Lu's 20-year journey at Nova Taiwan started with a nervous interview in which he never thought a journey would begin turning him into a seasoned technical manager. Amos witnessed Nova's familial culture grow and expand, he saw its growth in the semiconductor industry, and even now, 20 years later, he still envisions a bright future for Nova Taiwan's excellence and innovation.
Amos, you've been with Nova Taiwan for an impressive 20 years since the office opened. Can you share with us how your journey at Nova began and what made you choose to stay with the company for such a long time?
Sure. I still remember the day I went to Nova's office for an interview. I was nervous at first since it was my first time interviewing in English with a foreigner. But the interview went well, and I was offered the job.
I've stayed with Nova for so long because I love the company culture. It's like a family here. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and we all work together to achieve common goals. I've also learned a lot during my time at Nova, and I've had the opportunity to travel the world and meet people from different cultures. This is the place where everyone knows each other by name and even the CEO, when he comes to visit knows people's names.
As we celebrate Nova's 30th anniversary, what are some of the most significant changes you've witnessed in your career at Nova over the past two decades?
Nova has grown a lot in the past 20 years. When I first started, we were a small company and here in Taiwan, we were just a few employees. But we've grown steadily, and now we have offices all over the world. We've also developed new technologies that are helping to advance the semiconductor industry.
How has your role as a technical manager evolved during your time at Nova? Are there any specific challenges or milestones that stand out to you?
My role as a technical manager has evolved a lot over the years. When I first started, I was responsible for legacy tools. But as Nova has grown, I've taken on more responsibility. I'm now responsible for a team of field service engineers, who are providing service for both legacy as well as newer and more advanced products.
One of the biggest challenges I've faced is the constant need to learn new things. Nova’s products are constantly evolving to exceed customers' needs, so I need to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies. I've also had to learn how to manage a team of people from different cultures and backgrounds.
But I've also had a lot of milestones in my career. I'm proud to have helped Nova grow into the company it is today. I'm also proud of the work I've done to support our customers and help them achieve their goals.
How has Nova supported your personal and professional development over the years?
Nova has supported my personal and professional development in many ways. I've had the opportunity to attend training courses, both in-house and at external institutions. I've also been given the opportunity to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
Nova is also a great place to learn from other people. I've learned a lot from my colleagues, both technical and non-technical.
Can you share a memorable experience or project that you've worked on during your tenure at Nova Taiwan?
One of my most memorable experiences was when I was working on a challenging project. The tool wasn’t stable and despite best efforts, it looked as though the only solution was to ship the tool back and replace it with a new one. This is the most expensive solution for the company, and I decided to do my best to find a solution.
I was determined to study the root cause myself, so I disassemble the components to check and placed the parts on a table.
After a thorough examination found the cause and sent the information to headquarters. Once they received my feedback, they figured out that they can fix the error in that single component and send a new one to replace it, thus saving the need to replace the entire tool. I was very happy and proud that I didn’t give up and had a significant contribution to solving this issue.
As a technical manager, what advice would you give to someone just starting their career at Nova or in the field of semiconductor technology?
My advice to someone just starting their career at Nova is to be passionate about learning. Learn the fundamentals of the tools, the technology, the installation process, and everything that is going on behind the scenes.
Can you share an example of a time when you experienced the true spirit of teamwork at Nova?
Sure. There are many cases like this. For example, one of our FSEs in Tainan urgently needed a part, and the local factory ran out of stock for this part. To solve this as efficiently as possible, our service coordinator found out that that part is available in the warehouse in Hsinchu. The service coordinator sent a request to the logistics department. The logistics assistant personally delivered the part to a bus station, and once the bus arrived at Tainan, the site leader personally collected it and gave it to the FSE in the field. This, to me a perfect example of teamwork and willingness to do what it takes to provide excellent service, despite various challenges.
Throughout your career, what has been your biggest achievement or moment of pride at Nova?
Working with highly demanding customers is my team’s day-to-day challenge. I’m very proud that we received an award of excellence from TSMC, for a project we were all very dedicated to, which allowed us to launch our product on a very tight schedule.
Even our CEO came for a visit and to be part of the award ceremony.
Are there any funny or memorable anecdotes from your time at Nova that you can share with us?
We held a big team meeting with all employees from Asia-Pacific in Thailand including our CEO. The dinner was on a beach, the atmosphere was great and after a few rounds of drinks, we started to throw each other to the sea; managers and CEO included. We felt like a family.
As Nova Taiwan celebrates its 20th anniversary, what do you envision for the future of the office and its contribution to the semiconductor industry?
In the semiconductor arena, Taiwan is a significant player. With numerous major semiconductor manufacturers operating for more than two decades, these facilities have a strong presence. Our Nova Taiwan office strategically collaborates with clients, engaging in close interactions with diverse partners daily. Valuable insights are gained from our customers, providing a deep understanding of their unique needs, process intricacies, and how Nova can effectively contribute to process monitoring.
As technology nodes continue to decrease in size each passing year, the complexity of process challenges intensifies. This prompts customers to measure a higher volume of wafers to gain a comprehensive grasp of process conditions. While this presents growth opportunities for Nova, it also brings forth significant challenges. Can our technology adequately meet the demands of our customers? This question acts as a driving force, urging Nova to consistently enhance our tools and capabilities, enabling us to effectively assist customers in overcoming intricate process issues.
From the start, I've always envisioned a promising future for Nova Taiwan, and I remain steadfast in that belief.
Lastly, what makes Nova Taiwan special to you, and what excites you the most about being part of the Nova family?
Nova Taiwan is special to me because it's like a family. Everyone is friendly and supportive, and we all work together to achieve common goals. I'm excited to be part of the Nova family because I know that I'm surrounded by talented and passionate people. I'm also excited to see what the future holds for Nova Taiwan. I believe that we have the potential to do great things.