CEO Talk: Gord Harling, CMC Microsystems

This interview was held with Gord Harling, President with CMC Microsystems.



Tell me a bit about your background? How did you first get started with CMC Microsystems?


I spent 10 years in R&D with large telecom/semiconductor companies, 20 years of start-ups and now working in not-for-profits.


Tell me about CMC Microsystems?


CMC Microsystems is a not-for-profit organization managing Canada’s National Design Network®.  CMC reduces barriers to technology adoption by creating and sharing platform technologies. We facilitate technology research in over 60 Canadian universities and colleges and we have programs to support commercial start-ups.


When did you start CMC Microsystems? What were you doing before that?


CMC was founded in 1984. I took over the CEO role in 2018 after more than 30 years in industry.


How was the role/offering of CMC Microsystems changed during the recent years?


We offer more and more effective cost-sharing of CAD tool licenses, fabrication access and laboratory equipment. We have a much wider range of product offerings now supporting AI, machine learning, quantum computing and technologies for the internet’s edge.


Did any of the market consolidation (or acquisition) affected your business and how?


We have less impact on large companies where cost-savings are less important.


Which market segment seems promising to you? And why?


The core technologies we support – AI, microelectronics, photonics, MEMS and quantum all feed into products for IoT at the internet’s edge.


What is a typical customer for CMC Microsystems?


Academic researchers building nanotechnology or microsystem hardware, we serve researchers in many countries and have a broad offering for smaller start-up companies.


Customers are focused on time-to-market, first-time-right, price, etc. Do you see a change in customer behaviour in recent years? Where is the focus today and why?


We are seeing a lot of life in older, more mature processes. Customers are starting to fill in gaps in product lines with very cost-effective processes. Although the demand for leading edge process technology in research is still alive  the cost of implementing a design is a strong barrier.


What are the 3 top things you wish your customers would do better (or different)?


We have frequent design submission dates but customers still miss the submission deadline and are pushed to the next run.

Export control paperwork is increasingly difficult an has to be treated with care.

Send more business.


Are you currently hiring? What type of jobs?


Yes. We are hiring. For current openings interested individuals should visit our web site at https://www.cmc.ca/careers/


Where can one find more information?


Please visit our web site for more information: https://www.cmc.ca/


What is the best moment in your day?


That moment mid-morning when I have cleared all the new e-mails and can work on longer term projects.


How do you keep yourself energized and engaged during the day?


My job touches on so many aspects of technology that I am constantly enthused.


What is your preferred lunch discussion topic?


I don’t typically eat lunch


How do you spend your time outside working hours?


With my wife and 5 children, doing non-technological things.

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