Dr. Roch-Chian Ho

Founder and CEO, Intertek Corporation
Founder and CEO, Amperor, Incorporated

PhD 1975

Roch-Chian Ho
It’s the living proof of the fact that it won’t work unless it works on the paper.
R. C. Ho was first attracted to Purdue by a telephone call from Professor C.L. Chen. Ho had just obtained his MSEE from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and was fascinated by the newest frontier at the time, the surface acoustic wave, or SAW.

"The many applications demonstrated today in the military and commercial products proved to be the vision of the research at the time," he says. Ho recalls that at Purdue he soon learned that "working toward the advanced degree under Professor Chen wasn’t all that fun." It was said that Chen, at his age and status, could still pass the PhD qualifying exam. Ho recalls that Professor Chen was not only quick and resourceful of mind, but also his car never seemed to leave the EE parking lot—even during the weekend. Ho quickly learned to have his wife, Joanna, watch for Professor Chen’s car before going home. Ho says that the many extra hours he spent on his studies shaped his work ethic. Like Professor Chen, he doesn’t consider himself any smarter than his fellow worker. He believes the willingness to go the extra mile has been able to put him ahead of the pack.
Ho fondly recalls other professors at Purdue and says that attending the EE program allowed him to develop in other areas which benefit him to this day. He remembers Professor Larry Ogborn as a great teacher who made him so confident on the electronic devices that he could do no wrong as a shining engineer during his first job as a development engineer with Hewlett Packard. Professsor P.M. Lin opened Ho’s eyes to the importance of the computer-aided design where theory and reality met. "It’s the living proof of the fact that it won’t work unless it works on the paper," he says. "The same idea carries into many disciplines."
In 1982, Ho returned to Taiwan where he founded and became the CEO of the Intertek Corporation which designs and manufactures automated testing systems. He is also the founder and CEO of Amperor Incorporated, which specializes in design and production of power supplies for desktop PCs and satellite communication sets and also makes portable and stand-alone AC/DC and DC/AC converters. The company now employs over 3,000 people worldwide in the United States, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, China, and Singapore; has sales revenues of $120 million; and is a major supplier for Compaq, HP, Scientific Atlanta, and Lexmark. It also makes power supply units for European customers. Amperor’s U.S. headquarters is in Houston, Texas; its manufacturing facility is in Shenzhen, PRC; and its corporate offices are located in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition, Amperor has offices in Scotland and Singapore.
Ho remembers that he and his wife Joanna spent the most wonderful time of their lives at Purdue, where she studied at the Krannert School of Business. After Joanna’s death two years ago, Ho returned to the West Lafayette campus "to search for our past" after having been away for 27 years. He stayed with Professor Chen and revisited the Ross Ade one-bedroom married student apartment where he and Joanna had lived. It all came back like yesterday, Ho reflects, except he no longer has Joanna to watch for Professor Chen’s car.
As the CEO of two companies, Ho remains actively involved in defining the new products and exploring the new directions. He spends most of his current time working from various satellite offices around the world. He manages to spend time with his sister’s family and Joanna’s families. He also generously contributes to the Lung Cancer Research conducted by the National Taiwan University Hospital’s medical teams that provided Joanna with their best treatment during the most difficult time of Ho’s life.