Jeffrey Fisher

Senior Vice President, Graphics Processing Unit Business
NVIDIA Corporation
BSEE '80

For his superior achievements in the semiconductor industry and for his loyalty to and support of Purdue University

Jeffrey Fisher was in the right place at the right time when he landed in California after graduating from Purdue. It was 1980, the eve of the technology boom in Silicon Valley. He joined the revolution and, 29 years later, is still on board.

Fisher, an Indianapolis native, found his niche working with small semiconductor start-ups and helping them grow into public companies. He says he was attracted by "the opportunity to really contribute and steer not just product portfolio but also the business itself." His first position at an emerging company was with Adaptec, where he was in product marketing and one of 12 employees. From there, he moved to Weitek, with under 100 employees. He has been with NVIDIA since 1994.

"I like an adventure and love technology and its impact on the world," Fisher says of his attraction to small companies. "Start-ups thrive when the combination of an innovative product, a big market and a great team come together. For an individual, it requires a great deal of commitment and patience."

When Fisher joined NVIDIA as head of worldwide sales and its first salesperson, the company had about 24 employees and had yet to ship its first product. It is now a world leader in visual computing technologies and the inventor of the GPU, a high-performance processor that generates interactive graphics on workstations, personal computers, game consoles, and mobile devices. One of every three PCs and engineering workstations sold is powered by NVIDIA graphics, and the company's annual revenue tops $3 billion.

Fisher's electrical engineering background, paired with a business degree, allows him to understand the technical side of the operation and communicate fluently with its commercial side. In an industry in which the technology changes rapidly and businesses must recreate themselves constantly, about 70 percent of NVIDIA's employees are engineers involved in product design. Fisher's background is key to communicating effectively with co-workers and more importantly with customers, most of whom are engineers.

"NVIDIA operates in a very exciting space. We create some of the world's most complex devices, sold into the world's most dynamic market. The computer industry is constantly reinventing itself," Fisher says. "Engineering has taught me how to analyze and test assumptions in our market, set a plan, track progress and, most importantly, adapt quickly to environmental changes."

Although Fisher functions well in the high energy world of start-ups, he admits to having slowed down a bit to spend more time home with his family. In 2006, he stepped out of the worldwide travel demanded of sales, to assume a general management role responsible for NVIDIA's core business, PC graphics. He and his wife, Edie (BS '80, computer science), have three children, and he plays an active role on their school board.

He has also remained committed to Purdue, taking an active role on the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering's Advisory Council, helping recruit students from California, and bringing both a fellowship and curriculum enhancement to the school to add parallel processing to the undergraduate curriculum. He and his wife funded the Vehicle Systems Laboratory in the new Siang-Lang Wang Hall of Electrical and Computer Engineering now under construction.

2006-present Vice President, Graphics Processing Unit Business
NVIDIA Corporation
2006-present School of Electrical and Computer Engineering Advisory Council
1994-2006 Executive Vice President for Worldwide Sales
NVIDIA Corporation
1988-1994 Director of Worldwide Sales
Weitek Corp.
1984-1988 Sales Director
Adaptec, Inc.
1982-1984 Product Marketing
Synertek Corp.
1980-1982 System Engineering
Lockheed Missiles & Space Company

MBA '84, Santa Clara University
BSEE '80, Purdue University