Kenneth Levy is Chairman Emeritus of KLA-Tencor Corporation. Levy has been associated with the semiconductor capital equipment industry for more than 30 years.
After receiving his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering and spending six years in the aerospace simulation field, Levy joined the startup team at Computervision Corporation. He was responsible for Computervision's entry into the semiconductor capital equipment industry through their Cobilt Division.
Levy founded KLA Instruments Corporation in 1975. Under his leadership, KLA came to dominate new market areas in the semiconductor manufacturing instrumentation field innovating technologies in areas such as photomask and reticle inspection, wafer defect inspection, wafer metrology, and yield management software.
KLA Instruments and Tencor Instruments merged in 1997. Presently, KLA-Tencor is a multi-billion dollar company that is the world leader in process control solution for the semiconductor manufacturing and related industries.
In addition, Mr. Levy serves as a director emeritus on the board of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Institute (SEMI) and as a board member of Extreme Networks. He also serves on the boards of several privately-held companies.
In recognition of his many contributions to the industry, Mr. Levy has received numerous awards, including the "SEMI" Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International award in the area of wafer fabrication, the SEMI Lifetime Achievement award, the Harvard Business School Association "Entrepreneur of the Year" award, and elected membership in the National Academy of Engineering, "for the development and commercialization of automated inspection systems for the semiconductor industry."[ Return to Top ]
1938 – 1991
Karel Urbanek founded Tencor Instruments, which merged with KLA Instruments in 1997 to form what is today the fourth largest semiconductor capital equipment supplier—KLA-Tencor.
After graduating from the Charles University Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in 1963, Urbanek immigrated to the United States from Prague, Czechslovakia. He spent a short time at MIT’s Lincoln Labs in Cambridge before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, where, after five years at Varian Associates, he founded Randex, Inc.—a maker of sputtering equipment for semiconductor manufacturing. In 1976, Urbanek founded Tencor Instruments, which provided measurement and process control equipment for the manufacture of semiconductor chips.
In 1977, seven months after the company’s inception, Tencor Instruments introduced its first product, the Alpha-Step™. Seven years later, Tencor Instruments launched Surfscan™, a product that detects particles on wafers, which continues to be a part of KLA-Tencor’s leading defect detection product portfolio today. Urbanek continued his leadership of the thriving company as its CEO and Chairman of the Board until his untimely death in 1991.
In 1986, Urbanek became a member of the SEMI board of directors and later vice chairman and member of the executive committee of the board. Urbanek was a dedicated leader of the SEMI International Standards Program, which continues to be a cornerstone of the semiconductor industry. The Karel Urbanek Award, established in 1992, is the most prestigious honor for participants in the SEMI International Standards Program. It is presented regularly to outstanding program members who uphold and further Urbanek’s contributions to the development of standards for the semiconductor and related microelectronics industries.[ Return to Top ]