Our Leadership

Our leadership team has deep industry experience, over 150 years combined. Their expertise drives our business and allows us to create and supply the best products to our customers.

Kent Ridgeway 

Founder and CEO – Desert Silicon, Inc.

Kent Ridgeway has several decades of experience founding companies in the manufacturing of electronic materials and developing processes for the microelectronics industry. Kent’s area of expertise includes performing services as diverse as teaching the CIA to make integrated circuits, to supplying materials and services to Government Labs some of which include NASA, Lawrence Livermore, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Naval Research Labs, NREL, and Wright Patterson AFB. Kent previously established a joint venture (Kawasaki Semiconductor Technology), in Fukui Japan to develop 300mm production processes and equipment in Class 1 clean room environment.

He founded his first company in 1984 (Silica Source Technology Corp.), a supplier of prototype and small lot custom microchip and sensor device products for research and universities. From 1979-1984, Kent was involved in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices such as APD, PIN, CCD, MOS, CAT scan, Thyristor, Diode, Transistor, MEMS, mercury gas detectors, and gold doped integrated circuits in products as diverse as High reliability heart pacer circuits to video game chips to military devices. Device manufacturing experience was obtained in positions with Tegal Corporation (a Motorola subsidiary), GTE Microcircuits, and Hughes Aircraft Company. Kent began his career in1971 at Motorola Semiconductor Research and Development Labs working on development of laser assisted diffusion, large diameter wafer thermal stress studies, first microprocessor controlled diffusion in the industry, and many other type of semiconductor fab processes. Kent has a degree in Chemistry, is a member of ECS, and has taught Microelectronic Technology classes at ASU.

Phil C.S. Yin, Ph.D. 

Executive Vice President & General Manager
Board Director

Dr. Yin has recently joined the Desert Silicon team to provide his expertise in taking the company to the “next level”, specifically in sales revenues, structure, industry exposure, and credibility.

Dr. Yin has a distinguished career in the semiconductor and compound semiconductor, materials and equipment industry having served as Chairman and CEO of AXT, Inc., President of Epitaxial Services Division of ATMI, Inc., General Manager for North America of AIXTRON, Inc., and most recently as VP/GM – China Operations for ARC Energy, Inc. Prior to this he held senior level positions at Crysteco, and Mitsubishi Silicon America. He also held positions with Monsanto Electronics Materials, and IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Dr. Yin received his B.S. in Physics from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in Material Science from Polytechnical Institute of New York University.

Carlos (Charlie) Garcia 

Director of Operations

Charlie Garcia joined Desert Silicon in April, 2013 to assist the owner and CEO in providing added capability to grow the business. He was promoted to Operations manager in February, 2014 and was tasked with the manufacturing of spin on glass products and shipping products, including silicon, GaAs and quartz wafers to customers. In addition, he provided custom processing of wafers with a variety of thin films. Prior to joining Desert Silicon, Charlie was employed by Honeywell Aerospace from July, 2008 to Jun, 2009. He provided engineering review and documentation of the assembly processes for avionics transferring from Arizona to overseas manufacturing facilities. Charlie was employed by Motorola and its subsidiaries for 34 years from March, 1974 to May, 2008, when he retired. His experiences ranged from plasma process development to silicon wafer processing and device, product, and assembly engineering. While with Motorola he traveled to manufacturing facilities in Malaysia, Korea, China and France. Charlie has a BIS in business and communication from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.

David (Dave) Johnston 

Facilities and Equipment Operations Manager

Dave Johnston joined Desert Silicon in June, 2015 to provide facilities upgrade and equipment engineering support to allow the business to grow with increased capabilities. Dave was tasked with improvement of the site facilities and installation of new equipment. Additionally, Dave brought wafer bonding equipment and process capabilities. Prior to joining Desert Silicon Dave was employed by GTAT as a senior process engineer to support the sapphire growth facility in Mesa, Arizona. Dave was also employed at Intel where he supported the metrology area for both 200mm and 300mm factories in Chandler Az. Dave was also employed by Motorola for 29 years where his experiences included Epi R&D, MEMS manufacturing, variety of PVD films, equipment engineering activities and management of Process Section and Maintenance Department. During his tenure at Motorola Dave traveled to Korea, Germany, Holland and various Motorola facilities in the US. Dave received his BSEE from Templeton University and Masters in Project Management from George Washington University.

James D. Rall, Ph.D.

Technical Advisor

Dr. Rall joined the Desert Silicon team in 2013 as the lead scientist. He has developed custom spin coating processes to specific customer requirements by adjusting the growth conditions and chemical formulations to obtain varying thicknesses and film characteristics. Since 2015 Dr. Rall has been a scientific consultant for Desert Silicon and has been involved with product management and developing new products being incorporated into technology-oriented markets including semiconductor devices, solar cells, and optical devices. Dr. Rall received his BS in chemistry, physics, and mathematics from Northern Arizona University and his PhD in physics from West Virginia University where he studied magnetic nanoparticle synthesis and characterization. He has also taught physics and math at Northern Arizona University and various community colleges around the country.


Quality Systems & Assurance Manager

Awarded for improving efficiency and reducing costs through proficient implementation and improvement of manufacturing techniques, and now leading ISO Documentation, Compliance and Certification at Desert Silicon: Formerly Quality Assessor with Global Foundries Silicon and Quality Systems Manager at Semigrind Corp.
Bill has had many roles as Mechanical Engineer, Process Integration Engineer, Sr. Process Integration Engineer, Sr. Technologist, Process Transfer Engineer with company’s such as L3 Communications, Global Communications Semiconductor , Microsemi Corp, & Motorola/On Semi including Domestic & International facilities.

US Navy veteran, Operation Deep Freeze, Antarctica
National Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award recipient
Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering DeVry Institute of Technology,


Board Advisor

Founder, ATMI, Inc., Director of Clean Harbors
Environmental (CLH), and Cognex Corporation (CGNX)

Gene Banucci founded ATMI, Inc. and served as CEO and/or Chairman/Director from 1986 to 2014. He, along with the founding team of scientists, had a vision of creating a preeminent semiconductor materials company. The company went public in 1993 with only $7 million in revenues, and grew to over $400 million annual revenues due to an aggressive technology development and M&A strategy. In mid-2014, the Company was acquired by Entegris Corporation for approximately $1.2B.

Prior to starting ATMI, Gene served as Vice President for American Cyanamid’s Chemical Research Division, where he directed more than 900 scientists and engineers in new product research and development for this $1.4 billion unit. Previously, he was with General Electric Company for over 10 years in a variety of management positions at the Corporate R&D Center and GE Plastics. He was a key contributor to the invention of Ultem® thermoplastics, which is now a major product for the successor to GE Plastics.

Gene believes strongly in promoting technology and education and has served as a member of the Board of the Program on Innovation and Technology of the National Academy of Sciences, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Beloit College. Since stepping down as CEO of ATMI in 2005, he has served as a Director of over a dozen organizations, primarily leading edge technology corporations. Presently he is Lead Director of Clean Harbors (NYSE: CLH), a $3B environmental services company. He is also a Director and Governance Chair for Cognex Corporation (Nasdaq: CGNX), a supplier of machine visions tools. Dr. Banucci also serves as President of the Banucci Family Foundation. He received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Wayne State University, and his BA in Chemistry from Beloit College. Gene holds 22 issued U.S. patents and is the author of numerous published articles. Gene was awarded the Connecticut Medal of Technology in October of 2006 and was inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Sciences in 2007. Gene and his wife Phyllis have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. They reside in Scottsdale, AZ.