Jerry and RF Micro gives back? Or do they?

You know what gets me? The latest community information on RF Micro and Jerry Neal. I’m sure he’s a great guy and all and RF Micro has employed many in the Triad region. It’s even a chip maker, of which you don’t see many now anywhere except for in the Texas area.
What bothers me though are a couple facts that have popped up and I put two plus two together.


  • RF Micro has not really been in the spotlight of community efforts even though we kick back tax breaks and other incentives to that corporation. If anyone even bothers to mention VentureGSO, I swear I’ll beat them across the head with a bat. Any level headed person can read that and know that it’s an ad to sell Jerry Neal’s book. Wrote about that program before. Nothing wrong with selling his book, mind you, but the way it (VentureGSO) was set up had very little to do with entrepeneurship.
  • Rambling Prose went to visit Jerry’s house in Randolph County. I’m very glad that he did, and everyone is probably in awe over the 32,000 sq. feet except for myself. Why? Growing up in Seattle, even Paul Allen’s house was 32,000 sq. feet and he was only across the island. My next door neighbors didn’t have 32,000 sq. ft. WHAT THE HECK do you need 32,000 square feet FOR? It’s like building the Biltmore Estate on your property just because you can. Not to mention, again. If you have that much to build a huge house with, where’s your community effort? I see the kick-backs and tax breaks, but I sure don’t see much in the proactive, action arena. Maybe I’m wrong? But show the proof.

I guess I’m just frustrated as a person. I do everything in my power to try to make Greensboro a better place because I do see so much potential and I’m sure everyone is in agreement that it is a great city to live in, regardless of the details you do or do not agree with currently. But large corporations such as Dell in Winston-Salem, RF Micro, and others seem to stand in the background when it comes to community efforts and making our city bigger and better. I know that VF Corporation participates in the Business Journal awards, but even so, there’s not much in the hands-on efforts.
Wow me, large corporate entities of Greensboro. Small businesses seem to be a more of part of the community than yourselves. Believe me, I’m totally commited to this city and making it a better place. It’s why my current employer knows about my community work, my manager applaudes it, and I’m involved from the time I get up from the time I get up to the time I go to bed.
Where are your commitments? Perhaps I bring a cynical perspective and I don’t know everything since I don’t admit to knowing everything that goes on….
But PROVE ME WRONG.
UPDATE (11:55AM): Mr. Sun proved me wrong on the Linbrook Hall. I thought Linbrook Hall was a house, but in fact it’s a charity event place. BUT, every charity he pointed out so far really has no base in Greensboro. Victory Junction Camp is a camp outside of Greensboro (Randleman) while St. Jude’s is well-known Children’s hospital that is based in Memphis. Since it wasn’t clear to Mr. Sun where I was going with this, I’d figure I’ll spell it out:
RF Micro headquartered in Greensboro. So far, all charity events that I’ve been told about have had nothing to do with this community. That’s great! I suppose I can’t expect much. But I also serve Greensboro, even though I spend half my time in Winston-Salem. My base of operations for my business is in Greensboro. Show me the Greensboro charities/functions that RF Micro is involved in and I’ll shut my trap. Like I said before, I don’t have the largest scope of things, but I am involved. It’d be nice to know that the company that is getting tax breaks and other benefits from this city, is actually giving back to the city itself.
Thanks Mr. Sun for pointing out my misinformation! I also apologize for parts of the misinformed post. But realize that from where I stand, it’s tiring and tough, and I’m starting to get weary. For example, did you know that the city of Winston-Salem has put $18.9 million tax payer money into Dell. Are the jobs worth it? Perhaps, but that’s a lot of money among the plethora of kick-backs. I hope those of you out there and Mr. Sun can see that this is the only place I can vent my frustration.
UPDATE (1:21PM): It is a house. Hrm. Still bugs me then. Kind of like the way Bill Gates’ house bugs me.
UPDATE (9/19 8:24AM): Jerry Bledsoe puts some more facts into perspective. In regards to VentureGSO, I know that Jerry Neal was probably approached by the Greensboro Library about it and it would probably have something to do with a book. Library and book, see the connection? What bugs me is how it was set up and how it really has nothing to do with entrepeneurship. Not the book mind you, but the other side of it. This is one of the reasons I’ve been speaking to some folks about the way Triad InternNet Initiative needs to change. I’ll post on that more when I’m done meeting with some people.
I’d like to thank Jerry [Bledsoe] for pointing out the Habitat projects. That does put some things into perspective ALTHOUGH the whole hiring that he points out is something that RFMD should do anyways if they’re based here. Otherwise, at least “1” charity/nonprofit was pointed out. Hmm. If they have a fabrication lab here, I wonder if they’re 4″ or 8″ wafers.
Definitely an eye-opener about the Neals, Linbrook Hall, and RFMD. In the end, I definitely learned a lot more between Jerry and Mr. Sun, but I’m sticking to what I said before. Where’s the community effort? I’ve seen more from mom & pop businesses than what is mentioned. I know of efforts from larger corporations from larger corporations than RFMD that you would cry if you knew the people involved. I’m surprised that there really is no internal push from senior management to set up some sort of RF Micro Foundation or a strong inside push for employees to donate time to charitable events, especially since they’re (Neals) are so dedicated to the St. Jude’s and Victory Junction cause.
Don’t get me wrong. With what I’m told, I believe that it’s great what the Neals are doing. I think RFMD is a great corporation. In the end, I’d just like to see more efforts not only from just business perspectives, but also give back to the community in other ways as official efforts by the corporation. Jerry (Neal) could make that happen. So could Bob Bruggeworth, or any number of other senior management staff. One suggestion: set up an RFMD Foundation as the nonprofit arm of RFMD.
My best to the Neals, and continue on being one of the strong corporate arms of Greensboro, RFMD. However, from one tired person to the rest, I hope that at least some of my wishes could be heard.

  • Mr. Sun

    Ben — The Neals built “Linbrook Hall” so large in part for the express purpose of hosting charitable events. They had Percy Sledge over there and raised around $50,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. I read where the Neals have committed to leaving Linbrook Hall *to charity* upon death as a gift to the community. I know Neal established an endowment of over a million dollars for kids diseases at St. Jude’s hospital. I think you are way off base here and are obligated to know diddly about what you are talking about before making a post like this.

  • Mr. Sun

    Ben — The Neals built “Linbrook Hall” so large in part for the express purpose of hosting charitable events. They had Percy Sledge over there and raised around $50,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. I read where the Neals have committed to leaving Linbrook Hall *to charity* upon death as a gift to the community. I know Neal established an endowment of over a million dollars for kids diseases at St. Jude’s hospital. I think you are way off base here and are obligated to know diddly about what you are talking about before making a post like this.

  • Mr. Sun

    Ben – Yikes, stick to your guns a little. Linbrook Hall *is* a house — they just gave it that name and built it that huge *in part* to hold charitable events. I wouldn’t say I proved you wrong yet. Jerry Bledsoe worked with Neal to write about it and I remember a Maria Johnson article I read in some real estate magazine I read somehwere. You’re not proved completely wrong yet, not by me at least.

  • Mr. Sun

    Ben – Yikes, stick to your guns a little. Linbrook Hall *is* a house — they just gave it that name and built it that huge *in part* to hold charitable events. I wouldn’t say I proved you wrong yet. Jerry Bledsoe worked with Neal to write about it and I remember a Maria Johnson article I read in some real estate magazine I read somehwere. You’re not proved completely wrong yet, not by me at least.

  • Jerry Bledsoe

    Ben,
    Let me state up front that I can稚 and don稚 speak for RF Micro Devices or Jerry and Linda Neal, and neither the company nor the Neals know that I am writing this. But I may be able to clear up some facts here.
    First, VentureGSO was conceived by the Greensboro Library and planned by the Library and Action Greensboro. Jerry Neal and RF Micro Devices had nothing to do with it other than agreeing to participate when the proposal was presented to them. The idea, as I understood it, was to use the story told in the book about how a local company started from nothing and achieved great success in just a few years to attempt to inspire others to take such chances. I知 told that the recent event, at which Jerry spoke, was considered to be very successful. I know that he has gotten good feedback from it.
    The company can speak for itself about its contributions to Greensboro. I know they are many. RF Micro employees, led by former CEO Dave Norbury, have been greatly involved with Habitat for Humanity in Greensboro. The company has worked with the engineering school at A&T; to attempt to increase interest in electronic engineering among students there. Just to mention a couple of things of which I am aware.
    The greatest contribution the company makes to Greensboro is simply being here and attracting some of the best minds in the world to live and work here. The original investors thought the company should be elsewhere, but the three founders fought to keep it here.
    The incentives and tax breaks the company has received have been paltry compared to those given to Dell and others. When the company built its first fab, other areas offered far greater incentives. Singapore practically promised to build the plant and hand it to them if they would put it there. They built it in Greensboro because they thought it should be here. The very presence of RF Micro in this area has done much to attract other technology companies.
    Remember that just a few years ago, RFMD was a small company, too. Now it is one of the largest employers in the county with one of the highest pay scales, adding tremendously to the local economy. I think you also will find that it is one of the countyç—´ biggest taxpayers.
    Linbrook Hall has nothing to do with RF Micro. It is Linda and Jerry Nealç—´ contribution to the Randolph County community where he and his family have lived for many generations. They built the house to be used for charitable purposes.
    As I posted at Ramblin� Prose, the Neals are devout Quakers and they particularly want to use Linbrook for two charities in which they are deeply involved, St. Jude痴 Children痴 Hospital and Victory Junction Gang Camp for gravely ill children. Both are open to people in Greensboro, as well as other other areas.
    Jerry and Linda intend to leave the house to charity and hope that it will forever continue to be used for that purpose. They don稚 live there, but it is their house, and they hold open the option of living in a portion of it if they choose.
    They get no tax breaks or kickbacks for the house. They allow it to be used at no charge for charitable events such as the one Herb at Ramblin� Prose wrote about. As I understand it, the only deduction for which they are eligible is the cost of utilities for the number of hours that the event was held as charitable contribution.
    I知 sorry that you have such a dark and cynical view of a company that is contributing greatly to this community and of two of the most caring and generous people that I致e ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think your heart is in the right place and I hope that someday you may contribute as much.

  • Jerry Bledsoe

    Ben,
    Let me state up front that I can稚 and don稚 speak for RF Micro Devices or Jerry and Linda Neal, and neither the company nor the Neals know that I am writing this. But I may be able to clear up some facts here.
    First, VentureGSO was conceived by the Greensboro Library and planned by the Library and Action Greensboro. Jerry Neal and RF Micro Devices had nothing to do with it other than agreeing to participate when the proposal was presented to them. The idea, as I understood it, was to use the story told in the book about how a local company started from nothing and achieved great success in just a few years to attempt to inspire others to take such chances. I知 told that the recent event, at which Jerry spoke, was considered to be very successful. I know that he has gotten good feedback from it.
    The company can speak for itself about its contributions to Greensboro. I know they are many. RF Micro employees, led by former CEO Dave Norbury, have been greatly involved with Habitat for Humanity in Greensboro. The company has worked with the engineering school at A&T to attempt to increase interest in electronic engineering among students there. Just to mention a couple of things of which I am aware.
    The greatest contribution the company makes to Greensboro is simply being here and attracting some of the best minds in the world to live and work here. The original investors thought the company should be elsewhere, but the three founders fought to keep it here.
    The incentives and tax breaks the company has received have been paltry compared to those given to Dell and others. When the company built its first fab, other areas offered far greater incentives. Singapore practically promised to build the plant and hand it to them if they would put it there. They built it in Greensboro because they thought it should be here. The very presence of RF Micro in this area has done much to attract other technology companies.
    Remember that just a few years ago, RFMD was a small company, too. Now it is one of the largest employers in the county with one of the highest pay scales, adding tremendously to the local economy. I think you also will find that it is one of the countyç—´ biggest taxpayers.
    Linbrook Hall has nothing to do with RF Micro. It is Linda and Jerry Nealç—´ contribution to the Randolph County community where he and his family have lived for many generations. They built the house to be used for charitable purposes.
    As I posted at Ramblin� Prose, the Neals are devout Quakers and they particularly want to use Linbrook for two charities in which they are deeply involved, St. Jude痴 Children痴 Hospital and Victory Junction Gang Camp for gravely ill children. Both are open to people in Greensboro, as well as other other areas.
    Jerry and Linda intend to leave the house to charity and hope that it will forever continue to be used for that purpose. They don稚 live there, but it is their house, and they hold open the option of living in a portion of it if they choose.
    They get no tax breaks or kickbacks for the house. They allow it to be used at no charge for charitable events such as the one Herb at Ramblin� Prose wrote about. As I understand it, the only deduction for which they are eligible is the cost of utilities for the number of hours that the event was held as charitable contribution.
    I知 sorry that you have such a dark and cynical view of a company that is contributing greatly to this community and of two of the most caring and generous people that I致e ever had the pleasure of knowing. I think your heart is in the right place and I hope that someday you may contribute as much.

  • Sue

    Got it in the teeth, didja? Get in line 🙂

  • Sue

    Got it in the teeth, didja? Get in line 🙂

  • Nah. I’ve thought about it, and I’m still holding. If you base in a community, then you should support that community. IBM supports Raleigh, and I believe so does RedHat. On the same scale, VF, Tangers, RFMD, etc. should also do so. But they mostly stick to themselves. Not that it’s bad, but I’m still not convinced. I definitely know Google, Yahoo, Flickr, and Microsoft all do things in their home bases.

  • darkmoon

    Nah. I’ve thought about it, and I’m still holding. If you base in a community, then you should support that community. IBM supports Raleigh, and I believe so does RedHat. On the same scale, VF, Tangers, RFMD, etc. should also do so. But they mostly stick to themselves. Not that it’s bad, but I’m still not convinced. I definitely know Google, Yahoo, Flickr, and Microsoft all do things in their home bases.

  • Tim Craver

    Three quick points:
    1. It’s his money.
    2. It’s his money.
    3. It’s his money.
    You have a lot of good ideas on things that can and probably should be supported. The problem is, you’re trying to spend someone else’s money. Would it matter if he turned Linbrook into the World’s largest chicken coop. Not to me. It’s his money.
    We all have in our minds the things WE would do if we had the assets! The error is when we decide that our plans and ideals should be funded by other people or companies that do have assets.
    The true process should be to present those ideas and convince the asset holders of the validity and benefit of those ideas. Then allow them to make up their own minds.
    If they agree with you, great!. If not, God bless them to go on with their lives and business.

  • Tim Craver

    Three quick points:
    1. It’s his money.
    2. It’s his money.
    3. It’s his money.
    You have a lot of good ideas on things that can and probably should be supported. The problem is, you’re trying to spend someone else’s money. Would it matter if he turned Linbrook into the World’s largest chicken coop. Not to me. It’s his money.
    We all have in our minds the things WE would do if we had the assets! The error is when we decide that our plans and ideals should be funded by other people or companies that do have assets.
    The true process should be to present those ideas and convince the asset holders of the validity and benefit of those ideas. Then allow them to make up their own minds.
    If they agree with you, great!. If not, God bless them to go on with their lives and business.

  • Very true. But on the flip side of things… if this community is providing his businesses or Linbrook with tax breaks (whether for charity or not), then I for one would like to see some giving back also.
    I can’t dictate how or what he wants to do and he is already giving to some of the greatest national charities already (ie. St. Judes) of which I am grateful.
    I’m just saying that if the community that is giving to the corporation or himself, then I personally would like to see a 2-way street instead of a 1-way. Even if it’s only a little bit.

  • darkmoon

    Very true. But on the flip side of things… if this community is providing his businesses or Linbrook with tax breaks (whether for charity or not), then I for one would like to see some giving back also.
    I can’t dictate how or what he wants to do and he is already giving to some of the greatest national charities already (ie. St. Judes) of which I am grateful.
    I’m just saying that if the community that is giving to the corporation or himself, then I personally would like to see a 2-way street instead of a 1-way. Even if it’s only a little bit.

  • Tim Craver

    The problem there is the officials that approve it.

  • Tim Craver

    The problem there is the officials that approve it.

  • Yeah. *sigh* Well, you would hope that the corporation would be proactive about it. One can dream.
    It’s a lot easier to get things done from top-down though.
    Again, a lot of other major corporations around the Triad don’t really do the same. I’d hate to have RF be picked on, but it’s the one I know.

  • darkmoon

    Yeah. *sigh* Well, you would hope that the corporation would be proactive about it. One can dream.
    It’s a lot easier to get things done from top-down though.
    Again, a lot of other major corporations around the Triad don’t really do the same. I’d hate to have RF be picked on, but it’s the one I know.