Starting a typical hardware company is notoriously difficult and capital-intensive. Starting a micro-chip manufacturing company in Southern Oregon rather than in one of the major U.S. tech sectors proved to be an even greater challenge due to a lack of local engineering talent and the added complexity of tapping into the semiconductor supply change from afar. But none of that stopped Jessica Gomez, co-founder and CEO of Rogue Valley Microdevices, a MEMS foundry and silicon wafer fab based in Medford, Oregon.
Jessica’s journey to co-founding Rogue Valley Microdevices is a study in grit, strength and sheer determination. Growing up in the Long Island, NY area, Jessica negotiated an economically turbulent childhood and financed her own education. She got her first taste of Oregon at the age of 12 when her family moved to a rural part of Oregon for a period.
As a young adult, Jessica lived in Los Angeles for a time, but returned to Medford with husband Pat Kayatta to launch their company.
It was a rocky start, however. At the age of 25, Jessica and Pat worked 12- to 15-hour days when they were getting started, taking turns sleeping at the company to keep the equipment running smoothly. From bootstrapping the purchase of their manufacturing equipment to getting creative about hiring, Jessica and Pat now have a full-fledged advanced manufacturing facility, staffed by a knowledgeable and reliable team dedicated to collaborative customer relationships, and to producing superior MEMS devices and silicon wafers.
Oregon Business recently featured Jessica’s “rogue” start in co-founding Rogue Valley Microdevices, proving that a company with an unconventional beginning can succeed despite the odds.