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Cymer puts people and pledges to work for nonprofits

Tech company’s charitable giving benefits variety of organizations

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Cymer Inc. (Nasdaq: CYMI) employees are expected to be aces at technology, but also altruistic in the community. The San Diego-based company offers funding and volunteers to a number of local nonprofits in the areas of health, culture, civic, education and environment.

Blake Miller, vice president of marketing for Cymer, said in a recent interview that the company’s employees in San Diego and beyond recognize the inherent value of giving back, even if there’s not an obvious business advantage.

“It’s just part of the company culture, and part of being an engaged public citizen,” Miller said. “I think it makes your employees proud to work at a company that does that.”

Ed Brown, Cymer’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement provided to The Daily Transcript that Cymer is “dedicated to being a valued corporate citizen and partner in support of a variety of programs throughout San Diego that promote the core values of our organization where our employees and their families work and live.”

Cymer employees at this year's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event hosted by the American Cancer Society. The local tech company donates to a wide variety of charities and causes, and encourages its staff to volunteer in the community. Photo courtesy of Cymer.

The annual San Diego Zoo Food & Wine Celebration is one of the most popular charitable events for Cymer’s staff, according to Miller. About 150 Cymer employees attend the late-September gala, which benefits the zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research.

The most recent San Diego Zoo Food & Wine Celebration was Cymer’s sixth as presenting sponsor. Cymer doesn’t disclose the exact sum it contributes as part of the sponsorship, but the company has reportedly given some $4 million since 2006 to San Diego nonprofits.

The San Diego Zoo is of particular interest to Cymer because chief executive officer Bob Akins is a “real animal lover,” said Miller, and because the zoo uniquely embraces science and technology to conserve animals, plants and habitats around the world. For instance, the zoo is able to use miniaturized electronic devices to safely track the habits of its animals, from migratory birds to rodents.

“We see ourselves as a technology enabler,” Miller said. “Our technology allows the zoo to do what they need to do to improve or enhance the species.”

Cymer makes light sources used in the photolithography process of semiconductor manufacturing. According to Cymer officials, almost every modern consumer electronic device -- from computers to smart phones to appliances and cars -- contains a semiconductor manufactured using a Cymer light source.

“It’s a safe bet to say Cymer is inside the vast majority of devices out there,” said Miller. “You’ve heard of ‘Intel Inside’? We’re inside Intel.”

Beyond its work for the San Diego Zoo, Cymer has been a major sponsor for events including ArtWalk in Little Italy and San Diego County Office of Education’s “Salute to Teachers.” Cymer endowed two chairs at University of California, San Diego, where Cymer’s two founders attended grad school in the 1980s.

Earlier this year, Cymer unveiled its Cymer Computer Clubhouse at the Mission Valley YMCA. The after-school space is equipped with professional-quality electronics including 16 computers for creating videos, music and art.

Cymer employees also participate in a number of fundraising walks throughout the year, benefiting programs that support research for AIDS, arthritis, various cancers, cerebral palsy and juvenile diabetes. “It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding,” Miller said.

Cymer will also match donations made by employees. “We can’t support every nonprofit, so we encourage our employees to support the nonprofits that matter to them, and we match that gift,” said Miller.

Cymer has about 700 employees in San Diego, and does most of its charitable work here. But with locations worldwide, the technology company has found ways to give back abroad. In Taiwan, Cymer staff held a beach cleanup day. In Singapore, they held a breast cancer fun run. In South Korea, Cymer employees participated in a Habitat for Humanity event. In Japan, Cymer helped with a Mount Fuji cleanup. A recycling event was held in China, and Cymer donated science cabinets to schools in the Netherlands.

McEntee is a San Diego-based freelance writer.

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Cymer Inc.

Company Website

17075 Thornmint Ct.
San Diego, CA 92127

Cymer Inc. Executive(s):

Robert Akins

  • Chief Executive Officer

Edward Brown

  • Chief Operating Officer, President

Richard Sandstrom

  • Co-Founder

Paul Bowman

  • Chief Financial Officer

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