Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Two Silicon Valley Tech Pioneers Receive the 2008 Founders Award

Silicon Valley pioneers Robert Goff MBA’77 and Brad Mattson MBA ’89 were named the recipients of our 2008 Founders Awards at the CIE Founders Club Banquet in October. Selected from nominations of outstanding Santa Clara alumni, the recipients are recognized for their significant contributions toward advancing the region’s business community and the ideal of enterprise for the common good.
Nominated by Larry and Amber Henninger, Goff was honored by the Kauffmann Foundation's Angel Capital Association as the inaugural recipient of the Hans Severiens Award in 2005. His career encompasses management of high technology growth companies, technology commercialization and venture capital investment. A passionate advocate for the role of collaboration in business success, he first experienced its power as a youngster in rural northwest Missouri, setting up and running a profitable livestock operation that later funded his university studies in engineering. Today, after more than 30 years of marketing and senior executive experience, including bringing three semiconductor product companies from lab to industry leadership, his belief in collaboration continues.
“Thoughtfully conceived and diligently implemented, collaboration is intrinsically synergistic,” says Goff. “What I’ve found is that the mutuality of realized benefits and full trust among partners are imperative to successful results.”
A Nevada resident, Goff is founder and chairman of the Sierra Angels which provides venture capital to early stage technology companies in the region, has recently co-founded and is vice-chairman of the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization (NIREC) to apply entrepreneurial techniques to bi-state research university technology projects, and serves on a number of boards. He earned his MBA from Santa Clara (with membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society) and has completed additional executive education at Stanford University.
Mattson, nominated for the Founders Award by SCU’s Jim Koch, is a well-known entrepreneur and executive in the semiconductor equipment industry and was recognized as one of its Top 50 Most Influential People in 2005. Currently retired from active management, he was most recently chairman of Zoom (2007) and chairman of the board of Tegal Corporation (2004-2006). Previously, he was founder, CEO and chairman of both Mattson Technology and Novellus, and held various management, marketing and technical positions at Applied Materials and LFE Corporation.
Mattson’s experience in high-growth industries and startups has taught him a thing or two about the importance of risk management to business longevity and success. “The key to business opportunity in competitive markets is differentiation...It’s crucial, but its unfortunate side effect is risk,” says Mattson. “The more you differentiate, the more unknowns are encountered, and the more risk is assumed. Therefore, a major determinant of the success of a start-up is how this risk is handled.”
Mattson holds an MBA from Santa Clara and a BS in aeronautics from San Jose State University. He is an emeritus member of SCU’s Board of Regents, and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the University’s Center for Science, Technology and Society.
Be sure to read more valuable entrepreneurial advice from Robert Goff and Brad Mattson in the feature article on the right side of this page.  To learn more about our 2008 Founders Award winners, visit our Founders Club page
Interested in nominating an outstanding alumni entrepreneur for our 2009 awards, or joining SCU alumni and friends in the CIE Founders Club? Contact center director Kevin Holmes at 408-554-5753 or


Letters from the Winners

An open letter to entrepreneurs from each of our 2008 Founders Award Recipients

Bob Goff:  The Power of Collaboration

Brad Mattson: Risk Management 101

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