The father of flash memory
George Perlegos is the founder of ATMEL Corporation and the inspired businessman who developed flash memory.
When George was 12, the Perlegos family left Tegea and relocated to the district of Lodi in California in 1962. Back in Greece, his father used to work as a farmer and later continued to grow vines and produce wine in the United States.
Perlegos received his BSEE degree from San Jose State University after abandoning his childhood dreams of studying medicine. Before concluding his studies, he started working for American Microsystems and later received his MSEE degree from Stanford University, while working for Intel.
For 10 years, Perlegos had engaged in research on storage devices and eventually built flash memory, currently known and used as memory card.
In 1981, he resigned from his Intel duties and together with 4 young scientists he founded Seeq Technology. The results of his research boosted the company’s value and also assisted in the implementation of innovative inventions, like the aircraft black box. One year later, Perlegos resigned from Seeq Technology, following the company’s stock market listing.
In 1984, he built his own company ATMEL Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of computer microchips, after mortgaging his family fortune. ATMEL Corporation’s value exceeded $2 million, with international affiliates and over 10,000 employees. ATMEL Corporation was a pioneer in building wireless Internet devices.
“It was always my dream and my parents’ dream that we finish school and go on to do something different , so I left everything behind”, Perlegos remarked in a former interview.