Phil Rausch - Hemlock Semiconductor Operations - 2020 MFG Emerging Leader

Fresh out of college with a chemical engineering degree in 2008, it was pretty clear that Phil Rausch had the smarts to contribute to Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (HSC). Rausch’s rapid rise through the ranks at HSC has exposed him to many sides of the business. It’s valuable experience that now serves him well in his current business development role.

“When I started at HSC, we had a lot of farm fields and an ambitious plan to build a few billion dollars worth of assets to meet the growing demand that the company saw in solar energy,” says Rausch.

So, he set his sights and got to work.

“When I first started,” explains Rausch, “I worked on construction commissioning of those new assets. And I worked as a manufacturing team leader for the better part of five years in various different aspects of HSC.”

It was around that five-year mark that Rausch got the itch to do more on the business side of HSC. He also wanted to become a better leader. So, he went back to school, earning his MBA on weekends while remaining employed full-time at HSC.

“When I finished my MBA, I took a role as an economic evaluator on the finance team where I could cut my teeth learning the business side of our operations,” says Rausch.

In this role, Rausch got the opportunity to work with senior leadership on strategy and corporate development. From there, he moved on to leading the engineering department, working on capital and maintenance projects that helped ensure HSC continued to have a world-class operation.

“Now I’m working with end-market customers, ensuring they understand the additional value of choosing HSC materials in their solar projects,” says Rausch.

So, what is it about Rausch that drives him to get a little better every day? To him, it’s pretty simple.

“It’s a commitment to not only myself, but also to my teammates and coworkers…knowing that when we all strive to be better versions of ourselves, we make the company better.”

In Rausch’s view, this notion of steady improvement leads to job creation and a more successful company to work for. Which is vitally important because he truly feels that he, his teammates and HSC are on a mission to make the world a better place for future generations.

“One of the best things about working at HSC is having the opportunity to make the fundamental raw material for two industries that are changing the world,” states Rausch. “One being the electronics industry, especially during the pandemic, that connects us all virtually. And the other being solar, the energy source of the 21st century that will solve our climate change crisis.”

This isn’t just a job or even a career for this emerging leader. This is a calling to help change the world for the better.

And, for Rausch, the most impactful aspect of winning the MFG Emerging Leader Award is knowing that his co-workers had nominated him for it.

“To have the affirmation that you’re respected and appreciated by your coworkers adds to the pride that I have in working for HSC and our journey together,” says Rausch.

What’s next for Rausch and HSC? Rausch sees HSC becoming a recognized world leader in meeting the demands of the 21st century.

“What that means for us at HSC is that we get to show up for work on the front lines of delivering change,” Rausch says. “Expanding our business. Improving our community. And being a company that is sought after as an aspirational place to work because of what we do and how we do it.”

Through all the hard work and challenges, Rausch knows he’s in the right place when he tucks his kids in each night. Because he knows he’s contributing to a better future for them.

“This company gives me the opportunity to help refine the purest man-made substance in the world…a substance fundamental to the electronics that drive connectivity, as well as the solar electricity that will meet the energy and climate needs of the 21st century.”