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Samsung DSA Director of Sales Discusses Samsung’s Place in Silicon Valley

2/19/2024

Silicon Valley has experienced a lot of change in the 21st century. One person who has witnessed those changes firsthand is Steve Martin, Director of Sales at Samsung Device Solutions Americas (DSA) in San Jose, California. He’s been at Samsung since 2004 and has sold more types of semiconductor products than nearly anyone. As technology edges closer to an exciting new era defined by AI, Martin has direct knowledge of the role Samsung has played in the technology to this point and where it’s heading in the future.

“A Samsung Salesman”

Back when Martin started at Samsung, the company was manufacturing DDR1, its earliest DDR product. Now, Martin is selling Samsung’s latest product, DDR5, meaning he has seen five generations of DRAM technology.

steve-martin-samsung-device-solutions-america

Steve Martin at Samsung Device Solutions Americas (DSA).

Being at the company for that amount of time has had a major impact on Martin’s life; he could not imagine working anywhere else. “Samsung has supported not only my professional career, but also my personal life. I built my family over the last 19 years. Both of my daughters were born while I was at Samsung. My children grew up attending many events like Samsung picnics and holiday parties. My daughters only know me as ‘Dad’ and as a Samsung Salesman.”

Everything From PCs to AI Tech

Samsung Semiconductor first made its foray into the United States 41 years ago, when Samsung DSA was founded in San Jose in 1983. At that time, 64Kb DRAM — Samsung’s very first semiconductor product — went into development. Capacity expanded quickly as 256Kb DRAM and 1Mb DRAM were developed in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Nowadays, it is well-established that Samsung is a mainstay in Silicon Valley, with nearly 1,200 multinational employees working on semiconductor research & development, sales, and marketing.

samsung-dsa-offices-1983

The Samsung DSA offices in 1983, when they first opened.

As an industry leader, Samsung DSA works with a number of major tech companies. And right in the middle of it all is Steve Martin. Martin has built relationships with a wide range of technology companies that manufacture PCs, smartphones, game consoles, servers, cars and GPUs. Technology has transformed a great deal throughout his career, and Samsung has been providing customers with appropriate solutions as the market for IT applications has evolved. Martin speaks highly of Samsung’s role in the tech ecosystem as a motivating factor in him remaining with the company over the years. He said, “Samsung has always been the leader of memory technology and I have never wanted to work for another company since I joined.” He also expressed high praise for those he has worked with, as well, saying, “I have had the best managers over the years, and they have mentored me and allowed me to grow independently.”

Pushing Towards the AI Future With HBM

In the current tech landscape, Samsung is leading the way in High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) technology. It has been part of Martin’s portfolio of products since Samsung first introduced it to the market, and now, he is handling the latest iteration, HBM3. This is a crucial technology as it is one of the most promising solutions for bringing enhanced value to customers in the AI era. Back in 2016, Samsung was the first company to commercialize HBM2 for high performance computing (HPC), laying the foundation for today’s AI market. Now, Samsung is mass-producing HBM3 while sampling the next-generation product, HBM3E, with major customers. By fully utilizing proven technological capabilities garnered from years of mass-production experience — and based on partnerships with diverse customers — Samsung will continue to provide high-performing HBM to customers and expand to customized HBM solutions.

Steve Martin is well aware of the role that HBM is playing in the market. About the role the solution will play in the future, as well as Samsung’s position in the AI ecosystem, Martin said, “DSA will lead Samsung in the AI revolution. We see it happening now with 90% of HBM demand either being generated by Bay Area companies or having strong ties to Bay Area companies. By being the ‘backyard’ of this innovation, Samsung’s memory technology will be a major force in the new generative AI craze.”

HBM is not the only ingredient involved in making AI technology possible and Samsung will soon offer advanced customized turnkey packaging services, including 2.5D and 3D advanced package solutions, to showcase the best solutions in the era of AI and HPC.

Leading Tech Companies Growing Together

Martin believes a big reason for the leadership role that Samsung DSA has taken on is its location. To him, Samsung and Northern California are a match made in heaven because they share the same fiercely innovative mindset. He said, “The Bay Area and the U.S. at large have been known for our fearless entrepreneurial spirit. DSA has that same entrepreneurial spirit even though we are a larger, more established corporation.” Martin was quick to point out that it’s not simply a matter of geographical location, but of the people. “This spirit comes from the people that dedicate their lives to making Samsung better,” he added.

Given Samsung DSA’s location in Silicon Valley, Martin has had the opportunity to work with a number of influential companies over the years, including major American semiconductor companies at the leading edge of AI and long-term partners that have grown into multi-billion-dollar enterprises alongside Samsung. This has allowed Martin to have the opportunity to work with a wide array of customers while working at Samsung DSA, and the company has encouraged him the whole way. “DSA management recognized my ability to develop and grow all types of customers. Achieving $1B in annual sales with two very different customers has been my career highlight.”

Giving Back to a Community that Has Given So Much

Samsung is not the only party that has benefited from Samsung DSA’s location in San Jose. The company constantly gives back to the community in a variety of ways, namely through charitable efforts. One of these efforts is Samsung Gives, a corporate matching program that doubles employees’ donations to non-profits that they care most about. Some of the top non-profits Samsung employees supported in 2023 through the Samsung Gives program include Second Harvest of Silicon Valley, Save the Children, and International Medical Corps.

In addition to internal programs such as Samsung Gives, Samsung DSA supports Silicon Valley non-profit organizations like the San Jose Public Library, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and other organizations that address the urgent needs of neighboring youth and families.

Apart from its charitable efforts, Samsung recognizes its responsibility as an industry leader to set an environmental example. For instance, Samsung has consistently achieved 100% renewable energy use since joining RE100 in 2019. Additionally, the buildings on the Samsung DSA received LEED1 Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2019 after initially receiving silver certification for new construction that took place in 2015.

Rejuvenating the Area
samsung-dsa-building-san-jose-california

Samsung DSA’s offices in San Jose, California.

Samsung has a long history in Northern California and has dedicated itself to the community. Looking to the future, it plans on doing more to deepen these bonds. As Steve Martin put it, “Samsung DSA has been in Silicon Valley for over 40 years. The community has benefited from our new campus at First and Tasman. It has rejuvenated the area, and many of our partners are now our neighbors.”

Through continued partnerships with local tech companies, Samsung — as well as these companies — will continue to flourish.

1 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system that assesses whether a project adheres to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. The certification range includes Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

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