A Lucky Break

A knee injury ended Timothy Childs' pro ball aspirations, so he tackled chip making instead

Every career has its pivotal moment. For college football star and math whiz Timothy Childs, it was a knee injury that led him to pursue a PhD in physics instead of chasing his dream of joining the San Francisco 49ers. Today, he's CEO of Minneapolis-based TLC Precision Wafer Technology Inc., a still tiny but well-positioned player in the burgeoning $2 billion market for gallium arsenide wafers and chips--superfast chips that are more resilient than silicon ones and can carry higher-frequency signals. Now, he's butting heads with big-budgeted players like TRW and Daimler-Benz Aerospace.

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