My dear friend, Pike Powers IV, recently succumbed to Parkinson’s after a courageous struggle. Beyond the Austin area, you may not recognize his name, but he changed your life. He was the single most powerful force in turning Texas into an international technology powerhouse. His impact is unparalleled, and we are all beneficiaries.

In the early 1980s, as Texas was coming off an oil boom and facing a decade of devastation, Pike spearheaded the successful effort to attract Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC). The winner of this competition, which was much more intense than any we see today, would have a decided growth advantage.

As he began this quest, he reckoned that he would need a few numbers; thus, he contacted a kid with a shiny new econometric model. We immediately began a 40-year odyssey of collaboration, mischief, and good trouble spanning over 100 projects (and at least as many brutal – and hysterical – speech introductions).

When Pike championed MCC, Texas normally did not even compete for such things. Rich natural resource endowments had long insulated the state from the vicissitudes confronting other areas. The battle to bring this desperately needed diversification was as much one of convincing folks within Texas as of prevailing in the broader effort.

Pike possessed the skills of an extraordinary “deal-making” attorney, remarkable political acumen, an ability to forge consensus among disparate groups, an intellect to visualize a better future, and an uncanny knack for show-stopping presentations. He experienced personal and professional challenges that would have broken lesser souls, but never once lost his optimism or passion.

After MCC, his successes were many – Sematech, Samsung, Freescale, AMD, 3M, Applied Materials, and countless others. I was privileged to be along for the ride. When I did the “Texas, Our Texas” report that laid out a development strategy 20 years ago, Pike steered it through a legislative minefield. Later, we worked with others on the Texas Technology Initiative, which helped Texas evolve as emphasis shifted from chips and hardware to software, gaming, biosciences, materials science, and nanotechnology.

Even as his health deteriorated, his enthusiasm endured. On his good days, we discussed new ideas and initiatives. He was always focused forward. I had numerous opportunities to honor him of late as groups lauded his seminal achievements. Between the incessant mutual roasting, I sought to put his life in proper perspective, but likely never succeeded. I don’t know that anyone could.

Texas continues to make strides, with a major cancer initiative; national laboratories; Army Futures Command; and impressive new locations in commercial space exploration, electric vehicles, and emerging energy technologies. Additional projects are progressing behind the scenes. The footprint constantly expands, but the fingerprints inevitably include those of Pike Powers.

The state will no doubt persist in its quest for global technology supremacy. No matter the height reached, however, it will always stand on the shoulders and rest in the shadow of a genuine Texas giant. Your spirit and legacy will never diminish, my brother. Stay safe!!

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Texas-based economist M. Ray Perryman. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the permission of the author. Perryman can be reached by email via: [email protected]


Quality journalism takes time, effort and…. Money!

Producing quality journalism is not cheap. The coronavirus has resulted in falling revenues across the newsrooms of the United States. However, The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service is committed to producing quality news reporting on the issues that matter to border residents. The support of our members is vital in ensuring our mission gets fulfilled.

Can we count on your support? If so, click HERE. Thank you!


Keep on top of the big stories affecting the Texas-Mexico. Join our mailing list to receive regular email alerts.

Sign-up for the latest news


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Rio Grande Guardian. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact