Awards & RecognitionIEEE-USA InFocus

The Inspiring Journey of Tech Visionary Dr. Matt Francis

By Corey Ruth

In the realm of entrepreneurial spirit and technological innovation, there are individuals who go above and beyond, inspiring others and revolutionizing their fields. Dr. Matt Francis, President and CEO of Ozark Integrated Circuits, Inc., is undeniably one such visionary. Recognizing his outstanding contributions to the world of integrated circuits and his remarkable leadership, Dr. Francis is the 2022 honoree of the prestigious IEEE-USA Entrepreneur Achievement Award for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Spirit.

Dr. Francis began his entrepreneurial journey at a young age, teaching himself various skills like computer repair, car repair, lawn mowing, and construction projects during high school. This early exposure to hands-on problem-solving planted the seeds for his future in the world of technology and innovation.

He later changed his major from Mechanical Engineering to Electrical Engineering after attending IEEE meetings and learning about the future of integrated circuits from invited speakers. This decision proved instrumental in shaping his entrepreneurial trajectory. Recognizing the limitless potential of integrated circuits, he set forth on a mission to leave his mark on the industry.

In 2011, Dr. Francis founded Ozark Integrated Circuits (Ozark IC) with a mere $100 capital investment. Today, it stands as a recognized premier U.S. research and development center and a manufacturing company for high-temperature electronics. The remarkable growth and achievements of Ozark IC under Dr. Francis’ leadership are a testament to his tenacity and innovative mindset. His company’s ultraviolet sensors were even selected for flight on the International Space Station and won a Gold prize in the MassChallenge accelerator, further solidifying its reputation as a trailblazer in the field.

Dr. Francis’ impact extends beyond his own ventures. His willingness to share knowledge and support aspiring entrepreneurs demonstrates his deep-rooted belief in the power of collaboration. Through mentoring and actively working with students, he ignites the spark of entrepreneurship in students and inspires them to realize their own potential, opening their eyes to the possibilities of alternative career paths.

Of course, Dr. Francis has also been heavily involved with IEEE and IEEE-USA, dating back to his student days as an officer at his student chapter and president of his Eta Kappa Nu chapter in graduate school. His other volunteer roles have included chair of the IEEE Ozark Section, Director-Elect of IEEE Region 5, and a member of the IEEE-USA Entrepreneurship Policy Innovation Committee (EPIC).

“Matt believes firmly that the next potential IEEE Life Member is waiting around every corner to learn about the wonders of science and engineering,” said nominator Christopher Sanderson. “He’s truly a great inspiration for those like myself and many IEEE Student Members and future STEM community innovators.”

Dr. Matt Francis’ journey from a self-taught entrepreneur to industry leader is a testament to his unwavering determination and innovative mindset. His ability to combine technical expertise with a customer-centric approach has set him apart in the field of integrated circuits. And his commitment to mentoring, supporting startups through the Science Venture Studio he helped start, and promoting STEM education in his local robotics club exemplifies his dedication to empowering others and driving entrepreneurial excellence.

“I am both humbled and honored by this amazing award” said Dr. Francis. “This award is very meaningful to me because it effectively recognizes the shoulders on which I stand – the amazing people who have helped me, within my family, my company and outside it.  But even more, I’m so excited that IEEE-USA recognized in the award that entrepreneurship and STEM are linked, and that working with young people is what will make the future bright for all of us.”

As Dr. Francis receives the 2022 IEEE-USA Entrepreneur Achievement Award for Leadership in Entrepreneurial Spirit, his impact and inspiration continue to resonate within the entrepreneurial community. May we all draw from his example, forge new paths, and leave our own mark on the world of innovation.

IEEE-USA Awards: Nominate a Colleague Today

Nominations for the 2023 IEEE-USA Awards are open now, and will be accepted through 15 September 2023. Nominate someone today!


Corey Ruth

Corey Ruth was IEEE-USA’s media relations associate before transitioning to the IEEE Standards Association's marketing and communications manager.

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