Floyd L. English
“The world is full of opportunities for those who are willing to work. The real mark of character, however, comes from not how we react to our successes, but how we react to our setbacks. So always believe in yourself, and remain committed to learning, to truth, and to your dreams.” —Floyd English, commencement speech at CSU Chico, May 2005
Floyd L. English was born in Nicolaus and raised in Chico, where his father grew almonds and drove a truck for Diamond Match. Floyd attended Chico schools, and served as Associated Student Body president at Chico High.
A talented athlete, English played football throughout high school and college. He was part of an All-Star team that traveled to Mexico City, and was later inducted into to the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1959 he became the first CSU Chico student to graduate from the newly created physics department. He taught for a year in that department before continuing his education at Arizona State University, receiving both an MS and a Ph.D. in physics by 1965. These athletic and academic accomplishments are even more impressive given that English was serving in the military at the same time: from Army private to first lieutenant from 1954-57, and a Captain in the Reserves from 1957-69.
Following graduation, English spent eight years directing research in solid state physics at Sandia Laboratories, New Mexico, and then moved to Newport Beach to serve as director of sales and marketing for the semiconductor division of Collins Radio.
In 1975, seized by what he calls the "entrepreneurial urge," he founded Darcom, Inc., a business that used the telephone network to read electric, gas, and water meters. English sums this up as a "technical success but a business failure," and in 1980 he went into consulting.
In 1981, English was hired as vice-president of corporate development for Andrew Corporation, an international telecommunications company. In less than a year, he was promoted to president, CEO, and subsequently chairman.
During his 20-year tenure, he grew Andrew into a global leader in the design, manufacture, and supply of communications systems, equipment, and services.
He repositioned the company to keep pace with the exponential growth in computer chip technology and satellite and wireless communications in the 80s and 90s.
Andrew's innovations led to major contracts, including wiring the Chunnel and subways in Moscow and St. Petersburg. When English retired from Andrew in 2004, sales had soared from $89 million to $1.4 billion, and the company had sales offices in 39 countries and manufacturing facilities in thirteen.
Floyd L. English has been recognized with entries in five Who's Who publications (including Who's Who in Science and Engineering and Who's Who in America), positions on advisory boards that advance the sciences worldwide (including the International Engineering Consortium, the Executives' Club of Chicago, and the CSUC College of Natural Sciences Advisory Board), invitations to speak, and the publication of numerous technical articles.
California State University, Chico presented him with an honorary doctorate in May, 2005. Certainly his success has earned him the right to sit back, relax, and enjoy the company of his family, including his three grandchildren.
Yet throughout his career, English has remained committed to giving back to his community. For the youth of Chico, one of his most treasured legacies has been the establishment of the Floyd L. English Scholarship fund, in partnership with the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation. Each year since 1996, between ten and twenty students majoring in programs in the CSUC’s Department of Natural Sciences have received these four-year scholarships.
If these students demonstrate even a portion of Floyd English's passion for science, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to excellence, they will truly enrich our world.