William D. Budinger

William D. Budinger

Aspen Institute Trustee, Founder, Rodel, Inc. and Rodel Foundations

Bill Budinger was the founder of Rodel, Inc., where he served for 33 years as its chairman and CEO. Bill is an inventor and holder of more than three dozen patents including key processing technologies that helped the return of semiconductor manufacturing to the U.S. in the 1990s. Rodel became the global leader in high-precision planarization technology for semiconductors, silicon wafers and storage media substrates such that by 1995, every semiconductor made anywhere in the world was made with at least one Rodel product.  Rodel is now the Semiconductor Materials division of the DuPont Company.

Bill is also a founder of the Rodel Foundations. He continues to serve on various non-profit boards including the several Rodel Foundations, the Public Policy Institute, the Aspen Institute, Third Way, The Breakthrough Institute, the Democracy Journal, and the Brookings Institute Governance Studies. Bill served for many years on the board of the Democratic Leadership Council and was a founding trustee of the Grand Canyon Trust.

Bill has served as a panelist on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and as a guest lecturer at several universities including MIT and Harvard. His writings have appeared in various law journals as well as trade and public policy magazines. He drafted much of the 1994 and 1999 patent reform laws and has testified on patent, trade, and labor law reform before various committees of the House and Senate. 

Bill has won numerous awards including the Technology Council’s Legendary CEO, ACS Hero of Chemistry, and the Henry Crown Leadership Award. Bill also founded and chaired the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership which provided two-year fellowships for top-level Republican and Democratic state elected officials to help them transition from politicians to statesmen.  That program is now independent as the Rodel Leadership Institute with fellowships for politicians, appellate judges, and members of the Federal Executive Service.

With Brookings, Bill helped create much of the intellectual foundation for the growing realization that the purpose of the corporation is greater than just maximizing shareholder value.  In recent years, Bill has published a series of articles on the need for clean baseload energy.  He regularly works with a group of NGOs and Congress on various pieces of legislation to improve America’s clean energy security, reliability, and abundance.