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Dual-life 'dynamo'

When Brandi Frye drives from her Forest Grove neighborhood to her Hillsboro job at TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc., she enters a different world.

At home, the 41-year-old wife and mother of three gets her kids ready for school, chats with neighbors and chaperones school field trips.Fryes oldest daughter Nikaya got to accompany Frye on a business trip to China.

At TriQuint, she prepares for European trade shows, books flights to Asia for conferences and communicates with reporters at the Wall Street Journal.

Frye, TriQuint’s senior director of marketing communications, will be promoted to vice president of marketing after TriQuint’s proposed merger with North Carolina-based RF Micro Devices, Inc., which is expected to close before the end of the year.

While the two worlds Frye lives in are different, the pace of both is the same: fast.

“My motto is ‘work hard, play hard,’” she said.

Frye does work hard — 70 hours a week. Some days she starts at 5:30 a.m., taking her first conference call from home so she can get her children ready for school before heading to the office. While she doesn’t like to pull all-nighters, she’s done them, returning home at 6 a.m. to shower before starting again.

Somehow, Frye said, the sleep deprivation doesn’t seem to affect her health or mood.Photo Credit: KATE STRINGER - Brandi Frye and her family play on their swing set in the backyard of their Forest Grove home. Frye makes time to play hard with her family, hiking, camping or visiting the Oregon Coast together.

“She has the benefit of not needing a lot of sleep,” said TriQuint Chief Financial Officer Steve Buhaly. “I get emails at 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. and I’m asleep during both those periods.”

Frye admits she probably works too hard, but she blames it on a streak of perfectionism.

“I was born this way,” she said, laughing.

Frye’s responsibilities began increasing two years ago, when she led an effort to re-brand the company and update its website. Then last year, she had to reduce her team by 40 percent due to budget cuts.

But she predicts the proposed merger will increase staff size and lighten her workload.

Her new role will require more delegation, something Frye finds challenging because she hates mistakes, however rare.

“I think she’ll do great,” Buhaly said. “She’s really serious about getting the results, puts in the time, is focused and asks questions.”

A native of St. Helens, Frye got her bachelor’s degree from Linfield College, which is also where she met her husband, Aaron, a physical therapist. Frye received her MBA from George Fox University in 1997. Since then, she has worked at Bank of America, Intel and TriQuint.

Frye and Aaron, who will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary next month, are the busy parents of Nikaya, 12, Naomi, 9, and Adrian, 3.

Aaron said at this point they’re used to the busy schedule, aided by local grandparents, a great babysitter and Frye’s professional scheduling skills.

“I’m not allowed in the kitchen,” Frye joked.

“Cooking makes her nervous,” Aaron said, “but it comes naturally to me.”

Just as Frye works hard, she plays hard with her kids, driving to the beach for a weekend trip or pitching a tent with her family on the Neil Armstrong Middle School track for the annual Relay for Life fundraiser.

“It’s crazy, fun and there’s lots of love shared,” Frye said of her family. “My favorite part of the day is walking through the door and hearing someone shout ‘Mommy’s home!’ and getting a hug.”

Sometimes she gets to bridge the gap between work and play, like when she took her oldest daughter Nikaya to China for a “job shadow.”

In 2006, Frye found another way to stay close to her home and community. She opened Tip Top Day Spa in Forest Grove. While she loved marketing with local wine shops and restaurants, she sold the business in 2008 after working two jobs became too much.

Becca Trevino, owner of Karma Day Spa and a former independent contractor at Frye’s spa, remembers the night before the grand opening. Frye was at Tip Top until 2 a.m. applying floor tiles, with glue all over her knees. Yet even in the most challenging times, Trevino said she has never seen Frye show stress.

“I swear she thrives from stressful situations,” Trevino said. “She’s positive, very well liked, easy to talk to and an awesome chick.”

Frye says she misses owning a small business. Her father-in-law, Jerry Frye, started Frye’s Action Athletics on Pacific Avenue in Forest Grove 30 years ago. Photo Credit: KATE STRINGER - Brandi Frye (nee Thackery), a St. Helens High School alum who now lives in Forest Grove, was appointed vice president of marketing after the proposed merger of TriQuint and RF Micro Devices.

“We all love the experiences we’ve had being in small businesses,” Frye said. “Even though I work in corporate America, I still value what small towns and small businesses can bring.”

Frye also loves the small-town-community feel of Forest Grove, something her global job can’t provide. She cites the recent “Love Rocks” movement as an example, in which rocks decoupaged with fabric or card-stock hearts were placed around the city in memory of sisters Anna Dieter-Robinson and Abigail Robinson.

“Even if people didn’t know the girls, they are learning to treat each other with compassion,” she said. “It wouldn’t have the same effect in a larger city.”

That kind of small town magic has inspired Frye to “give back.” She recently spoke with Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax about ways to fundraise for a community recreation center, offering to donate her next bonus check toward its completion, and she’s encouraging other Intel and TriQuint community members to give back as well.

“Be involved in as much as you can,” she advises people interested in her career path. “You never know when you’re going to meet someone who presents you with an opportunity.”



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