Necdet Ergul, a Turkish immigrant who founded the Shelton-based defense electronics manufacturer Microphase Corp., died on Dec. 16 at the age of 96.
Born in Istanbul, Ergul received a Bachelor of Science from that city’s Roberts College. He immigrated to the U.S. and earned a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. In 1952, he joined Belco Research Laboratories in Newark, and founded Microphase in 1955 as an original equipment manufacturer subcontracting radio frequency and microwave components for radar, electronic warfare and communication systems to the defense and aerospace industries.
During Microphase’s first year in business, it designed a diplexer for Lockheed Martin. Later, its technologies were used in the Mercury space flights, on the Polaris Submarine and in the F35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Ergul initially set up Microphase in New York City before moving his operations to Massachusetts and, in 1959, to Connecticut. The company was headquartered in Norwalk until 2015 before relocating to Shelton. In 2017, Digital Power, of Fremont, California, acquired Microphase for an undisclosed sum.
Ergul, a longtime Greenwich resident, recalled his humble beginnings as an entrepreneur and the evolution of his company in a 2006 interview with the trade journal Microwaves & RF.
“Microphase was first located in New York City and began with an investment of $800,” he said. “I was the design engineer and technician. At the time, companies designing and manufacturing filters were very limited. I did struggle initially to raise capital, but as the products and capabilities became better known, product demand built quickly. Raising capital, based on backlog, became easier but the intent was to remain a private organization.
“From the beginning, the operation of Microphase has reflected my personality,” he said. “Science has always been my focus having the desire to do things that no one else could do. What initially started as a filter-design and manufacturing organization now includes multiplexers, solid-state switches, switch filters, frequency multipliers, up and down converters, limiters, detectors, threshold detectors, detector log video amplifiers, subsystems and integrated assemblies.”