Although GlobalFoundaries has only been in Vermont since 2015, the state’s leaders gathered with employees of the microchip manufacturer to celebrate the facility’s 60th anniversary this week.
In 1957 IBM opened its chip manufacturing plant in Essex Junction, Vermont. Two years ago, IBM sold its semiconductor business, including the Essex Junction facility, to GlobalFoundaries.
The company celebrated the facility’s 60th anniversary with a gathering of employees and state leaders in the campus courtyard. GlobalFoundaries CEO Sanjay Jha praised employees for their perseverance over six decades. “This organization this site has been through multiple different avatars, multiple different versions of itself. It’s evolved multiple times. And what it has done is innovated every single time to become the next thing which is valuable for the industry. And one of the reasons is that you have fifty thousand years of experience in this site. Fifty thousand years. Not a lot of places have that amount of experience. And then you build on that the spirit of innovation that you bring here.”
Vermont senior U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy praised those who have worked at the plant over the decades and recalled that the site was chosen because of Vermont’s reputation for innovative precision manufacturing. “The point that we made over and over again was there was no place in the world you could do it with more security, with more talent and in a way that would help the United States of America more than right here. And you delivered. You’ve been the ones who’ve pioneered in our semiconductor field. But you’ve also shaped our communities, you shaped our schools, you shaped our way of life. You’ve always pushed the envelope. You expanded the frontier especially with how technology can make it better.”
Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, also a Democrat, enthusiastically bounded up to the podium to express his pride in what IBM and GlobalFoundries have accomplished at the plant. “60 years! IBM. GlobalFoundaries. Thousands of Vermonters have worked here. Thousands of patents and intellectual property created that has enhanced the world that we live in. And you and the people who came before you are part of that. This wonderful state we love, the state of Vermont, couldn’t be what it is without the contribution that the workers at this facility have provided.”
Republican Governor Phil Scott’s comments sounded like a stump speech as he recalled citing GlobalFoundaries as the most important business in the state during a debate and then linking the plant’s importance to the state’s economy. “While you have 18,000 employees across three continents in 14 countries all serving 250 major firms worldwide, to us here in Vermont GlobalFoundaries is part of our community and of course an important contributor to our economy. Having thriving businesses that create jobs, provide opportunity for Vermonters and support our communities is so important and it is why I am running and and serving as governor. We’re fortunate to have GlobalFoundaries and many other companies as strong pillars of Vermont’s economy.”
The plant reached its peak employment in the 1980’s and 90’s at about 8,000.
The current average employment at the Essex Junction facility is about 2,800.