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Neighbors Get Peek Inside GlobalFoundries At Open House

Lucas Willard

GlobalFoundries hosted an open house at its computer chip fabrication facility in the Saratoga County town of Malta Monday evening. 

GlobalFoundries held the event to allow workers’ families and community members to see the facility and get a better understanding of how the company and its Fab 8 semiconductor manufacturing facility operate.

The company operates its Fab 8 campus at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta, and employs more than 1,000 workers at the facility.

The public had the chance to view an architectural model of the Fab 8 facility and view a number of interactive displays.

ShrutiAgrawal, whose husband is employed at GlobalFoundries, was able to try on a “bunny-suit” – the special suit employees wear in the cleanroom at Fab 8.

Agrawal said it was a great for her and her daughter to experience in a small way what her husband does at work.

"Just sort of seeing what he goes through everyday - it was a long process for a first-timer, but it was a nice experience," said Agrawal.

Steve Pelchar, an Assistant Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 24 in Wilton, brought several scouts to the open house. Pelchar said that part of Scouts nowadays is learning about the STEM fields.

"That's really what merit badges are all about and these awards are all about - is introducing kids to things they've never been introduced to before, so that's why we're here," said Pelchar.

Scout Eric Simonetti got to learn some of the basics of how semiconductors are manufactured at GlobalFoundries .

Simonetti said he’s interested in pursuing engineering as a career, and could plan on staying in upstate New York’s burgeoning “tech valley.”

"I plan on going into an engineering field when I'm older," said Simonetti. "I'm not really sure what I'm going to do at this point but it might have to do with nanotechnology. I might be going to one of the colleges up here that teach nanotechnology and if I do graduate in one of those fields, then this would probably be the place where I would be working."

Company spokesman Mike Russo said he was glad to see young people at the event.

“One of the challenges you have in advanced manufacturing today is helping people understand that it's not dark, deep, old manufacturing," said Russo.

A highlight of the event included a $30,000 check presented by GlobalFoundries to several community organizations including VetHelpNY, Malta Ridge Fire and Round Lake Fire Departments, and Malta Ambulance from the proceeds of the recent Malta Business and Professional Association Malta 5k.

Spokesman Russo also provided an update on some of the recent developments at the site, including on the progress of a $2.3 billion Technology Development Center, which is due for completion early next year. Russo also mentioned the recent approvals from the communities of Malta and Stillwater for GlobalFoundries to build a second fab plant – called Fab 8.2. While the company has not decided if it will go ahead with the project, Russo said that both developments will lead to a large increase in local jobs.

"Right now we're at 2,200 employees on the site and we're in the process of constructing the Technology Development Center - that's another 560,000 square feet - and if we were to build another fab it could be 1.5 times the current fabrication facility which has a 300,000 square foot clean room in it, so you can do the math and obviously it would create a lot more jobs," said Russo.

Meanwhile, the Albany Times Union reportedthat GlobalFoundries could begin making components for Apple for Iphone and Ipad devices, according to a source close with the company; however, GlobalFoundries has not publicly commented on the deal

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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