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Abu Dhabi Leaders Visit Fab 8 Facility

Lucas Willard
Mubadala Investment Company CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Congressman Paul Tonko, GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield

Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries opened its doors Monday to host a delegation of leaders from the United Arab Emirates, where the company is rooted.

GlobalFoundries calls its Saratoga County facility Fab 8. The company is owned by Mubadala Investment Company, of which the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is the sole shareholder.

Today, Fab 8 welcomed Mubadala’s CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak. He spoke at a luncheon with GlobalFoundries employees and local officials.

“Being here today also serves as a reminder as to why Saratoga County was exactly the right place to make this investment in this business more than 10 years ago,” said Al Mubarak.

GlobalFoundries is just a portion of Mubadala’s investments in the U.S.

Mubadala began working with New York State in 2009 when GlobalFoundries was launched as a joint venture with semiconductor company AMD.

Since the opening of Fab 8 in Malta, GlobalFoundries has acquired IBM’s chip manufacturing facilities in East Fishkill in Westchester County and Essex Junction, Vermont.

Al Mubarak says no other country has been “more critical” to the development of UAE than the U.S. He highlighted trade data between the two countries in 2017.

“The United States and UAE conducted $24.3 billion in total bilateral trade. $20 billion of it was U.S. exports. Hopefully the White House will hear that too,” said Al Mubarak.

Al Mubarak is set to visit with officials in Washington this week.

UAE Ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba acknowledged some people may be surprised that a small Middle Eastern country would be driving innovation in advanced technology.

“And unfortunately the headlines usually associated with our part of the world is negative: it’s about conflict, it’s about destruction, and it’s about violence. But in the UAE, we’re trying to build a different, more positive and hopeful future,” said Al Otaiba.

The ambassador touched on a common theme during Monday’s event: partnership.

“We know that a key part of our innovative vision for the future will be working with partners like the United States,” said Al Otaiba.

Dr. Tom Caulfield, who previously served as general manager of the Fab 8 facility, was recently promoted to CEO of GlobalFoundries.

“I think Fab 8 is a particular good example of partnership. It’s here today because of great vision in the State of New York to create a technology center on semiconductors, CNSE, decades ago,” said Caulfield. “And through independent administrations it always never lost its true north: that investments in technology have big paybacks.”

GlobalFoundries says the state’s investment has led to the creation of more than 3,000 jobs and $12 billion in capital expenditures. Of that, New York State has invested more than $1 billion.

Among the invited guests were local lawmakers, state and municipal government officials, and state and local educational leaders.

Democratic New York Congressman Paul Tonko said when he speaks about GlobalFoundries and the Capital Region on the House floor, he is the envy of the chamber.

“We talk about this tremendous growth, the chip manufacturing that is record-setting in its numbers and its statistics, that is something to really feel proud about,” said Tonko.

GlobalFoundries is a leading manufacturer of what’s known as 14 nanometer technology to power high-tech devices. Fab 8 will soon begin manufacturing next-generation 7 nanometer technology, says new general manager Ron Sampson. 

“We’re yielding the technology already, so we’re getting it ready for manufacturing right now,” said Sampson. “Our intent is to have it manufacturing with our first products going into manufacturing later this year.”

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