The top local official at GlobalFoundries has joined the board of The Adirondack Trust Company, Saratoga County’s largest locally owned bank.
The appointment of Norman Armour, vice president and general manager of GlobalFoundries Fab 8, is a sign of things to come in terms of community involvement by employees of the global computer chip giant as it establishes its main U.S. presence here.
There will be more community involvement in the future, though right now the company is very focused on developing its state-of-the-art $4.5 billion computer chip fabrication plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta.
“We’ve got to focus on the task at hand and getting it right, and then we can put more on our plate,” GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said.
The Fab 8 plant is under construction and due to start installing and then testing manufacturing tools next year. Commercial production is expected in late 2012 after a yearlong startup period.
Major hiring is also under way, with about 120 people now working at the temporary GlobalFoundries offices in Malta — many of them new to the area. Eventually, 1,200 to 1,400 people will work at Fab 8.
The company’s rapid evolution means employee involvement with community organizations may be limited, at least for now.
Volunteering is an individual decision, and the company will become more involved once the plant is established, Bullard said.
“They’ve got a lot on their plate. Building a $4 billion factory takes a level of concentration most of us aren’t use to,” acknowledged Charles V. Wait, chairman and president of Adirondack Trust Co.
Wait said Armour’s new unpaid position on the bank board will help GlobalFoundries better understand the local community and help the bank understand the needs of what will become one of Saratoga County’s largest private employers, and the other high-tech companies that will follow it to the area.
“[Armour] is a tremendous asset to our community and represents a leading, world-class business locating here in Saratoga County,” Wait said. “His expertise in business, management and strategy will provide significant long-term value to our board and community.”
The bank, which has over $900 million in assets and branches across the county, has an 11-member board of local business people and community leaders.
Armour, who lives in Saratoga Springs, came to the region last year to take overall responsibility for development and startup of Fab 8, which will be GlobalFoundries’ only U.S. fab plant. It also has plants in Dresden, Germany and Singapore.
Prior to joining GlobalFoundries last year, Armour served most recently as vice president of fab consulting at Applied Materials, a large fabrication equipment supply company. He has also worked for LSI Logic and AMD.
A few other GlobalFoundries employees have also begun getting involved in community boards.
Steve Groseclose, the company’s director of environment, health and safety, has joined the board of the Saratoga YMCA.
“As the work force gets bigger and bigger, you’ll see more and more people getting involved in the community,” Bullard said.
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce has established programs to welcome GlobalFoundries employees to the region, including setting up a “buddy” system to help new people adopt to the area.
After the topic came up at a get-together earlier this summer, chamber officials are facilitating contacts between families interested in volunteering and non-profit organizations needing their skills and services.
The chamber has established a new website, www.saratogawelcomesyou.com, which is geared to GlobalFoundries employees and includes information on local volunteering opportunities.
“Over time, I think you’re going to find they’re very community-oriented,” Wait said.