Lt. Gov. Phil Scott works at IBM
July 10, 2012 - Lt. Governor Phil Scott got a rare hands-on experience inside one of Vermont’s largest employers today, working a “Vermont Everyday Job” at IBM’s manufacturing facility in Essex Junction.
Lt. Gov. Scott worked at several stations throughout the production facility for IBM’s 200mm microchips, which are found inside consumer products ranging from smart phones to tablets to high-definition TVs.
But before he could even enter the facility, the Lt. Governor had to suit up in a head-to-toe jumpsuit, designed to protect the product from inadvertent contamination by manufacturing personnel. The production lines are often referred to as “clean rooms” because of the need to prevent even the smallest particles from destroying chips whose individual wires are thousands of times thinner than a strand of hair.
Scott started his shift on a station that cleans the boxes in which the silicon wafers are transported during the production process. He then worked on the measurement of the overlay of images that are imprinted on the wafer as part of the chip build process. Finally, he finished up on an equipment maintenance station. In all stages of the process, accuracy is critical.
“This is precision work without the slightest room for error,” said Lt. Gov. Scott. “I was amazed to see and experience all that goes into it. It also makes me very proud to know that Vermonters are behind the technology that we depend on every day.”
Today’s visit also gave Scott a new perspective on the importance of IBM to the state. “As a company, IBM has always shared what they’ve learned, particularly about energy efficiency, to the benefit of many other Vermont companies as well as state agencies. Working alongside their employees today, I got a firsthand appreciation of the incredible amount of knowledge and experience we have here in our state. These folks were responsible for over 400 patents last year alone. IBM really is an amazing resource,” he said.
In turn, Scott said, the state needs to work hard to guarantee the affordable and reliable electricity that IBM and other manufacturers need to keep their lines running. “When we were having the Yankee debate in the Legislature, I remember hearing the comment that if the power so much as flickers for a few seconds in IBM’s clean room, they could have to discard the entire day’s work,” Scott said. "Having seen that highly controlled production line up close today, I understand why."