Micron CEO explains why company committed to Syracuse for decades to come
Sanjay Mehrotra, CEO of Micron, says that Micron is a “people” company that will not only value its new employees but the surrounding communities in New York as well. WAER’s Scott Willis sat down with Mehrotra to discuss the development of Micron in New York following President Joe Biden's remarks at Onondaga Community College on Thursday.
Q: What impact will Micron have on the communities in New York?
A; You know, Micron is the kind of company, that everywhere globally that we operate, we engage with the community. And our values are to continue to support the community in terms of strategic factors that are important for the betterment of the community. So first and foremost, it's about our values of people, and aligning with it and engaging with the community here. And of course, you know, we need the workforce of the future, we do need to partner with the community to build the talent pipeline, from schools, to junior colleges, to colleges and universities. And of course, the apprenticeship programs, various training programs, programs that can bring out the workforce, from groups that are underrepresented in technology, into the semiconductor manufacturing workforce. These are all our objectives, as well as we engage with this community, and really make Micron of the future here, a great place to work. And that requires a grassroots engagement with the community starting now.
Q: The commitment to community seems to be, as you kind of alluded to, ingrained in the DNA of the company. Where does that come from? Because that's not typical of a lot of very large corporations.
A: One of the core values of Micron, one of the five core values of Micron is people. It's our people that make this company. It's our people, as I acknowledged today, in my remarks to the 48,000 team members that have really enabled our leadership today that has enabled this milestone to be achieved here. So, people are our biggest asset. And we want to make sure that our people have an environment where they can thrive, where they can achieve their highest potential. And we have seen that this has paid off over time. It builds a great team camaraderie. It actually helps drive greater innovation among the team members. It helps the team achieve things that may not be considered easily possible. So, engagement with the people is good, of course, for the community and is good from a people point of view. But it is good overall for the business, and advancement of our technology, manufacturing, and business roadmaps as well.
Q: There was a lot of emphasis by everyone who spoke [at the OCC event with Biden] on reaching underserved communities. As you probably already know from your visits to Syracuse, over the past year or more, that city has a very high poverty rate. So is that in the back of your mind as you attempt to reach out to those underserved communities that historically have not had a piece of anything like this come along?
This is just a start. This is not about a one-year thing, Micron is going to be here for decades. And of course, we will engage with the community to understand the needs of the community, as we focus on achieving our business objectives as well. So, this will be really a long-term partnership. And as part of that partnership, we will definitely want to make sure that we are being inclusive in the community.
Q: Were there challenges or concerns that you felt that the area had when deciding to relocate here? And then did you think, we'll just try to overcome those, or we'll do what we can to kind of meet those challenges?
A: The way I would say this is that, of course, Micron conducted a very comprehensive, thorough process across the country in terms of determining the best site for this mega fab complex of the future for Micron. And as part of that they will, of course, have several considerations, considerations related to availability of talent, considerations related to, of course, land, power, water, and of course, all the implications with respect to environmental sustainability. And all of these factors played a role in our determination. So, I would say that all these considered, along with the strong support from the state, and the chips grant for at the federal level, all of this came together well, to make New York, particularly clay, the site in clay, then for the future of Micron's mega manufacturing complex here.
Q: How significant is it to have the president come and celebrate this huge investment?
A: This is huge. This is huge for the community here. This is huge for New York State, huge for America, and of course, huge for micron and the semiconductor industry. The president coming here, honoring us at this celebration, recognizing this community, I think conveys what this means for the future, how monumental, this is for the future. It's really about people. It's about jobs. It's about the communities. It's about the transformation that is going to be here. I think the president and of course the bipartisan coalition totally recognizes the opportunities that the chip act brings. And the president's visit here really is a recognition of the transformation of the region that this manufacturing opportunity by Micron here represents.
NOTE: This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.