GlobalFoundries’ Bombardier named Vermont Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year
By Liz Cantrell
For The Essex Reporter
Colchester resident Janette Bombardier has been named the Vermont Chamber of Commerce 2015 Citizen of the Year. Bombardier has been a pivotal actor in the Vermont business community for over 30 years, and currently serves as the senior location executive at GlobalFoundries in Essex Junction.
This July, the Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor firm acquired the longtime Essex Junction plant, formerly operated by IBM. Bombardier had worked at the IBM facility since 1980, after earning a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont.
While at IBM, Bombardier became the first woman to hold the position of senior site location executive in charge of the Vermont and East Fishkill, N.Y. facilities. She also participated in IBM programs designed to encourage young people—especially young women— to develop interest in STEM fields, and often spoke at career events throughout the state.
Frank Cioffi, president of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and Cynosure, nominated Bombardier for the award because of her range of contributions to the state. Cioffi, who has known Bombardier for 15 years, says he was continually impressed with Bombardier’s tenure at IBM.
Cioffi says her efforts at achieving total energy efficiency on the Essex campus inspired IBM to use her work as a global model. “Before IBM sold the manufacturing divisions, they had people coming from Fortune 100 companies to visit the Vermont campus to see how she did what she did,” he said.
Cioffi also points to her recent work in the GlobalFoundries acquisition. “I credit her as the driving force for creating the value that GlobalFoundries saw in this deal with IBM,” he says. “There are thousands of Vermonters still working there today because of her leadership and her commitment to Vermont and Vermonters. She knows they are the best at what they do.”
Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies President David Bradbury,
who also submitted a letter on Bombardier’s behalf, says, “her voice as a large organization manager is expert, and immensely valuable to those who listen.” With the successful takeover of GlobalFoundries, he believes Bombardier has an indispensable and “unique perspective on what it takes to employ thousands of Vermonters and remain a competitive company.”
VCC President Betsy Bishop, who has known Bombardier for 10 years, says she has seen firsthand how Bombardier ensured her work at IBM was a useful model for other organizations.
One beneficiary of Bombardier’s outreach efforts is The Howard Center, according to Cioffi. “She put teams together showing other Vermont companies how to get more energy efficient to help them save money,” he explains. “For a nonprofit, that helps a lot.”
Bishop agrees, describing Bombardier’s mindset as, “how do I do good for my company but also how do I do good for other companies and the entirety of Vermont?”
According to Bishop, Bombardier has also helped VCC emerge as a thought leader of economic growth in the state. “She brings that perspective for how an employer needs to hire more folks for both entry level and skilled level, and what the state can do to help companies,” Bishop says.
The VCC Citizen of the Year award is presented to an individual who “has made major contributions to the betterment of Vermont; has been distinguished through outstanding service to his/her community and region; and in the judgment of the Special Selections Committee typifies the true spirit of service and self-sacrifice in representing the finest ideals of Vermont Citizenship.”
VCC solicits nominations from anyone. Recommenders are required to submit a brief narrative explaining their nomination and biological information about the nominee. VCC encourages recommenders to include letters of support from industry and community members.
Beyond her work with IBM and now GlobalFoundries, Bombardier has also partnered with numerous Vermont boards and organizations. She has collaborated with United Way of Chittenden County, creating a campaign to substantially fund the nonprofit. As an active alumna, she has also encouraged the University of Vermont to increase funding for STEM education.
Additionally, Bombardier has served on the Governor’s Council on Economic Advisors and Congressman Welch’s Business Advisory Board. She also serves on the Boards of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Merchants Bank and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, as well as the Vermont Workforce Development Advisory Board.
In receiving this award, Bombardier sits in distinguished company. Recent honorees include Stephen C. Terry, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Antonio Pomerleau, Bill Stenger and former Gov. James Douglas.
A celebration of Bombardier’s contributions will be held on Thursday, Oct. 29 at The Essex Resort & Spa. To register, visit www.VTChamber.com or contact Ellen Dube, Director of Events, firstname.lastname@example.org.