President Obama spoke at an Intel chip manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Ore., today and praised company co-founder Andy Grove for his commitment to America.
Obama toured a cutting-edge Intel manufacturing facility with host Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel. The president made a stop in the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday and met with Silicon Valley tech leaders, including Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
"We just had an amazing tour. One of my staff said it's like magic. I had a chance to see everything from an electron microscope, to the inside of the microprocessor plant--the clean room," Obama said in a brief speech given after the tour, which was streamed live on the Web. But "of all the gadgets you got here, what actually most impressed me is the students and science projects here."
Later in the speech, he praised Intel for creating jobs in the U.S. "I'm so proud of everybody at Intel, not only what you do for the students or the community, but what you do for the country. A few weeks ago I went to the Chamber of Commerce. I talked about the responsibility American businesses have to create jobs and invest in this country. There are few major companies that take this responsibility as seriously as Intel," the president said.
Obama continued. "In 1968, Intel started as one of Silicon Valley's first start-ups. And as you grew leaps and bounds in the '80s and '90s, you experienced the competitive pressures of globalization...[That led] many computer companies to start manufacturing and hiring overseas. Over the years, you've done some of this yourself. Yet, by and large Intel has placed its bets on America. Three-fourths of [Intel's] manufacturing still happens right here in the United States," he said.
The president reserved special praise for Grove. "The founder of this company, the legendary Andy Grove said that he's always felt two obligations. One obligation is to your shareholders. The other obligation is to America. Because a lot what Intel has achieved has been made possible, in Andy's words, by a climate of democracy, an economic climate, an investment climate provided by our domicile the United States."
The president's speech was preceded by brief remarks from Otellini. He announced a $5 billion manufacturing facility in Arizona called Fab 42 for 14-nanometer high-volume manufacturing--and beyond. This is in addition to the 14-nanometer development facility in Oregon.
And this year Intel will hire 4,000 highly skilled workers in the U.S., above and beyond the factory jobs at the new plants, Otellini said.
Obama also said he has appointed Otellini to the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which is chaired by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.