ASML is Wilton’s biggest corporate resident, with over 2,500 current employees here. Already the world’s largest semiconductor equipment manufacturer, the company announced Monday, Sept. 12, that it would be expanding the Wilton site even further, making a significant investment in its largest manufacturing, research and development facility outside of its headquarters in the Netherlands and adding 1,000 more jobs.
“In 2020 alone, ASML has infused approximately $2 billion into the U.S. space semiconducting ecosystems. And what we are here for today is to mark and celebrate an additional $200 million invested to expand the ASML Wilton facilities,” said Louis Lu, the Head of Wilton ASML.
ASML held a press conference to announce its investment in its Wilton location, showing off plans for a major, 37,000-square-foot addition and construction project at its Danbury Rd. site. It’s an investment very much appreciated by Connecticut officials. Among those on hand to help break ground were Gov. Ned Lamont, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Congressman Jim Himes, Advance CT‘s Peter Denious, and Wilton’s First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.
“It’s us that needs to thank you. We recognize that ASML has options, but you’ve chosen to stay here in Wilton and expand in Wilton. And we are so grateful. We’re excited to partner with you both on this project and future projects, but also with your employees,” Vanderslice said.
Town officials have focused on housing as a key part of the ASML/Wilton equation, especially knowing that the company is bringing on more employees. That means more variety in housing options and costs.
“Just diagonally across the street is a beautiful retail building that’s being converted to 18 units. Up the street, we just approved 174 apartment units. And just beyond that [are] 35 more. So in all of our thinking in that regard, we’re thinking about the ASML employees,” Vanderslice said.
Company officials are also focused on new employees and talked up planned onsite initiatives geared to making the Wilton facility attract “the best talent in the market,” according to Joost Ploegmakers, ASML VP Engineering. He mentioned improvements that include a new cafeteria, entrance and employee meeting plaza, but also what company officials call an “Experience Center,” something they say is part of a bigger plan for more outreach to the Wilton community, including working with Wilton’s schools and encouraging STEM programs locally.
“It’s going to be a hands-on experience where we can make the connection to the STEM programs, the local schools, to get them engaged in technology. And what are the things that we’re doing on this site and what are the physics that play into that? And how do you design that? So I think this is a great opportunity to reach out to a broader audience and tap into the next generation of engineers and technicians that we need on this site,” Ploegmakers added.
ASML officials expressed how grateful they are for the support they’ve gotten from Wilton’s municipal government.
“The local government, in particular the town of Wilton and Mrs. Vanderslice’s team, their support, including [Town Planner] Michael Wrinn, is a very important part of the equation,” Lu said.
Wilton was certainly in the spotlight during the event, not only on signage everywhere, but also getting credit from many prominent participants.
“Thank you, Lynne, to the town of Wilton for being so welcoming and wise in really demonstrating the leadership it takes for our community to be receptive to this kind of very exciting development,” Blumenthal told the crowd.
“If we don’t have the housing in the population, we’re not going to be able to grow as an economy. And Lynne, I love the fact that Wilton is taking the lead on this, doing it yourselves and doing it smart and doing it in a way that preserves open space. And it works right along here and coordinates,” Lamont added.
Himes also thanked ASML for strengthening the local connection.
“We’re aware of the fact that there are places in the country where you can do business more cheaply. You can pay lower wage rates elsewhere. You can pay less for electricity elsewhere, but ASML understands that you can’t find better, more loyal, more innovative employees. And the commitment you make to those people, to this state, is remarkable,” Himes said, adding, “We really thank you for that.”