Taking action: An avid biker and mountain climber,
Mousumi Bhat combines purpose and profession to promote sustainability in her workplace

It’s past 9pm Singapore time, and Dr. Mousumi Bhat is deep in a call with her US counterparts, discussing how Micron’s products can be sourced, manufactured and used more responsibly.

This might involve finding materials that have a low carbon footprint, switching out certain chemicals to make a product “cleaner”, or changing how the computer memory and data storage company manufactures a specific part.  

“We’re not just delivering products – what we make is helping to advance the development of environment initiatives and going into applications that promote sustainability,” says Micron Technology’s Senior Director for External Manufacturing.

For the avid biker and mountain climber, sustainability and the environment have always been large themes in her career and life. However, she also saw an opportunity to scale her passion and bring along a team of similarly minded people on the same sustainability journey.

“I had a bunch of projects that I was running solo and was obviously running out of bandwidth. This is where I took a pause to think of how I could be more effective,” she explains. “If I could bring my expertise and my passion into a shared space (metaphorically speaking), it would be a win-win-win situation: I could be part of a team of like-minded people who had an interest in restoring our environment, we could make a real difference, and everyone in the team would also be personally fulfilled.”

At Micron, she found the opportunity to do this, both on and off the factory floor. “All our team building activities have had an engagement either with the environment or society. For Christmas, for example, our team worked with a food bank,” she says. “The feeling of satisfaction from having done something meaningful together with a little bit of team-building was pleasantly unexpected and very welcome.”

Projects focussing on waste management, responsible food management, and caring for the ecosystem, meanwhile, go beyond the Micron Community to engage the larger Singapore Community. Over the next few years, Micron will invest $1 billion in sustainability initiatives.

Mousumi (right) and her team members collect donations from various collection centres for Food Bank Singapore

A 25-year industry veteran, Mousumi discovered her passion for the semiconductor industry as an undergrad at the India Institute of Technology.

“I’d always wanted to be involved in building something, and building something, to me, meant becoming an engineer,” she recalls. Then walking down a hallway of the electronics department during her freshman year, she chanced upon a fabrication cleanroom. “There were these cool yellow lights and people in smocks looking very futuristic, and I thought, these guys have to be creating something amazing. I want to be doing that.” 

Mousumi went on to obtain her Master’s in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her PhD in Electronics Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Since then, her career has taken her across Europe, the US and Asia, in positions spanning R&D, Process Integration and Yield Engineering, and Quality and Supplier Management.

“I’ve worked in many different parts of the business, but my first love is still inside the factory,” she laughs.

Looking ahead, Mousumi is confident that the next generation of employees will augment the work that has gone into semiconductors with the added lens of responsible sourcing and manufacturing.

“Our millennials are more connected and engaged, and they’re resourceful and creative,” she says. “One of our new hires has already done several projects, including setting up an e-waste programme for our factories in Singapore. My job is to give them opportunities to get involved, to guide them and be their cheerleader so they are energised through the difference they are making.”

Her goal is simple: “I want to ensure that everything I do in my professional life has a purpose.”