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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Former Pfizer executive announced as Citizen of the Year

    John Burkhardt has been named as the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut's Citizen of the Year for 2022. (Submitted photo)

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut has announced John Burkhardt — Pfizer's former site director in Groton, and senior vice president and head of global drug safety research and development — as its 71st Citizen of the Year.

    Burkhardt retired in February, and Raja Mangipudy is now serving in this role. The chamber will honor Burkhardt on May 6.

    Chamber President and CEO Tony Sheridan said when a committee was going over nominations, Burkhardt quickly came to the top, given "the work that the people at Pfizer under his leadership did, and bringing the country back to some semblance of normalcy."

    Sheridan found Burkhardt's reaction to the recognition very touching. According to Sheridan, Burkhardt said he was accepting this on behalf of his Pfizer colleagues.

    "It is an ideal time for John to join this illustrious group of citizens throughout history who, through hard work and passion for our community, have made significant contributions to the quality of life in Eastern Connecticut," Sheridan said in a news release. "Under his leadership, Pfizer's Groton colleagues have made strides that impact the world, while continuing to support the local community through charitable giving, grants, volunteerism, and community events."

    At Pfizer, Burkhardt oversaw non-clinical safety for molecules, vaccines, and animal care, and was responsible for activities at the Groton site. He led the site "with courage, innovation, determination and humility," said Marguerite Driscoll, director of Pfizer's Safety and Advisory Councils, in the news release.

    "He applied cutting edge technology, financial resources, and unwavering strategic direction to make a positive impact in this community and across the world," Driscoll said. "With John's leadership, the Groton site delivered breakthrough science to create life-saving medicines that are supporting our quest for a return to normalcy."

    Burkhardt previously led preclinical safety at Abbvie, a pharmaceutical company, in North Chicago. He holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the chamber's first Citizen of the Year announcement since Feb. 19, 2020, when Chelsea Groton Bank President and CEO Michael Rauh received the honor. The 2019 Citizen of the Year was Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.

    e.moser@theday.com

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