The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Announces its 71st Annual Citizen of the Year

March 7, 2022

Waterford, CONN. – The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is pleased to announce the 71st Citizen of the Year as John Burkhardt, former Senior Vice President, Head of Global Drug Safety Research and Development (DSRD), Head of Comparative Medicine and Groton Site Head for Pfizer Laboratories.

The Citizen of the Year Award is presented annually to a special individual who has gone above and beyond in making outstanding contributions to the region’s civic and business community

“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,” says Tony Sheridan, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. “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, John was responsible for all aspects of non-clinical safety for small molecules, large molecules, vaccines and animal care and welfare across all therapeutic areas and global sites. In addition, John was responsible for all activities at the Pfizer Groton site, including public relations, site facilities, and much more. Prior to this role, John had led AbbVie Preclinical Safety in North Chicago, IL, where he oversaw globally all aspects of toxicology, pathology, and comparative medicine in Research & Development. Burkhardt retired in February of 2022 after years of dedicated service.

“Over the past 5 years John has led the Groton site of Pfizer with courage, innovation, determination and humility.  He applied cutting edge technology, financial resources, and unwavering strategic direction to make a positive impact in this community and across the world,“ says Marguerite Driscoll, Director of Pfizer’s Safety and Advisory Councils.  “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”.

In 1992, John earned his Doctor of Philosophy and completed his Residency in Anatomic Pathology at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in West Lafayette, Indiana. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University in 1988.

The Chamber will present the 71st Citizen of the Year Award to John Burkhardt on May 6, 2022, with a night of celebration in his honor. 

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