The Digital Layout: Say What You Do—Do What You Say

Introduction
In this month’s column, I’ll pose some questions and give you something to consider regarding joining an electronics industry organization. Next, I’ll hand it off to PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez, who conveys excitement and anticipation of events to come and how the PCEA will be involved. Again, I am happy to provide you with a growing list of events for 2021. 

PCEA Updates
Are you finding your place in the PCB industry? If you are feeling a bit disconnected from the rest of the world as you perform your PCB engineering job, maybe you should consider joining a trade organization. Aligning and participating with a trade organization that is well matched to your areas of expertise can be monumentally beneficial to your career. It can put you in touch with others who can help you discover what you don’t know—and which you may find out you needed to know. There are many professional development groups and trade organizations in our PCB engineering industry. Finding the right ones to join may not be as easy as you think. On the other hand, by following some of the criteria our PCB engineering quality assurance stakeholders use to find good products and services for your company, it will be easier to narrow you’re your list because you know some valuable things to look for.

Many of us in the PCB engineering industry do not necessarily specify or qualify materials ourselves. But we might work closely with those who take part in qualifying the materials and manufacturers who are responsible for checking out and making important decisions regarding the quality of the materials or processes offered. It could be valuable to understand how these industry stakeholders set up business relationships and roadmaps for moving forward.

All these folks—sometimes referred to as quality auditors—have something in common when they search for resources and providers: They often belong to or are associated with industry organizations and look for conformance to quality standards.

Let’s reflect on our own resource requirements for a moment. As mentioned before, we may not be tasked in our day-to-day jobs to find sourcing for the next super-computer chip or specially formulated material to route its circuitry on. But regardless of our professional part in the printed circuit engineering industry, we can benefit from using some of the same audit criteria to qualify a professional organization we choose to associate with.

Quality auditors look for several important things when evaluating a new supplier with which to engage in successful, mutually beneficial, long-term business relationships. Let’s think for a few moments about how some of these criteria can be applied to evaluating an industry trade organization. When searching for a trade organization to join, wouldn’t you want to “audit” and check for some of the following?

  • A culture of operational compliance: Are their standards and operating procedures documented? Do they say what they do and do what they say? Do they provide open book operations with clearly defined stakeholders and areas of responsibility and traceability?
  • Social compliance: Are the management personnel or board of trustees well-known members of the community or relevant industry? Are they diversely represented? Are they transparent and communicative, free of any potential conflicts of interest? Are their business dealings and the mission of the organization clear and consistent?
  • Does the organization offer education and training for the goods they provide? If there is a charge, is it of justifiable value?
  • Can the organization readily provide documentation and explanation of its business ethics and value to the stakeholders it serves?

Maybe you have some criteria of your own. It is important that the organizations you reach out to for information are responsive to your interests and respond quickly with details on how they not only can connect you with information which can help your career, but demonstrate ways you can become vested in the organization’s membership. At the very least, a potential trade organization should be able to offer you a tangible description of what it stands for. Its purpose and mission must be aligned with your need for understanding and desire for engagement in order to engage in a successful, mutually beneficial, long-term relationship.

Message from the Chairman
by Stephen Chavez, MIT, CID+

Wow, it’s hard to believe the year is half over and summer is in full swing. I live in Arizona; our monsoon season has started and we’re feeling those triple digit temperatures. As these days/months are flying by, it just seems as if there is never enough time, and the never-ending workloads keep piling up. Don’t even get me started on those “honey-do” lists. As PCEA evolves and grows, the original vision that has become our mission statement Stephen Chavez mug.JPG(Collaborate, Educate, and Inspire) is ever more a reality. Personally, it is about making a positive difference in our industry by helping others to be successful and succeed in life. We do this by networking, sharing experiences both good and bad, passing on knowledge while inspiring others, or to be inspired by others. That’s PCEA at our core.

The PCEA vision is unfolding as our individual chapter activities gain momentum and our chapter growth flourishes. As new members continue to join the PCEA collective daily, along with our sponsorships and affiliations, the PCEA synergy is spreading as we envisioned. It’s truly amazing to see the positive energy through true collaboration in each chapter, and each member.

Now that we are coming out of the pandemic darkness and COVID-19 restrictions loosen (if not going away), we are finally getting back to in-person interactions, and without those face masks. I think our hands have aged faster than the rest of our body due to the constant washing and sanitizing. Industry trade shows and conferences are coming back to life with a few of them already having taken place with much success. Yahoo and thank God.

Because we are back to in-person interactions, the second half of this year will be awesome regarding industry events such as DesignCon 2021, SMTA international, PCB Carolina 2021, and PCB West 2021, to name a few. I simply cannot wait to attend my first industry face-to-face conference or trade show. It is so long overdue, in my opinion. When I speak with other industry friends and colleagues who have already attend a live industry event in person, I am amused to see that they are filled with excitement and a kind of “happy conference euphoria,” yet exhausted from being out of conference “shape.”

So, I look forward to the hustle and bustle of traversing through crowded airports and congested rental car parking lots or even taking Ubers and taxis just to get to my first live conference. I simply cannot wait; it’s similar to when we were kids just a few days before Christmas morning. The excitement is building inside me, that’s for sure. You can also be assured you will see a PCEA presence at many of these conference and trade shows one way or another. Whether greeting visitors at a conference booth on the showroom floor, or at an informal meeting with other fellow members, PCEA will be there. So, look for us, join in on the conversations, and integrate as you see fit. We would love to engage and interact with you face-to-face.

As always, if you have anything to do with printed circuit engineering, I highly recommend you get involved with and join the PCEA collective—your percentage of long-term professional development increases significantly.

Refer to our column and the PCEA website to stay up to date on up-and-coming industry events. There are many free webinars out there, so take advantage of these opportunities. Visit us at pce-a.org.      

I wish health and safety to you and your family. Best of success to all as 2021 unfolds.

Warmest Regards,

Steph

Chapter Activity
by Scott McCurdy

PCEA-Orange County Chapter President

The PCEA-Orange County Chapter in southern California held a virtual “Lunch ‘n Learn” event on May 19. Hosted by EMA Design Automation, Senior Field Applications Engineer Orlen Bates gave an educational presentation on “Designing for RF—Tips and Tricks from the PCB Pros.” 

The topic of RF design must have struck a chord, as this meeting drew an audience of 98 printed circuit professionals, making it one of the largest events in our chapter history. Orlen’s many decades of manufacturing and design experience fueled his talk and the images and examples he presented provided a valuable learning opportunity of the best practices and how to avoid design pitfalls to those in the audience. There was also a lengthy question and answer period at the end which added great value with audience participation in this webinar format.

As the pandemic wanes and California starts to open, we hope that later this year our chapter will be able to have in-person events again. We all miss that great feeling of being in a large group of our fellow colleagues, interacting in these educational and interesting events.

Next Month
August is sure to be a time for “doing what we say” as far as the PCEA’s commitments for engaging in activities to collaborate, educate, and inspire those both inside and outside our organization. We hope to bring you more information regarding PCEA’s role in certifying those who have completed the Printed Circuit Engineering Designer program, authored by several renowned members of the PCEA and offered through EPTAC Corporation.

Upcoming Events
Below is our list of upcoming events. Hope to see you there.

DesignCon 2021
August 16-18, 2021
San Jose, CA

PCB West 2021
October 5–8, 2021
Santa Clara Convention Center
Santa Clara, CA

SMTA International 2021
Nov. 1–4, 2021
Minneapolis, Minnesota

PCB Carolina 2021
Nov. 10, 2021
Raleigh, North Carolina

productronica
Nov. 16–19, 2021
Munich, Germany

Spread the word. If you want to announce a significant electronics industry event, please send the details to kelly.dack.pcea@gmail.com, and we will consider adding it to the list.

Conclusion
We hope you will look at all the information and resources on our PCEA website, broadcast through our online chapter presentations, and written about in this column. Indeed, we want to say what we do and do what we say when it comes to being a trade organization that will pass your audit for value, integrity, and making a difference in your PCB engineering career.

See you next month or sooner!

This column originally appeared in the July 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine.

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2021

The Digital Layout: Say What You Do—Do What You Say

07-28-2021

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack provides answers to some common questions about joining an electronics industry organization. PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez conveys his excitement and anticipation of events to come and how the PCEA will be involved.

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The Digital Layout: PCB Engineering on the Move

06-15-2021

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack examines the PCB engineering job outlook and evaluate the career moves we are making, while PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez lists some important attributes in our personal development that will keep our edges sharp.

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The Digital Layout: Test for Design—How Do You Measure Up?

05-25-2021

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack conveys the value of honing a skill set and the importance of being able to measure that skill set. Next, I hand it off to our PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez, who offers a positive outlook on PCEA activities over the summer months. Again, I am happy to provide our readers with a growing list of events which are coming up in 2021.

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The Digital Layout: Back to Back Chapter Meetings and More

04-15-2021

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack extends an overview of two recent PCEA chapter meetings and gives a nod to two very interesting presenters, and PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez relates a recent, personal career “crossroads” experience.

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The Digital Layout: Messages from the Chairmen

03-24-2021

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack interviews the chairman and chairman emeritus for the PCEA, who provide their shared viewpoints on the importance of organizing.

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The Digital Layout: Footprints—Small Steps with a Giant Impact

02-11-2021

Kelly Dack celebrates the importance of the humble PCB component footprint, and PCEA Chairman Stephen Chazev provides some inspiring words as we tread into the new year.

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The Digital Layout: Now, Where Were We?

01-13-2021

In this month’s column, Kely Dack shares a few terms I’ve been contemplating lately, and which I have been trying to put in context regarding the role of the PCEA within the electronics industry. Then, PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez to inspire us for a fresh start in the new year. Finally, he provides us with a list of events which are coming up.

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2020

The Digital Layout: PCEA 2020—Small Rearview Mirror, Big Windshield

12-10-2020

In this month’s forward-driving column, Kelly Dack glances back at PCEA’s year in “rearview," and PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez focuses on what lies ahead. Dack also points out some interesting events for you to consider attending.

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The Digital Layout: PCEA and Industry Leaders Who Happen to Be Women

11-20-2020

In this month’s column, Kelly Dack introduces a few of our inspiring PCEA leaders who happen to be women and teases some upcoming coverage we’ll be doing on one of the PCEA’s educational networking events. PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez also offers his take on the importance of diversity in a collective organization.

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The Digital Layout: Local Chapters—You Can Distance This Body But Not These Senses

10-23-2020

Kelly Dack shares a few thoughts on the formation of PCEA chapters as far as where they’re at and where they need to go, and PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez offers some encouraging words for these extended times of COVID-19.

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The Digital Layout: Education Unlocks the Golden Door to Freedom

10-09-2020

Kelly Dack speaks with the PCEA Educational Committee regarding the team’s take on the PCEA’s role in education. What do they have in store? PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez also weighs in on the strength of our education committee and why it is crucial to the PCEA’s mission.

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The Digital Layout: It’s Official—1,000+ PCEA Members Worldwide

08-27-2020

Kelly Dack reviews the virtual PCEA grand opening, which took place on July 14, 2020 and featured guest presenter and PCEA educational committee member Rick Hartley. He also checks in with the PCEA education committee, and PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez also shares his satisfaction with the PCEA's recent open house.

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The Digital Layout: The PCEA’s Grand Opening

07-15-2020

Kelly Dack interviews Rick Hartley about the presentation he has prepared for the PCEA’s grand opening on July 14, and PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez shares a timely message on how our time working from home is a serious matter, and how letting our guard down could be a mistake.

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The Digital Layout: An Expectation of Collaboration

06-15-2020

Kelly Dack shares updates on the PCEA website and reports on some inspiring communication on collaboration taking place between the PCEA and a well-known industry organization. Kelly also includes a "Message From the Chairman," Steph Chavez, as well as professional development opportunities and events.

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The Digital Layout: Life During COVID-19 ‘Wartime’

05-15-2020

This month, Kelly Dack shares updates on the progress the PCEA staff is making toward establishing a web presence and reports on what the PCEA is preparing in support of the PCB engineering community. Though PCEA chapter activities, as well as professional development and event opportunities, have been limited because of restrictions due to COVID-19, PCEA Chairman Steph Chavez also offers his perspective on the challenges of staying connected without using traditional means.

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The Digital Layout: Onward!

04-30-2020

In Kelly Dack's debut as the new author of this column, he provides updates on the direction and leadership of the PCEA and upcoming professional development and event opportunities, and Stephen Chavez shares his first "message from the chairman." In addition, Bob McCreight, president of the Silicon Valley Chapter, discusses their most recent “lunch and learn” event held in February.

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The Digital Layout: The Foundation of the PCEA Is Being Laid

03-17-2020

Stephen Chavez highlights the Orange County Chapter’s recent meeting and their transition from IPC to PCEA affiliation, recent PCEA activities, and the evolution of this column, including introducing Kelly Dack, CID+, PCEA's new communication officer.

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2019

The Digital Layout: Fall 2019 Recap

12-29-2019

As the second half of the year is quickly passing by, the IPC Designers Council has seen lots of continued activities within our industry regarding PCB design. PCB West was held in mid-September in Santa Clara, California, and as usual, the show exceeded expectations. Stephen Chavez provides a brief breakdown of fall activities within local chapters.

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The Digital Layout: Recent IPC DC Chapter Activities

10-23-2019

We’re onto the second half of the year now, and we’ve seen lots of activities within our local Designers Council (DC) Chapters, including a few international chapters as well. Here's a snapshot of what has taken place so far from several of our active chapters.

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The Digital Layout: New and Thriving Chapters in Mexico

08-01-2019

This month’s column highlights the Monterrey Designers Council Chapter located in Monterrey, Mexico. The chapter was established November 23, 2017, which makes it a younger chapter compared to several other global chapters currently in existence today. I also share news about a new chapter forming in Nogales, Mexico.

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The Digital Layout: Spotlight on the Orange County Chapter

06-13-2019

So, what’s so special about the Orange County Chapter? For starters, we’re fortunate that a large number of electronics companies are located in Southern California, so there are many PCB designers in our area who are thirsty for knowledge. We are also lucky to have many local PCB fabrication and assembly companies from which we draw attendees and speakers. All of the major CAE vendors have offices and technical field personnel here and have been very supportive of our chapter in hosting lunches to help us keep our costs down.

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The Digital Layout: San Diego Chapter Updates and More

05-20-2019

This month’s column is packed with recent activities, including a spotlight on the San Diego Chapter and an interview with Luke Hausherr, the new chapter president. You’ll also find an update from the IPC Designers Council Executive Board as collaboration with the new IPC Education Foundation continues to evolve and recommended reading featuring an interview with a young designer.

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The Digital Layout: Greater Phoenix Chapter Revived

03-21-2019

The Greater Phoenix chapter was revived in late 2018 after being largely dormant over the past few years. It has also undergone some leadership changes. As the former president, I have taken on a more active global role at the executive level of the IPC Executive DC Board as the communications officer at large. I will stay on the leadership committee for the Greater Phoenix Chapter as the VP at the request of the newly elected president, Randy Kumagai. Randy and I have already started to brainstorm with ways to kickstart the chapter’s activity in 2019.

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The Digital Layout: Designer Highlights From IPC APEX EXPO 2019

03-15-2019

The IPC Designers Council Executive Board meeting took place on January 29. Executive Board members in attendance included Gary Ferrari, Mike Creeden, Cherie Litson, Kelly Dack, Thomas Romont, and me. We also had Michael Schleicher, a guest representative from Germany, in attendance. Further, Dr. John Mitchell, Dave Hernandez, Colette Buscemi, Teresa Rowe, Aaron Birney, and Charlene Gunter du Plessis represented IPC.

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The Digital Layout: Cascade Designers Council Chapter and 2019 Activities

02-28-2019

Our CID+ class had four people enrolled who came from around the area. All who attended learned about how board materials affected their designs, including EMI, EMC, impedance control, power distribution techniques, board stackups, and placement strategies in more detail than what was in the CID. Further, participants took the exam first thing Friday morning. This allowed us time to attend the Designers Council “lunch-and-learn” meeting, and the Altium user group met afterward in the same location.

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The Digital Layout: Chapter Highlights and Certification Successes

01-24-2019

This month’s column highlights the San Diego chapter, which is also where IPC APEX EXPO 2019 will be held at the end of January. You will also find updates on recent CID and CID+ certification success stories, a recap of the PCB Carolina event from the Research Triangle Park (RTP) North Carolina chapter, and upcoming events, so mark your calendars for next year.

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2018

The Digital Layout: Chapter Roundup and CID+ Certification

12-12-2018

This month’s spotlight is the Silicon Valley Chapter. We held our fall quarterly meeting on October 25, 2018, at none other than Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California—yes, the site of Super Bowl 50 and the soon-to-be 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game. This was made possible by our host, Sierra Circuits, and sponsor, Altium. We thank them both graciously. Out of 33 total RSVPs, 24 were able to attend the lunchtime meeting. Fun fact: of the members who RSVPed, six of them were CID certified and 10 were CID+ certified, with Faisal Ahmed being the most recent (hear more from him later).

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The Digital Layout: Designers Council Update and PCB Carolina 2018

10-24-2018

Welcome to the first edition of "The Digital Layout." As a current IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board member and a long-time active IPC member, I was nominated to be the chairman of the newly created communications subcommittee. In this role, I will be the main point of contact for global chapter communications and will work with local IPC chapter leaders to publish content in this new column. We want to utilize this column to help spread the IPC DC Executive Board’s goals like a virus.

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