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Editor Nolan Johnson speaks with Greg Vance about taking over the role of president of the SMTA Board of Directors through September. Their discussion also includes an update on additional director changes and the board's work to achieve their current set of objectives.
Nolan Johnson: Greg, you were just appointed the interim president for SMTA. Please give us a recap of the news for any of our readers who haven’t seen the press release.
Greg Vance: At our board of directors meeting on February 28, Jeff Kennedy, who had been our president, announced that he was going to be taking a position with ZESTRON Americas beginning in mid-March. As a result of that, there would be two members on the SMTA board from ZESTRON Americas, which is not permitted by our bylaws. And with this being Jeff’s final term—which expires in September of this year—he decided to resign from his post as president so that Sal Sparacino could continue to serve.
Johnson: Did you have previous involvement with the board?
Vance: I have been on the board since 2018. I served as secretary for one year, and this past year, I served as vice president of membership and chapter relations. My first term is concluding as well; it ends this September, so I need to decide if I’m going to submit for director re-election or run for president.
Johnson: Are you fulfilling both roles at this current time?
Vance: No. With the change, as the executive committee voted on me as interim president, I relinquished my responsibilities as VP of membership and chapter relations; Robert Boguski from Datest has taken on those responsibilities going forward.
Johnson: You’re talking about multiple small shifts to accommodate the change.
Vance: Correct. SMTA has a strong board and is able to shift personnel as these situations arise.
Johnson: How about a review of what the current top objectives are for the SMTA board and how those are progressing through this calendar and fiscal year?
Vance: We have two primary objectives for the success of the organization. First, from a financial perspective, we need to have the funds in place to fulfill the needs of our membership and the commitments in terms of management and events we host.
The second objective is to engage with professionals in the electronics manufacturing industry at a local and international level, as well as virtual and in-person training and educational opportunities. Examples of those would be through webinars, training courses, as well as our industry-respected program to become a Certified SMT Processes Engineer.
Johnson: How are the objectives proceeding?
Vance: Very well. Financially, the organization is in a sound position, and we continue to develop a robust conference schedule so that we can bring the latest trends, developments, and insights to people personally. We have a strong local chapter organization. They’ve been working through their 2020 plans for engagement with the local industry. Beyond that, right now, we are continually expanding our Training 101 offering, where we focus on key aspects of the electronics assembly process like printing, placement, reflow, rework, conformal coating—to name a few. Those introductory-level courses are available for members and non-members to take advantage of—particularly valuable to Tier 3 or Tier 4 manufacturers that don’t have the opportunity to travel or have extensive depth in their engineering fields.
Johnson: That makes a lot of sense based on the shortage of skilled workers.
Vance: Yes. As engineering talent comes into our field, we have felt for some time that there has been a disconnect in information to bring those individuals up to speed, and the virtual trainer is one of the concepts that we’ve been developing over the last several years to overcome that. Obviously, through engagement and peer-to-peer networking at the local level, we’re also trying to provide those insights and connections so that people have a technical network that they can leverage.
Johnson: Are there any personal objectives you’re hoping to accomplish?
Vance: This carries on from my involvement with SMTA at both the local level with the Ohio Valley Chapter and what I’ve promoted through my time on the board of directors, encouraging the engagement of professionals in our industry with our association at both the local and international level. That’s very important. This association was founded on sharing experiences and information for all to benefit from the results. At our conferences and local chapter meetings, we share information on improving quality, decreasing operating costs, and decreasing the time to resolve issues that organizations are facing. Engagement is key to our success, and I want to encourage members and non-members to utilize that for the rest of the 2020 calendar year. A person getting involved will gather multiples in return for the effort they put into it.
Johnson: If readers—especially SMTA members—want to contact you about any topics or concerns related to the SMTA and the board, how should they do that?
Vance: They can reach out via our website, email at email@example.com, or phone at 952-920-7682. They can share any questions or concerns with our staff, or they can contact our executive director, Tanya Martin.
Johnson: Great. Any parting words?
Vance: I want to reassure everyone that we have excellent leadership for our organization. While Jeff will be missed, over the years of his involvement, he has built excellent strength in the board of directors and Tanya Martin. We’re going to pick up the torch and carry it on through the remainder of his term.
Also, due to things that are impacting the industry throughout the world, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, we are monitoring developments very closely and considering how that’s going to affect us, as well as what actions are needed each week. We have multiple upcoming events throughout the world. As we gather information and make decisions, we’ll reach out to those involved with those programs as soon as we can if there are any changes. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and let folks know if anything changes.
We recently made an official announcement, addressing concerns related to coronavirus preparedness and the state of upcoming events:
Given the response and direction of government agencies and global health authorities, SMTA is directing all upcoming in-person meetings originally scheduled through May to be postponed or transformed into an online format.
The health and safety of our participants and members is top priority at SMTA. We remain in regular contact with local event managers, chapter teams, and professionals within the greater meeting planning industry.
For the most updated information about SMTA events, check our website, or contact your local chapter.
Johnson: Congratulations on the appointment and the opportunity. It sounds like the SMTA board is in good hands with you.
Vance: Thank you. I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to be part of the organization in this role. I look forward to working with the board to continue with the goals and objectives that we have been working on over the last couple of years and to see that through the remainder of the year.
Johnson: Thank you for taking the time.
Vance: Thank you, Nolan.