Reading time ( words)
Barry Matties stopped by the Austin American Technology booth at the recent SMTA Dallas Expo and chatted with business development director Justin Worden about the need to clean “no-clean” flux and how maybe a name change when it was introduced might have staved off some of the confusion. Justin also talks about how a round of golf led to his entry into the printed circuit board industry.
Barry Matties: Justin, we’re here at the SMTA Dallas Expo. Would you tell us why you’re here and what you hope to accomplish?
Justin Worden: I oversee the global sales and marketing for Austin American Technology. It’s very important for us to connect with the local chapters and all the local communities. SMTA provides that service by having these local chapters. Whether it’s Dallas, Austin, Long Island, or others, we want to make sure we have some sort of physical presence at those local chapters.
Matties: Tell me more about Austin American Technology.
Worden: We manufacture cleaning equipment for the circuit board industry.
Matties: What are the trends in cleaning right now?
Worden: The trends are always changing, but the biggest thing we’re seeing is the amount of people needing to clean no-clean flux. It’s a constant battle talking with engineers who don’t want to clean no-clean flux just because it’s called no-clean flux. It’s a play on words, but that’s probably where we’re spending about 80% of our time.
Matties: Do you think no-clean flux has outlived its name?
Worden: I’m not well versed in it enough to really decide, but I will say that it should have been named low-residue flux right from the start.
Matties: Right, because it will always have a residue; it just depends on your tolerance for flux on the board.
Worden: Exactly right. It comes down to the tolerance and how clean you need that board to be. The level of electronics you’re making determines how clean you need to make that board.
Matties: Now, how long have you been in this industry?
Worden: I am coming up on three years now.
Matties: How did you find yourself in the printed circuit board industry?
Worden: It’s a funny story. I was working in sales and marketing in the financial sector in Southern California. Once COVID hit, I planned to move my family down to central Texas, and once I got here, the stars just seemed to align. Todd Rountree, president of Austin American Technology, took me out for a round of golf and that was three years ago.
Matties: Who won?
Worden: I mean, I was looking for a job, so I let him win.
Matties: Good answer. In your three years, what’s been the most interesting or surprising to you?
Worden: It’s a simple answer. This is an extremely large industry, but a very small community. That’s why SMTA is so powerful because we’re all working with the same people. There’s more than enough business to go around, so whether you’re working with competitors or colleagues, we all enjoy each other’s company, and it’s an easy industry to network and grow in.
Matties: What advice would you give someone looking at coming into this industry?
Worden: Don’t be afraid. I was a little nervous at first, talking with some of the customers, whether it’s NASA, the military, space. These are people who are going to the moon, and I’m talking to engineers at these companies. I was a little nervous and timid to begin with, but in the end, we’re all people and they know what they need, I just need to make sure I have the answers for them.
Matties: Thank you for spending time with us.
Worden: I appreciate your time.