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While at SMTAI recently, I spoke to SMTA President Bill Barthel, who is currently serving his second term to this elected position, and also happens to be the quality solutions manager at Plexus Corp. Our conversation covered quite a bit of territory, from conference offerings, to the pending departure of longtime SMTA Executive Administrator, JoAnn Stromberg, to the various opportunities for members, from students to corporate level managers and owners around the globe.
Patty Goldman: Thanks for spending a few minutes with me, Bill. Please begin by giving our readers an overview on SMTA.
Bill Barthel: To start, SMTA is celebrating its 31st year. When manufacturing began the switch to automated SMT placement there really were not many resources for professionals to tap into when they needed technical guidance or assistance with issues. The SMTA was born out of that need. It became a resource where people could seek help, education, and professional advise from their peers regarding this trend called surface mount technology. I think our mission statement sums up our objectives well:
The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) is an international network of professionals who build skills, share practical experience and develop solutions in electronic assembly technologies, including microsystems, emerging technologies, and related business operations. The Association was a great concept at the time of its inception and it certainly remains a great concept now, because there’s so much changing in this industry year after year. Where you and I are sitting, Patty, is our biggest event of the year. It’s a huge technical conference— the best in the world, we claim and we’ll defend—for the surface mount and electronics assembly industry. Then there are over 180 exhibitors here on the show floor who provide the real solutions. Technical leaders are drawn here, figuring out solutions for new technologies. Attendees can come to meet directly with the people that help put these solutions in place.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.