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Dave Raby is president and CEO of STI Electronics and an eager participant at this year’s IMPACT Washington, D.C. event. We talked early on the first day of the event, before a heavily scheduled day for the attendees.
Patty Goldman: Dave, what are your thoughts about this year’s IMPACT event, overall?
Dave Raby: I’m excited. I came to this event for the first time last year and have been looking forward all year to coming back. It’s really great to meet the other people in here. It’s all senior executives from companies in our industry from all over the country. Whenever senior executives from the same industry get together, we usually find out we share many of the same concerns and that is true with this group. Washington, D.C. is also a foreign world to most of us, and it’s great to get up here and see what’s going on here and see what our representatives are thinking. What is even better is, through the efforts of IPC, we can actually have an influence on some things and can give them our opinions. As Americans, it is what we’re supposed to do but I don’t think most of us do anything unless there’s a group like this supporting it and organizing it.
Goldman: Yeah, there’s some reluctance.
Raby: It’s hard to come up here as a lone wolf and just say, “Hey, I want to support this bill.”
Goldman: First of all, how would you get to see anybody?
Raby: That’s a good question but also how would you even know what bill was out there? IPC does a great job of scheduling visits with key people from all over the country and also with the representatives from my states. STI has employees in four states and tomorrow I’ll be visiting both senators from one of the states and our U.S. representative from two others. IPC staff does a great job of keeping us informed on the legislation that is at various levels of the process and gives us a very good idea on where the people we are meeting with stand. We can then express our views and let them know we appreciate their support and encourage more support, or let them know why we see their particular stance as a problem. My opinion may or may not change their opinion but I’ve been impressed with how they really will listen and consider how a certain piece of legislation will affect my company and their constituents. It was fascinating to me when I came last year just to see how the government works. We often complain about how it doesn’t work, but in reality, it has done a pretty good job over the last 240 years or so.
Most of the legislation starts for a good reason. I compare it to my shower thoughts at home. I’ve come up with what seemed like some of the world’s greatest solution or idea as I’m getting ready to go to work in the morning. I’m so excited when I can get to the office and tell my staff about them. Most of the time, as soon as I start saying them out loud I realize that it may actually be the dumbest idea I’ve ever had. The legislation starts for a good reason and seems like a good idea at the time and, by the time you get through the process that they go through, there’s hopefully people like us that have come in to say, “Yeah, this really is a good idea but could you add this to it?” Or, “We really don’t like this. Have you thought of what this would do to business? While it seems like a good idea overall, maybe if you took out this line, then it really would do what you want.” Right now, you’ve got the unintended consequences that are going to happen.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.