The Digital Layout: Back to Back Chapter Meetings and More

Introduction
In this month’s column, I extend an overview of two recent PCEA chapter meetings and give a nod to the presenters who gave of their time to cover some very interesting and relevant topics. Next, I hand it off to our PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez who relates a recent, personal career “crossroads” experience and shares what gave him the hope and confidence to carry on. This month, I conclude with a growing list of upcoming events in 2021. 

PCEA Updates
The Michigan Chapter held a highly anticipated kickoff meeting on February 24. Chapter chairman Dugan Karnazes welcomed an international, online audience to the meeting and spoke about their excitement and anticipation of bringing local area printed circuit engineers together to fellowship and learn with a wider audience. The featured speaker was Terry Munson, owner of Forsite Inc., whose topic was “The Forensics of Dendrite Shorting.” Terry outlined Forsite’s definition of cleanliness, described no less than 16 sources of contamination which can cause dendritic shorting on PCBAs, and offered mitigation techniques.

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Attendees were captivated by the presentation (Figure 1), which included explanations for a variety of PCB residue factors and sources which can contribute to the underlying causes for failure. Process malefactors include a disregard for bare board and component cleanliness, incomplete heat-activation of no-clean fluxes, poor cleaning system performance, flux and/or cleaning agent entrapment under low standoff component packages, and outside contamination. There were many follow-up questions, which validated the interest in his topic. The meeting concluded with a raffle for $200 in prizes from our generous PCEA sponsors.

Dack_Fig2_cap.jpgThe Silicon Valley Chapter hosted an online meeting February 25, featuring Joe Bevan, product manager of lamination for Insulectro, who spoke on PCB materials and their applications. Chapter chairman Bob McCreight welcomed the attendees to the “crowded” Zoom presentation meeting hall, gave a brief history of the long-standing Silicon Valley Chapter, and then introduced the speaker. Joe was supported by PCEA’s own Mike Creeden, director of education for Insulectro, to queue up and relay the many questions which streamed in during the presentation. Joe covered many valuable topics including an overview of copper foil categories, production methods, the mSAP process, and a discussion on the rewriting of IPC-4562 Metal Foil for Printed Board Applications.

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During the business portions of these back-to-back meetings, Chairman Stephen Chavez showcased two new PCEA chapters, both of which had leaders attending the meetings: Luis Saracho, chairman of the Monterrey, Mexico Chapter, and Zachariah Peterson, who recently started the Portland, Oregon Chapter.

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Message from the Chairman

by Stephen Chavez, MIT, CID+

This month, I reflect on the essence of PCEA and the benefits of membership within the PCEA collective. More specifically, are you experiencing the value of giving and receiving as a PCEA member? I want to share a recent experience of mine that I think many of you can relate to. It spotlights the true value of PCEA membership.

“Collaborate, Educate, and Inspire” is the core mission of PCEA. As we come off a tough year for our industry, 2021 has many companies adjusting, adapting, and making tough decisions about how to survive, move forward, and be successful. This calls for changes that may potentially be either good or bad, depending on what side of the decision you fall on.   

Like most of you, I have a day job. I bring my A-game every time I strap into my “cockpit” here in my office, where I conduct business as a printed circuit engineer. I am always confident and have no hesitation when wielding my CAD system to either design complex PCB circuits solo or while integrating and collaborating with global engineering teams. My 30+ years of industry experience provides me with a certain level of confidence, allowing me to walk with a swagger. Yet, I am not invincible by any means! I’m not impervious to changes or tough decisions that are beyond my control.

steph_chavez300.jpgRecently, I found myself contemplating the direction of my future and I needed to make decisions which could seriously impact the trajectory of my career path—each option had its potential pros and cons, which made the decisions even more difficult. I am sure many of you can relate to what I am talking about. If you’re early in your career and have not yet experienced this, you will at some point come to a crossroads in your career. I know many industry veterans would agree.

As I evaluated my situation and contemplated my options, hoping I was seeing things from every angle, I realized that, even with all my experience, I could benefit from advice and a support network where I could discuss ideas and seek advice from others like me. So, what did I do? I tapped into my immediate PCEA network, which consisted of many industry veterans and professionals who have been at these similar crossroads. As I worked the situation alongside my established network, I realized they have become lifelong, personal friends as well. They provided solid advice as we worked the problem together. You see, I was not alone! More importantly, I had the horsepower of the PCEA collective there to support me. The core PCEA mission was in full effect: collaborate, educate, and inspire. I was collaborating with other members to work the situation. I was being educated by members who have been at these crossroads before and could provide solid advice. Lastly, I was being inspired by my longtime mentors who were counseling me, while at the same time I was inspiring others around me on how I handled myself and how I was addressing the situation as an industry professional.

The best thing about this level of support was having others reach out and put me at ease; I knew I had a safety net through PCEA to rely on. 

You may be in a similar situation, in one form or another. Some have no idea what to do or which direction to go in; even worse, they might not have anyone to reach out to for advice. But when I think about what I just went through, as well as the early years of my career coming out of the Marine Corps in 1995 with no civilian industry experience and no support network to tap into, I had no choice but to go down the road of “hard knocks.” That was a tough and long road indeed, and I know many of you can relate to this.

Many of us coming out of the military or college, or who are industry veterans like myself, may be facing similar crossroads in their careers. Knowing what I know now and knowing what PCEA offers as an industry association is simply awesome! The three words in our mission statement say it all, and I am very happy PCEA exists today. I wish I had had something like PCEA early on in my career path. I hope that those who have not yet become a PCEA member will join us and tap into this tremendous professional trade association. For our current members, please take advantage of the PCEA collective, join a chapter for awesome professional development, and gain great professional networking.

Refer to our column and the PCEA website to stay up to date on industry events. There are a lot of free webinars being offered, so take advantage of these opportunities. If you have not yet joined the PCEA collective, please visit pce-a.org for details on becoming a PCEA member.      

I wish health and safety to you and your families. Best of success to all as 2021 continues to unfold.

Warmest Regards,

Steph

Next Month
How do you hone your printed circuit engineering skills? Are your skills measurable? The PCEA has much in store for our readers regarding career training and certification that you will not want to miss.

Upcoming Events
Below is a newly seeded list of upcoming events which is sure to get you excited about travelling again. We must each do our best to follow CDC guidelines and take the precautionary measures—including hand-washing, masking and vaccination as possible—to squash the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. We’re still in this together!

Nepcon China
April 21–23, 2021
Shanghai, China

(Canceled) SMTConnect 2021
May 4-6, 2021
Nuremberg, Germany

(Canceled) IPC High Reliability Forum
May 11–13, 2021
Baltimore, MD

Del Mar Electronics & Manufacturing Show
June 2–3, 2021
Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego, CA

PCB East 2021
June 15–17, 2021
Marlborough, MA

Zuken Innovation World 2021 (Virtual)
August 4-5, 2021

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

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

Productronica
Nov. 16–19, 2021
Munich, Germany

PCB Carolina 2021
Nov. 10, 2021
Raleigh, NC

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

Conclusion
Sometimes we can find ourselves at the crossroads of several career unknowns. During these times, we need comfort and confidence that things will work out regardless of which path is followed. Thankfully, we have various opportunities to join a network of peers who can help us pivot if the road begins to spiral downwad. Belonging to any or many of the electronics industry’s meaningful trade organizations can help us to chart our paths onto the high road for success through communication and collaboration, which can lead to opportunities to be educated, then to educate—to be inspired and then to inspire.

See you next month or sooner!

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

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2021

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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