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Dan Beaulieu: I have been friends with Bob Tarzwell for many years now. He and I met when he lured me to his shop in Carleton Place, Ontario, by telling me about all of the amazing things he was doing in that little shop of his. He claimed (and this was 1997, mind you) that he was building boards with 18 ounces of copper on a routine basis. He also told me that he was producing lines down to 2 mils without any special equipment. My first reaction, which is pretty much the same as anyone who hears about Bob for the first time, was that this guy was full of it; there was no way he was doing what he claimed he was doing. So I had to go see for myself.
It turns out that Bob was doing all of these things, and more. He was operating a truly amazing little shop up there in the middle of nowhere. It was then I realized that Bob Tarzwell was not your average PCB engineer.
Just to give you an idea of what Bob is like here is a little story for you.
A True Tarzwell Tale
The day Bob came in, Mike was late getting back from lunch. So Bob and I waited in the conference room with a number of Rockwell Collins engineers who were anxious to meet him. Thanks to Mike, everyone had already heard about Bob, and they planned to do everything they could to discredit him.
We had already been through the introductions, and now we were just killing time while waiting for Mike to show up. There was not much left to say or do until he got there. Outside, a thunder storm raged, and we could hear the thunder even though we were in an inside room without windows.
It was at this point that Bob, quite bored sitting around, said, “Did I ever tell you about the time I was struck by lightning twice in one afternoon?”
I was stunned! I looked around the room, hoping that no one had been paying attention. But that was not the case at all; instead, everyone was looking at Bob like he had snakes coming out of his ears.
Read the full column here.
Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of The PCB Design Magazine.