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Editor's Note: To listen to Dan's weekly column, as you've always done in the past, click here. For the written transcript, keep reading...As the search continues for the new director of the IPC, I can’t help but hope and wish that this new person will be someone who understands the basic PCB business and its role in the electronics industry--both here in North America and globally. This person should be someone who will see his or her role as a protector and defender of the circuit board industry; someone who will see that our business is the at the very center on the electronics industry. He must be dedicated to upholding that tradition and do everything possible to promote the importance of our product and our industry.
When the new executive director is hired I hope that he or she (maybe it will be a woman; frankly I think a woman would do a better job, but that’s just me) will:
- Take the time to understand the history of the IPC as an organization and come to the realization that it was founded by people from the bare board industry. Men from board shops who felt that their industry had matured to the point where a professional organization was needed to look out for their best interests. That this organization would be there to make sure that they were protected from unfair foreign competition, unfair government regulations, and unfair business practices on the part of their customers--many of them much larger than they were.
- Take the time to not only look at our industry today, as it has been left in a state of steadily diminishing shambles, and see it for what it once was and what it could be in the future under an IPC that would truly have the time, the energy, and passion to promote the importance role that the North American PCB industry can play in the future under the right director.
- Understand the importance of our vendors and their role in our success. Realize that they are a peripheral part of the organization, rather than a leading part of it. Make sure they understand that they are here to support us, not to undermine us. Understand that they should be developing products that make us better rather than products they want to sell. I hope that new director will know this.
- I hope that the new director will understand that his role is to truly be our leader, to truly promote the importance and status of our products, and to come to us with a plan to let the market and the world know who we are, what we do, and how important it is to the rest of the world. That this new director will know that his role is to make us look good both as fabricators of PCBs as well as North American manufacturers fighting against all odds to sustain manufacturing jobs in this country.
- I hope that this new director will take to heart her position of leadership and embrace the owners of those smaller circuit board companies. She should work to help unify them and bring them together in a mass branding effort that will let the world know that the circuit board industry started right here in North America and that the development of new technologies in our industry should continue here with a certain amount protection of that IP. I hope we will no longer let our large multi-national customers take our technology offshore to be copied by our foreign competitors so they can take this knowledge, combine it with their cheap labor, and eat our lunch.
- I hope that the new director understands that this was once an organization created for circuit board manufacturers, not contract manufacturers. I hope that, despite the power and size of those CMs, his loyalty is still with us, the board builders.
- And, finally, I hope that this new director will create an atmosphere of cooperation with the circuit board companies so that they will feel comfortable working together so that they will have confidence again in the IPC to the point where they feel that they actually have a say in their future and their destiny. That these company owners will come to view IPC as their organization again and that their rights are being protected and their interests are being looked after.
It is also time for the IPC to understand that it is truly a North American organization bought and paid for by North American companies, that their specs other documents were written and produced by professionals from North American companies, their time and travel paid for by their companies and not IPC’s to sell to our competition in other lands. IPC belongs here, that it belongs to us. It is a Western entity, not a global entity, and it has no business selling the specs, manuals and technical documents--developed and paid for by us--to offshore companies.
I hope that the first thing this new director does is to visit circuit board shops in all parts of North America; not just the obvious giants, but the smaller ones--those that are truly the backbone of our industry. I hope this new director will take the time to visit with them, talk with them, discover their needs, concerns and challenges, and learn from them how IPC can evolve into the vibrant, passionate, and crucial organization that it must be, if it is to lead in the rebirth of the North American PCB industry.
This is my hope.
It’s only common sense.