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64 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 tell the customer, "This isn't quite working. We're going to have to raise prices." Or they might say, "You can't get the delivery on the day you want because we can't pull in the schedule that much." In other words, they some- times have to be the bad guy. Other times, they are telling their manufacturing team, "You have to find time for this customer because this is critical." These are skill sets that relate to leadership. In terms of my qualifica- tions to teach the course, I started in the EMS industry in 1981. I have worked at six contract man- ufacturers, and since 2001, I've been a con- sultant. I've managed marketing and sales functions throughout my career, and in many cases, had an influence on program man- agement. For my last corporate assignment, I was a vice president and corporate officer of a NASDAQ-traded, Mexican-based contract manufacturer called Elamex. In that role, I was involved with program management training and very closely integrated into program man- agement, along with my sales and marketing- related duties. I was also that company's lead contract negotiator. From those standpoints, I have a lot of real-world industry experience. As a consultant, I've been doing management and marketing-related assignments in the industry for roughly 19 years. I've worked for companies all over the world, and I can work with small regional companies to ones that are multi-national. My CEPM classes have been diverse—I've had students from Thailand, the EU, and Mex- ico—so it's relatively easy for me to custom- ize the lectures to the needs of that particu- lar class. This is important because there's no set way to manage programs in this industry, yet there are industry practices that are more common than others. One of the benefits of the course is that students get to understand the very big differences in various organiza- tions, how others do things, pull out best practices, and improve their programs. Barry Matties: Thank you for that. Carlos, do you have some additional thoughts? Carlos Plaza: Let me touch on why we provide certifi- cation and some of the feed- back we've received from past participants. One of the most important aspects of this course is that these program managers receive a broad overview, like the ones Susan was delineat- ing. She can immediately frame each one of those concepts and relate it to an application that she has lived herself, what was good or bad, and the steps needed not to make those same mistakes she's encountered. She knows about those issues because they're prevalent, and she's been there and done that—repeat- edly. We hear back from the students that it's one of the most important aspects of the class because they can go back to their jobs the next day and apply it in a very practical way. It's because of the way Susan frames it, and that's key to this. Susan, would you agree with that? Mucha: I would. People get bored fast, and they often don't remember concepts. Whether it's me or the attorney we bring in who teaches the contracts section and also has a ton of EMS experience, we try to use examples they'll remember. When we announced it was online, I expected most students would ditch class and speed through the recorded sessions versus staying in a live session. But after a year and a half doing this, I have students apologizing if they're not in a live class. The only time I see students missing a live class is when they're traveling. I'm amazed they feel it's important to be part of our discussions and be interactive in class because that was one of my big fears with an online course, and it's turned out so well. Susan Mucha

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