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82 PCB007 MAGAZINE I MAY 2021 Interview by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 Since he began his work at Whelen Engi- neering a few years ago, Alex Stepinski has re- defined the way we think about manufacturing printed circuit boards. Whelen was a garage startup by George W. Whelen in 1952. e company designs and manufactures warning lights, white illumina- tion lighting, sirens, controllers, and high-pow- ered warning systems for automotive, aviation and mass notification industries worldwide. When Alex joined, his job was to bring printed circuit board fabrication in-house. At the time, Whelen was purchasing its boards from abroad. Alex saw this as a chance to completely reimag- ine the way boards were produced; his goal be- came to build an automated factory from the ground up. is was not an easy challenge by any means; in fact the challenge became more complicated when he learned (aer he accepted the job) that, due to local regulations, the facto- ry had to be a zero-wastewater facility. Aer spending countless hours on airplanes to visit factories and suppliers all around the world, Alex began building the new "ze- ro-waste" captive facility. Aer only a few years of operation, the factory was a clear success—so much so that the decision was made to upgrade the facility to produce lead- ing-edge boards. is was the birth of Green- Source Engineering. It was decided that the new iteration would be more than a captive facility, it would also be a merchant shop. Alex and team then set out to build a com- pletely new facility and, within in a few years, they transformed the first facility from primar- ily producing single- and double-sided boards into a facility producing some of the highest tech boards in the world. is was not a sim- ple task. In fact, along the way one of their key equipment suppliers faced challenges that put their entire business at risk. So, mid-stream, GreenSource acquired the company and took on the challenge of both managing the acqui- sition of a troubled company and building the new facility. Alex Stepinski on Zero-Waste Facilities

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