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44 The PCB Design Magazine • March 2015 recommendations in context of IPC-7070, for which he serves as committee co-chair. Now, my usual plans for attending any de- signer event are clear: hear what industry icon Rick Hartley has to say. Rick speaks out of love and experience on every topic he discusses. At previous Designer Forum events, I've heard him give kudos, and I've heard him be blunt. I've watched him yell at the top of his lungs while pounding on the lectern to make a point, and I've heard him explain the need to invest in yourself and your design education, while the audience sat so mesmerized that you could hear a pin drop. So I could only imagine that his talk this year on "success through control of cost and quality" would bring the house down. But as serendipity would have it, I got called out early for a previously arranged plant tour of Hallmark. Plant Tour San Diego County is home to quite a few rep- utable PCB manufacturers. Whenever I travel, to PCB industry events, I make a point of visiting and getting to know the processes and capabili- ties of PCB manufacturers in the area. This year, I wanted to follow up on a 2013 interview I did with the Italian PCB manufacturer Somacis and check out their progress since their acquisition of Hallmark Circuits in nearby Poway. Hosting my visit to Hallmark was Somacis Sales Manager Bryan Fish, who was happy to pick me up for the tour. While the Hallmark facility was much as I remembered it when I lived in the area 14 years ago, the equipment and capabilities have surely changed! Bryan was able to show me most of the new equip- ment. I met some staff members in the CAM area who worked there over 14 years ago. I try to include lots of photos in my reports to rein- force what I've learned, but my photo snapping was limited due to Hallmark's certification as an ITAR facility, so I have nothing visual from my tour to share. But while pictures may be worth a thousand words, taking time to tour a PCB manufacturing facility like Hallmark can be worth a thousand pictures! Designers, immerse yourselves in on-site understanding. Make what you've heard and read about tangible; it will make you a better designer. Andy Kowalewski talks with gary Ferrari at the Hall of Fame Award ceremony. 2015 IPC aPeX eXPo show review show review

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