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74 SMT Magazine • June 2016 A First-Timer's Perspective on IMPACT Washington, D.C. 2016 I met with Faisal Pandit, president of Panasonic Factory Solutions Company in Illinois, for a quick chat about his experience at IMPACT Washington D.C. 2016. Patty Goldman: Faisal, how was your day? I'm curi- ous about what you got out of it and what your experi- ence was like. Faisal Pandit: This is my first year at IMPACT and I've got to tell you it has been very exciting and a great opportunity for me to take in a lot of valuable information. I've been in the electronics manufac- turing industry for more than 25 years and there are certain serious impediments affecting the growth of this industry in North America. It's important for us to take a very proactive stance in trying to remove those impediments if we are to ever drive any meaningful organic growth. So an opportunity to interact with our leaders who make decisions for us is a wonderful thing. IPC put some serious issues on the table and the congressmen listened. Ultimately, when you tie the growth of manufacturing—or the importance of manufacturing—to job creation, that resonates well with politicians. Goldman: Somehow they just don't get that until you tell them. Pandit: Right. They may not necessarily link it oth - erwise. I think that worked out quite well in terms of communicating the message and getting that go- ing, but as somebody said earlier, in Washington things move at an incremental pace. There are no revolutions or anything major right away. Goldman: Right—you are not going to see anything tomorrow. Pandit: It's a matter of continuing to raise your voice and having these interactions from time to time, but overall it was a great day. Goldman: So what made you decide to come this year? Pandit: I'm on the supply side of the industry and in the past I didn't really think about at - tending. But this year was dif- ferent because I'm personally a big advocate of reviving man- ufacturing in North America, and we as a company are try- ing to work with some private and public partnerships to help enhance the manufacturing skillset in North America, which I consider to be a major impedi- ment to the growth here. I know a lot of people are focusing on STEM programs and things like that. We are in the early stages of trying to put a focus on the manufactur- ing skillset within community colleges, within high school programs and things like that. We are trying to see what we can do as a company, and I think it would require some level of support from vari- ous levels of the political establishment. By coming this year, I wanted to get a sense of what people are talking about in terms of political issues and get an understanding of the process and how we can leverage these contacts and build up on what IPC is doing. Goldman: Did you meet your objectives or your expec - tations? Pandit: Absolutely. I learned a lot about what IPC is doing on the regulatory side and on the politi- cal establishment contact point of view, and I think it's very positive. It did meet my objectives. I think IPC has strengthened its focus on becoming a very powerful voice for the industry. Goldman: That's excellent. Would you return next year? Pandit: I look forward to being here again. Goldman: Thank you so much, Faisal. Pandit: Thank you. SMT Faisal Pandit

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