The PCB Design Magazine

PCBD-Apr2017

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40 The PCB Design Magazine • April 2017 with manufacturability and with a program they can launch forward. That's really where APCT sits today. We now have two facilities: one in Santa Clara, the other in Wallingford, Connecticut. We have 188 employees, 80,000 square feet, and we service every market in the industry. Shaughnessy: So you had a tenfold increase in revenue? We don't see that very often. Robinson: We've been fortunate. We've had eight years in a row of double-digit growth. In that period, our largest growth year was 38% and our smallest was 17%. We've been very con- sistent in achieving our goals and I'm certainly proud of attaining these numbers during such challenging times. I think if you develop a mod- el that resonates with the needs of any business you're going to attract new customers and new opportunities. I think we have a model that is sustainable and still valued in the industry. Shaughnessy: You acquired a board shop in 2008? That was some great timing! Robinson: In 2008 to 2009, my wife and all my friends said, "What have you done?!" The in- dustry had collapsed and yet we continued to invest a significant amount of money in re- sources and equipment. So after a $2 million loss over the first two years, we knew we had to remain positive and keep investing. The top line growth of the business didn't sustain the investments we were making, but it turned out to build a foundation that fortified our current success and growth. We believed in our model and felt confident that the industry would turn the corner, which it finally did. Shaughnessy: Do you have an engineering back- ground? Robinson: No, I don't. In 1971, I was a swing shift plating line operator when I got out of high school. I'd go work second shift in the plating area, so I spent my first seven years in process and manufacturing and then I spent my next 11 in sales. My mentor in the industry told me I would never be a success in managing a busi- ness if I didn't have an intimate knowledge of both sides of the business, manufacturing and customer interfacing. It was very important to him that I become an expert at both. My core competency is business manage- ment and team building, but thanks to my early mentoring, I learned how to run a business the right way. And today it's all about the people. It's focusing on the customer; it's listening to their needs and building a solution. In any business, the goal is to provide value that people are will- ing to pay for. That's the key thing. You've got to provide a service that creates value. APCT's strength is our design for manufacturability, our detailed engineering and customer support, and our technical capabilities. We can provide the fastest lead times in the world, which is always a nice niche to have, but it's really our people, our attention to detail and our willingness to push the envelope that resonates with our customers. Shaughnessy: You said you focus on advanced technology. What would you say is your sweet spot, so to speak? Robinson: Our sweet spot is multiple lam cycle HDI work; stacked vias, 50-micron technology, and build-up technology. That's really where our core growth has been. Two years ago, that was 5% of our business; today it's 80% of our business and growing. Design needs are chang- ing, component sets are evolving and designers in the industry are working hard to stay ahead of the curve. Our focus is to support those ef- forts, especially in the markets we've targeted. Shaughnessy: That goes with what my designer readers are telling me, that the advanced high- speed arena is where all their problems lie. Every- body has signal integrity problems now and they need to have a partner who understands it at the fabrication level. That sounds like that's where you fit in. Robinson: We do, and I think we see designs now that, in some cases, just need guidance. So with the early involvement that we get with our DFM and pre-quote engineering teams, we're working with design groups in very early stages, enabling them to launch successfully. There is STEVE ROBINSON DISCUSSES APCT'S TENFOLD EXPANSION

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