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58 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2018 Feature by the I-Connect007 Editorial Team It only took a few seconds inside the Green- Source Fabrication plant for the I-Connect007 staff to realize just how different the facility is. The look and feel of the place, however, is just one difference; staffing the facility is unique as well. Of the Charlestown, New Hampshire facili- ty's technology and people, GreenSource Fab- rication VP Alex Stepinski said, "You don't see other fabricators replacing plating areas. It just never gets done because it's too hard. And then you have a lack of young people in the industry—everyone is five seconds from retire- ment, it seems. From what we see, if you go into any board shop, I think the average age is probably 55–60." Ask him why that is, and he answers right away. "They can't get young people to stay there because the places are all scary. If you're a mil- lennial and you walk into some place where there's copper plating dripping everywhere…" Stepinski shakes his head. "Nobody wants to work there." GreenSource Makes a Choice to Bridge the Gap GreenSource—like most of the industry—is struggling with an age/expertise gap. In fact, it's more like a gaping chasm. Experienced PCB fabrication techs and engineers are typ- ically over 50, with a much smaller percent- age under age 30. In between, there's a huge chunk of the age demographic simply missing from the work force. "For every five that retire, they get replaced with one," says Stepinski. Which rais- es one of the key questions for PCB facility ownership: what good is investing in new equipment if there won't be anyone who can run it? After a thoughtful pause, Stepinski threw down the gauntlet. "We see this across the whole market. We're trying to stay ahead of it by making a nice working environment and getting a lot of young peo- ple here. We have a good de- mographic. We have experi- enced people who have a lot of industry knowledge. Then Automation Attracts The New Guard to PCB Fabrication Figure 1: GreenSource Fabrication finds ways to build a younger, more sustainable work force at their New Hampshire manufacturing plant. Working virtual is a key part of their staffing strategy, too.

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