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22 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018 Feature by Scott McCurdy FREEDOM CAD I went to my first IPC Designers Council meeting in the fall of 2002. I was selling PCB fabrication a year after my company, McCurdy Circuits, ceased operations—one of the many casualties in the electronics industry following the dotcom collapse. Thinking it might be a way to make new contacts with PCB designers in Orange County, I attended a couple of Designers Council meet- ings. The chapter president at that time was Paul Fleming who asked me to be part of his steering committee because he learned that I had spent decades in fabrication. Within a few months, he had gotten a job transfer to Ari- zona, so he twisted my arm to take over as the chapter president. I agreed, but little did I know that this would become a major turning point in my PCB career. After a couple of years of building up our chapter, I took a job selling PCB design lay- out services, so I was suddenly smack dab in the middle of the design world. This was after 30+ years of building boards and receiving so many layouts wrought with terrible design practices that I would often exclaim that they had been created by designers with "no adult supervision" or the faintest idea of how boards were to be made. Now, I had a platform to help put some real meaning behind DFM. Hoping to bring design- ers together with fabricators, assemblers, CAD vendors, and a variety of industry suppliers and gurus, our chapter officers came up with topics The Designers Council: A Chapter Primer From the Ground Up and speakers to provide educational opportu- nities at our chapter meetings. We wanted to inspire our audience to expand their knowl- edge and become better designers. It became a real passion for me. In the ensuing 15+ years as president of the Orange County Designers Council chap- ter, we've grown to become one of the larg- est chapters in the country. To date, we've held over 60 events. We hold quarterly "lunch 'n learn" meetings, and with the help of our chapter officers, we've recruited terrific speak- ers covering a wide range of topics that are interesting and educational for our audience of designers and other PCB professionals. Our meetings typically draw 45–75 attendees, and

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