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24 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2018 sometimes many more if it's a really great topic or a "rock star" speaker. So, why do designers show up and make our chapter so successful? I believe there are sev- eral answers to that question. 1. Continuing Education PCBs get more complex every year. Manu- facturing processes advance as the fabricators improve their capabilities to meet ongoing tech- nical challenges. A designer needs continue to learn more and more to have the skills to meet these challenges. Those who attend our meetings receive copies of the speakers' slide presentations to build their library of techni- cal information to refer to and can reach out to that speaker in the future. You don't know what you don't know, so Designers Council meetings are a great resource for learning. 2. Networking It's inspiring for a designer to sit in a room with 50–60 people who have the same job that they do. Our designer attendees often run into co-workers from the past, and they'll sit next to other designers during lunch and chat a bit. They take notice of the other designers who ask the speaker interesting questions and seek them out after the meeting to swap con- tact info. Quite a few fabricators and assem- blers attend our meetings, so it's also a great opportunity to meet them. Take the initiative to come early or hang around for a bit after the meeting to mingle and meet other designers or ask questions of our speakers. We provide badges to all attendees that include your name and your company's name, which is helpful for meeting people. 3. Career Advancement No one is looking after your career but you. Designers must make an effort to improve their understanding of design and manufacturing technology to continue being relevant. Attend- ing Designers Council meetings is a very good way to learn and become inspired, knowledge- able, and skilled. IPC also offers a program for designer certification. I challenge designers to earn their CID, and ultimately strive for your advanced certification (CID+). No employer wants to hire a designer who is just "con- necting the dots" or one who's trapped using obscure CAD tools. These events help design- ers keep their eyes open for new technologies and opportunities. 4. Employment Opportunities At our meetings, I always make a point of asking the audience if their companies are hir- ing designers and if any designer is looking for a job. It warms my heart that dozens of design- ers have found a new job as a result of being at our meetings or contacting me and asking me to keep my ears open. There's no reason for a skilled designer to be out of a job when you have networking connections via your Design- ers Council chapter. The Future The points I've made here are just a few of the ways that I believe our chapter members have benefited from being part of the Design- ers Council, but there are lots of other ideas that we should try to address in the future. We need designers to have a bigger voice in what they would like to learn. All chapter leaders struggle with finding good speakers and rel- evant topics. We need input from the industry, designers, IPC, and the media. Do you have any ideas? If so, we'd like to hear from you.

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