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24 PCB007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2019 Kuretich: Certain posi- tions in any company might be more challeng- ing to fill, since they may be more of a niche, and a lot of the jobs in a circuit board shop are very skill-specific. If we can get people with a manufacturing and production background who have an aptitude for learning the technology to build boards, that's great; we have been fortunate in that re- gard and gotten a lot of great referrals and ex- cellent hires. Johnson: Which is always a good measure of how you're perceived as an employer. Viter: It has been interesting in the mechanical operations department. A couple of our new- est hires were CNC operators, and rather than targeting just the PCB industry, we looked for some of the specific skill sets that may not nec- essarily be specifically PCB-related. Johnson: How is that working out? Kuretich: Very well. We had two new individu- als start in our mechanical operations area that had finished up a CNC course at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City and sought us out. There was a referral by an employee, who sent them our way, and we felt good about it. They had the aptitude and passed the cer- tifications. It's good to see that the local com- munity colleges have those types of programs available; it's not all white-collar education. The students are ready to join the workforce, and they turn out to be great employees too. It's pretty exciting that the college is right in our backyard. Viter: I'm on an advisory board there now to help reshape the curriculum for the electron- ics classes. I attended one meeting recently, and I'll attend another one soon to review the revised offerings. They are very interested in tailoring the classes to be relevant to today's electronics industry needs and are seeking in- put from the local businesses that would ben- efit from well-trained new hires. As a matter of fact, there were a few people at the meet- ing that used our PCB layout software, such as PCB123® and ExpressPCB®, which was satisfy- ing to hear! Kuretich: We recently conducted interviews for a technical customer service position. One of the individuals that we spoke with had used our PCB123 software as a student to design a board; he was so excited to be interviewing with us, and we were excited that he sought us out as well. Johnson: Pardon the pun, but let's drill down a little bit on the students who trained in some- thing close to PCBs. With the skill sets they're bringing, does that bring extra value to the company culture on the shop floor, and, if so, how? Viter: Yes, and I'll use an eample. One of our CAD technicians didn't have PCB-related train- ing; he had a great deal of experience working on computers, and, more importantly, he had a love for electronics and an insatiable curiosity. That is what we need in the industry to bring some life to it. When you bring somebody in who knows the other side of what these circuit boards go into, it sparks conversation and gets other people excited as well. It's important for our culture to give people a chance to get in the door and provide them with opportunities to evangelize (laughs). Johnson: Helping to change the culture of a workplace is not something you can train; in that case, it's more about a personality, charis- ma, and attitude. Do you look for those quali- tative features as well—someone who's driven to tinker and who understands academic train- ing? Kuretich: Yes. We also look for people with pas- sion and natural curiosity that can bubble over and influence others as well in a positive way. Sheri Kuretich

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