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78 PCB007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2020 Barry Matties speaks with Gene Weiner, president and CEO of Weiner International As- sociates, about the electronics industry's con- tinued operation under COVID-19 restrictions and some of the lessons learned during this pandemic. One such lesson: Companies and nations must do a better job of sharing infor- mation to help prevent this from happening again. Weiner describes his view of the current sit- uation as "mixed," and he faults the world's governments for being unprepared for such a pandemic. But he believes the world—and es- pecially the U.S.—is set to rebound after the smoke clears, and he credits IPC President and CEO John Mitchell with showing leadership during this crisis. Barry Matties: Today, I'm speaking with Gene Weiner—a man who has over 50 years of ex- perience in our industry. Gene is the president and CEO of Wiener International Associates. He is also an IPC Hall of Fame member. Gene, welcome. And let's start with your view of the current condition of the industry. Gene Weiner: Well, the view is mixed. We have not seen anything like this, although we have Gene Weiner: Lessons Learned From COVID-19 Interview by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 experienced over the decades a number of se- vere recessions as well as rapid increases. This, though, caught everybody not by surprise, but in a way that was unexpected as it exploded in just a few months' time from an unknown source around the globe to wreaking havoc on the world economies. And it is as yet unclear as to how or when it will be controlled in the future. What is certain is that there has been a total lack of preparation or foresight by various gov- ernments around the world, although this type of thing had been predicted by a number of people publicly in talks and so forth a number of years ago—five, six, seven years ago. The way it affected the United States is rather unex- pected, too, as the United States did have—and does have—the ability to rebound quickly but had not maintained its emergency stockpile of ventilators and other materials and research pro- grams that would enable to confront this type of coronavirus rapidly. And also because the elec- tronic industry, which is the heart of almost ev- erything we touch, if you take printed circuits, semiconductors, and the software that joins it all together, it affects everything from a refrig- erator to the car you drive to the TV you watch and the cellphone in your pocket or hand. Gene Weiner

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