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64 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2020 The PCEA and SMTA Discuss Ways to Collaborate Steph briefed me on an ex- citing meeting held between himself, PCEA Vice-Chair- man Mike Creeden, and Global Executive Director of the Surface Mount Technolo- gy Association (SMTA) Tan- ya Martin. The three of them spoke for over an hour pri- marily about the consideration for collabora- tion between the SMTA and the PCEA. Wow, a realization! Steph employed some "ation" words in a positive conversation, which offered me some inspiration. I then de- cided that the focus of this month's column would be collaboration. Steph, Mike, and Tan- ya also discussed future goals and how the two organizations might work together beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The SMTA is headquartered in Eden Prai- rie, Minnesota. It is volunteer-driven and re- lies on its members for leadership. The SMTA membership is filled with many electronics in- dustry corporations and individuals who have just about everything to do with the process- es, materials, and services essential for sus- taining the electronics industry. The PCEA was formed to organize, collaborate, educate, and inspire an already sizeable, established community of PCB designers who sought to include and encourage fellowship with any- one involved in printed circuit engineering— stakeholders and representatives of manufac- turing, materials, and processes. Before the formation of the PCEA, these professionals had been basically functioning on their own at local levels for years. They were moving into the new decade, largely unrecognized and underrepresented in the electronics industry. Local functions often involved local leadership soliciting experts from the outside PCB manufacturing and en- gineering communities to educate and in- form the design based chapters about new design software, materials, and manufactur- ing processes. Steph Chavez commented that the three spent over an hour discussing their goals for the near future. "It has been pretty much a one-way street," Steph said of the flow of awareness of process and materials. "People in our chapters have been engaging and learn- ing about our engineering stakeholders for de- cades to design better." But he also pointed out, "Still, today—due to limited representa- tion—there are a very few stakeholders in our industry who understand what a PCB designer does or how a designer fits into the engineer- ing and manufacturing puzzle." Steph makes a good point. When communi- cating with most anyone other than PCB engi- neers, designers continue to get blank stares re- turned when defending their design response to management during a project. It can be vex- ing for designers who attempt to explain their reasoning for stackup and line width for a con- trolled-impedance PCB stackup solution to HR and management during a job interview. Man- agement is included in the list of PCB proj- ect stakeholders, yet they appear to not under- stand what a PCB designer does and fail to see the value of the knowledge. Tanya Martin acknowl- edged SMTA's desire to en- gage more with the design community energy coming out of the PCEA. "The SMTA is pleased to support PCEA as we've long recognized the importance of more collabo- ration in areas that affect PCB design, manufacturability, cost drivers, etc." The goals of electronics industry stakeholder awareness between the two associations ap- pear to fit well, according to Tanya. "Working together will expand SMTA's breadth of tech- nical topics as well as provide the PCEA with an established platform to share tribal knowl- edge and education, creating additional mem- ber benefits for both organizations." It appears that in just a short period of time, new fruit from blossoms of collaboration be- tween the SMTA and the PCEA will be ripe for harvest, and the electronics industry's supply chain of PCB engineering knowledge Mike Creeden Tanya Martin

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