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52 PCB007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Bigelow: I got into the circuit board business in 1992, back at Beaver Brook Circuits [Connect- icut]. I came here in 2002 and bought the place in 2006. IMI is 50 years old this year, so we are also one of the oldest companies on the fabri- cation side in North America. Matties: I visited your facility some years back, and I recall it was in a very cool structure. It seemed like it was an old store. Bigelow: It's a whole grocery store, and the cool structure is where you parked your car under- neath it, the front thing. We removed that sev- eral years ago because it was falling apart. We moved here in 1985 and bought the building that had been a grocery store and converted it over to manufacturing. Matties: When you're looking at CapEx, the other side is the facility itself. ere's always going to be more requirements for investment, changing floor plans, and that sort of thing. How do you weigh that into your mix of CapEx spending? Bigelow: It's part of the equation. I must tell you that I always hate having to replace HVAC systems because, while I know we need it, it's very boring. I also know those types of things are going to need replacement periodically. We had to replace our roof at one point; that was very expensive, and it also sucked some money out of the operating business, but you have to do it. We pay rent and we try to have the rent account cover as much of the build- ing needs as possible, but when we redid the whole quality area a few years ago to facilitate the changes taking place, the operating com- pany footed that bill. We were restricted with some walls that we could not move but we found a way around it. It's part of what you do. e floors and things like that, at some point have to be redone and you just factor it into that miscellaneous bud- get for facilities. e budget number is usually we do not process. I keep thinking, why not? What's the gate for doing that? ere are some waste treatment issues which enter the picture and need to be thought through. Everyone who visits IMI asks, "Why aren't you doing flex? You guys are perfect for flex. You've got all the material handling because you're running very thin materials." Well, we spent a long time looking into flex and we con- cluded that for us, the tooling was going to be such a radical departure and that it probably was not the place to invest in growth with the limited resources we had available. But you went through a real exercise of what we had in place, if we could put everything together, and if we have complimentary processes. But it's the areas that you don't understand that are going to kill you. As we spoke to more people, they said that the tooling can abso- lutely kill you if you don't really understand it and do it well. Matties: I think that's part of experience and wisdom, to understand and to have the disci- pline to know when to say no, because you can find yourself in a lot of trouble and a deep hole if you don't. Bigelow: In this industry, we both know a lot of people who, over the decades, have made some strategic errors that ended up costing their businesses. I don't really want to be the next one who does that. We're still here, and I want to continue to be. Matties: What year did you start your business, Peter? When you're looking at CapEx, the other side is the facility itself.

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