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40 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 Interview by Barry Matties I-CONNECT007 I recently toured Isola's new 118,000-square- foot low-volume, high-mix manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. e facility's con- struction began in 2020 and, like many building projects, was delayed because of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Building a new factory during the pandemic was certainly a challenge but the team persevered and the new greenfield facil- ity is now operating to meet the needs of the North American market. During the tour, I met with Travis Kelly, Ed Kelley, Sean Mirshafiei, Jenny Inocencio, and Walt Niziolek. We covered a range of topics, including lab operations, hiring, the supply chain, R&D, and the concept of the new facil- ity. e factory was designed to extensively uti- lize automation to improve efficiencies and, as Travis Kelly stated, "to de-risk the labor short- age issue." As we walked through the facility, it was clear that automation efficiencies were in action as material moved from one process to the next with well-orchestrated choreography. However, automation does not handle every step in the process. ere is a vibrant work- force, and their contributions are highly val- ued. e following are excerpts from this wide- ranging, daylong tour. A Tour of the New Isola Factory: Investing in North America Travis Kelly Ed Kelley Sean Mirshafiei Jenny Inocencio Walt Niziolek

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