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44 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2023 Interview by Nolan Johnson I-CONNECT007 Bob Wettermann started his career in the semiconductor industry, but after a series of industry and economic changes, he tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit he learned from his father. For more than 20 years, Bob has been leading and developing BEST, Inc., a PCB rework/repair service provider, solder training company, and stencil manufacturer. In this interview, Bob reflects on highlights of his long career, and we meet Nash Bell, who will be leading BEST through its next phase. Bob, congratulations on your retirement; we have much to talk about. Let's go back to before you bought BEST. Tell me about your background. Bob Wettermann: I'm an electrical engineer by training, starting out in the semiconductor industry. I worked in applications engineering for Advanced Micro Devices, but cut my teeth as a co-op engineer at IBM, learning the front end of the semiconductor manufacturing process. When the great PC bust happened in 1985, AMD CEO Jerry Sanders sent everybody home for four weeks. He said, "People are the most important thing and we're never going to lay anybody off." Of course, he didn't say you would be home for six weeks without pay. I realized I didn't want a career in the semiconductor industry because it was too cyclical, so I came back to Chicago, where I started my career with Eaton Corporation as an applications engineer in industrial controls. The company funded my master's in business administration and with that, I wanted to be CEO and champion of the world. That dream was squashed pretty quickly (laughs). So, I switched gears. My parents are both first-generation German immigrants and "forced" us to attend German school on Saturdays, which I hated at the time. But I searched for entrepreneurs in the Chicago area that could use my German language skills and found a startup in the secondary plastics processing equipment industry—working for a European-based plasma and corona treating and static control systems company. I did that for 10 years. I learned to love small business Bob Wettermann: Making the 'BEST' of His Career

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