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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2023 Feature Q&A Joe O'Neil's background includes operating both printed circuit fabrication and printed circuit assembly companies. In his current role, Joe contributes to the strategic initiatives at IPC, including his involvement in develop- ing advanced fabrication technologies demon- stration facilities in the U.S. For 2024, how would you describe the economic outlook for the industry? What are you optimistic about? What are you worried about? Joe O'Neil: e global economic outlook for the electronics industry in 2024 presents a mixed landscape. While there's a sense of flatness, several opportunities are emerging. One nota- ble trend is the relocation of manufacturing from China to regions like Southeast Asia, Mexico, and the U.S., fostering a more diversi- fied supply chain. I am particularly optimistic about the renewed focus on building a robust domestic electronics manufacturing base. New domestic activities across the value chain are on the rise and are expected to continue in the coming year. ere are, however, valid concerns. Rising interest rates, inflation, and other economic headwinds have the potential to delay these projects. Geopolitical tensions and increas- ing complexities in the industry are also wor- risome factors. What concerns you most in your growth plans: capabilities, capacity, or competition? Actually, workforce is my main concern. I believe that there are talented, extremely bright young people coming up through our education system and entering the workforce. Can the electronics industry attract them? If so, I am not worried about developing and sus- taining domestic capabilities and capacities and competing on a global scale. Without the workforce, none of that is possible. I see mas- sive opportunities for bright, young engineers in our industry. e challenges are large, but the opportunities are large as well. Joe O'Neil Has More Optimism than Concerns Joe O'Neil

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