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24 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2015 get that customer service so much either. it's so easy to go to somebody else's website and say "oh, it's right here." Garcia: Especially when you're just shopping price. Matties: price comparison is easier. Paper: That's one more rea- son for somebody to say "Well, you know what, I might save a few cents if I purchase this somewhere else, but I'm part of this loy- alty program at Bay Area Cir- cuits, and I'm going to earn points on my purchase. I've already got a bucket of points so I'm just going to stay here." And we like offering something back to the customers for their loyalty, too. It's a win-win situation. Matties: it costs a lot less to keep them than to get them. Garcia: Absolutely. Matties: is there anything that we haven't talk- ed about that either of you would like to share? Paper: We mentioned hobbyists earlier. That has been a big area of focus for us. We just host- ed a manufacturing day event. Matties: i saw that. it looked like a good success for you guys. Paper: We had two groups of about 25 engi- neering students from a local college come and tour our facility. Their professor brings kids in throughout the year as well. It's a great oppor- tunity for us to open the doors and explain to them what the manufacturing process is like. A lot of them are just getting started with PCB design, and it's great for them to get early ex- posure to the manufacturing process. We some- times have professional design engineers who have been in the business for 10 years, who visit us for the first time and have never seen the inside of a production facility. It is good early exposure and part of our overall plan to expose Bay Area Circuits to students and engineers who are just getting started. Matties: You're growing your customers. it's a 10-year strat- egy. Paper: Yes. We sponsor a lot of projects with universities and build a lot of boards for free for classes. We've spon- sored five or six different stu- dent racing car groups that universities like U.C. Berkeley put together. We've sponsored a lot of the boards for those types of projects. It's just great exposure. A lot of them are going to eventually become professional design engineers and might remember us then. Garcia: Also it's great recruitment for future em- ployees too. At our first open house event three years ago, we met a professor from a local col- lege. We stayed in touch and he's been helpful in sending us candidates for engineering po- sitions. As a matter of fact, we recently hired someone based on his referral. That's always a concern of mine, the future of the industry in the sense of the incoming workforce, especially being here in the valley. Matties: changing manufacturing towards being a computer operator is going to make it a lot eas- ier to find labor. it's not the specialty knowledge that they need anymore. Paper: It's a yes and no. Yes, in that people are coming up with that skillset, but it's also a very competitive marketplace. We're obviously try- ing to control cost as well and have to consider that. If you take an electrical engineer or some- body that's studied that type of work at a four- year university, it could be very difficult or very competitive to get their services with all of the technology opportunities out there. GOOD IN, GOOD OuT: BAY AREA CIRCuITS DISCuSSES DATA STRATEGIES feature interview

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