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34 The PCB Magazine • December 2015 In the electronics industry, there seems to be an infinite number of trade organizations, each with their own special niche and purpose. It can be challenging from the outside to understand why they each exist and how they fit together. First there is the alphabet soup of trade shows in- cluding IPC APEX EXPO, CPCA, HKPCA, JPCA, TPCA, DesignCon, productronica, IEEE Micro- wave, IMAPS, NEPCON, Meptec, Flex, Semicon West, CES, CEDIA, OE-A, MD&M, IDTechX and SMTA, to name a few. Then behind these trade shows there are the trade organizations that are the representatives of their respective technol- ogy niches such as IPC, CEA, NAMM, SMTA and IEEE. From a bare board fabricator and assem- bly perspective, the primary trade organization has historically been IPC. We look to IPC to take a lead in fostering our market, developing eco- nomically viable methods of standardization, and helping to bring suppliers and customers together. For those of us manufacturing PCBs, assembling electronics or supplying the bare board industry, IPC is the steward of our indus- try and interests. For those of us who have been around for long enough, there is a good chance you have at some point experienced frustration with IPC and its mission or effectiveness at supporting our industry. Over the past decade and a half, North American fabricators have watched sig- nificant volumes of work transition from the U.S. to China. At the same time, operating costs have increased, EPA controls have tightened, and fabricators have been saddled with costly compliance requirements like Dodd Frank Sec- tion 1502 around conflict minerals, all of which add cost to U.S. operations, while the protec- tion from overseas competition continues to be eroded. However, since IPC President and CEO John Mitchell took the helm in 2012 (Figure 1), the mission, vision, direction and focus of IPC has been quietly transforming behind the scenes with a focus on the future needs of its mem- by Jason Marsh InSulectrO PuttiNg it all together Is IPC the Past or the Future of our Industry? FeATure ColuMn

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