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68 The PCB Magazine • December 2015 latory and government relations, and what your group does. Abrams: I usually like to give people a picture of government relations as a giant funnel with two different ends. We collect information from our members, from the industry, and we use that to influence policymakers so that regulations ac- complish their goals and are realistic. Certainly we understand the importance of regulations in a functioning, modern society, but we want them to be effective and we want them to be as cost-efficient as possible, so that they accomplish their ultimate goals with the least amount of impact on the business that businesses are in, if you will. Goldman: That's science-based, then? Abrams: Certainly in the environmental area, that's science-based. We worked this summer with a coalition on proposed U.S. Department of Labor regulations. Sometimes we get into economics. I don't think of that as a science, but there are certainly people who do. I would certainly say we want our environmental reg- ulations to be science-based, and we want the rest to be based on factual evidence or our best knowledge. There's a second side to that funnel. We col- lect information from government and we share that with our members. We do that in a number of ways, by the presentations we give to groups, like the one I mentioned that I gave on Mon- day. Next month I'm scheduled to address our PERM Council, made up of leading aerospace and defense contractors, on regulations affect- ing their products. We get information out that way. Of course we get information out through publications, such as I-Connect007, print magazines, or web magazines. We post to our website and IPC blog. We're really in the information business when it comes to government relations. Goldman: Now, you've been doing this for quite a while, right? Abrams: I just celebrated my 15th anniversary with IPC this spring, so that was exciting. I can look back and see how things have evolved and changed both for the association and for the work I do. Goldman: What are some of the more important things you think you were able to accomplish, de- spite the membership, or with the membership? I'm thinking of the fact that everybody always says, "Can't we just ignore government?" But of course, you can't. Abrams: One of the big shifts that I've observed, and that my predecessor, Holly Evans, who is now at Microsoft, has noted when we compare notes is that when I started with IPC, and work- ing just on environmental health and safety, for the first six years we were pretty much a U.S.- based organization. Most members' environ- mental concerns had to do with their facility— what happened at the perimeter, what went up in the air, what went out in the water. It was EPA and it was OSHA. I contrast that with today. While we still monitor the EPA and there are still a lot of is- sues, we're a global organization, and many of the regulations that have the largest impact on our members are not here in the U.S. IPC'S FERN ABRAMS: KEEPING UP WITH REGULATORY MATTERS FeATure inTerview Fern abrams, director of regulatory affairs and Government relations, Ipc.

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