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84 SMT Magazine • February 2017 by Stephen Las Marias I-CONNECT007 I recently interviewed Brad Heath, CEO and owner of EMS firm VirTex, about his company's activities, how they stay ahead of their compe- tition and the new technologies and trends that are having a significant impact in the electron- ics assembly industry. We also discussed some of the greatest challenges their customers are fac- ing and how VirTex is helping to address them. Stephen Las Marias: Brad, please provide some background about VirTex, for those who may not be familiar with the company. Brad Heath: VirTex is an EMS company that fo- cuses on providing most of the same capabili- ties that Tier 1 companies can provide, but with greater levels of flexibility, primarily in the in- dustrial, military and aerospace, medical, tele- com, and automotive markets. We provide different location options de- pending on the type of work our customer needs. We have a facility in Austin, Texas, at our company headquarters, which focuses heavi- ly on industrial, medical and system build; we have a facility in Menomonee Falls, Wiscon- sin (just outside Milwaukee) that focuses on the military/aerospace and automotive markets; and then we have our facility in Juarez, Mexico, for customers needing high flexibility in a low- cost region. Las Marias: Geographically speaking, where are your customers based? Heath: Our customers are primarily regional and typically an hour-and-a-half to two-hour plane ride from a given facility, which makes it easier for them to travel and do business with a personal touch. It allows for ease of contact and to be in the same time zones as our customers. Las Marias: How has the EMS industry changed over the past two decades? Heath: The biggest change has been the level of services provided. With EMS firms, it's evolved from what I would call board stuffers—20 plus years ago—to full-service supply chain, logis- tics, fulfillment and new product introduction VirTex Discusses EMS Challenges, New Technologies and Trends INTERVEW

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