IPC Designers Council San Diego Chapter Meeting: Flex Focus Fills the House
I recently attended the January meeting of the San Diego chapter of the IPC Designers Council. The meeting was hosted by the PCB design bureau San Diego PCB, and featured guest speaker John Stine, VP of Operations for Summit Interconnect, Anaheim.
Stine’s presentation focused on flex and rigid-flex DFM, and he offered a variety of helpful design tips to the full house of 30-40 designers in attendance. Stine encouraged designers to always keep in mind the common pitfalls of flex design that arise out of dealing with these types of malleable circuits.
Prior to the talk, San Diego PCB founder Mike Creeden encouraged designers to take advantage of the upcoming CID and CID+ courses that will be offered during IPC APEX EXPO in February. Creeden, a veteran IPC-certified trainer and Designer Council Executive Board member, has opened the doors of the facility as a training location during IPC APEX EXPO. San Diego PCB recently merged with the EMS company Milwaukee Electronics.
After the meeting concluded, I had the chance to interview San Diego Chapter President Bob Griffith and discuss the chapter’s history.
Judy Warner: Bob, will you tell us about the San Diego IPC Designers council and how you got involved and eventually became president?
Bob Griffith: Our official name is San Diego IPC Designer’s Council, or SDDC for short. I had been a member of SDDC off and on over the early years of the chapter, mainly to get my book discount from IPC back then. In 2004, I left San Diego to work for Intel and after three years I got homesick and returned to San Diego.
After my return, I got involved with SDDC, but it was different this time. The president was an old friend of mine, Leslie Gomez, who had saved my rear once on a design back in my distant past. Leslie and I started helping each other again with designs, and after I got my CID+ Leslie talked me into running for president. She had been the president for over eight years and was ready pass the gavel. I have held the office since October 2008. Leslie has remained with the board as Past President ever since.
The San Diego IPC Designer’s Council has been around for a while now, and we have had a lot of members come and go over the time. But, the chapter has held its own and I’m happy to say it is doing well. Back when IPC started the Designers Certification program, SDDC members came out in force to be the first ones certified and the chapter grew quickly. For the past few years, however, attendance has subsided, but attendance has remained steady. We set a calendar for the year and the current board of directors are the ones who make it all happen by providing topics that designers want to hear about and enable them to succeed in their jobs.
Warner: How often and where do you hold meetings?
Griffith: We hold a meeting about five or six times a year. We try to have one every other month or two until October and then we start again in late January. Our biggest meeting is always in May during the Del Mar Electronics Show, when we hold a two-hour symposium on opening day.
Warner: Do you have officers who help support the chapter?
Griffith: Yes, I have a great support staff, and it’s these people that make this all work. Our board members are as follows:
Our vice president is Ben Savage, CID, from NeoTech. Ben is the one who fills in for anybody in the group and helps with meeting setups and teardowns, from manning the booth at the electronic shows to picking up drinks for meetings. He also emcees some of our meeting from time to time.
Our secretary is Luke Hausherr, CID, from San Diego PCB. Luke is the one who puts together the email announcements for all of our meetings and maintains our membership list, and he takes minutes at the board meeting. He also fills a major role in getting our meeting location set up since he works at SDPCB. He’s also the son Tom Hausherr of PCB Libraries, and he’s well on this way to surpassing his dad someday in the San Diego PCB world.
Treasurer Bill Gebhardt, CID+, from General Atomics is the one who meets you at the door, signs people in, and takes their $10 donations. He been the chapter’s one and only treasurer since the beginning and also buys most of the raffle prizes that we give out at each meeting.
Our education director is Crystal Hardy of APCT. Crystal finds most of our speakers for us. She also handles ordering, picking up the food, and setting up our meetings locations as well. We couldn’t do it without her.
Warner: How many designers typically turn out for a meeting?
Griffith: We have on average 40 people per meeting, and at the Del Mar Show we have been averaging 70 to 80 each year. I know that most of our members are PCB designers, but we also have others from all aspects of the electronic industry who are regular attendees.
Warner: What do you think is most important to running a successful Designers Council chapter, and what advice would you give someone wanting to start or grow a chapter?
Griffith: Well, I can tell you what our goal is: To help PCB designers get better at their jobs. Since I’ve been SDDC president, all I’ve wanted to do is to guide this chapter, to help PCB designers like myself learn and increase their knowledge of PCB design and layout. PCB designers are a small group and there really isn’t a lot formal training on the subject, so after finding out what people are talking about or having problems with, we try to identify a speaker on the subject.
One thing you must do is mix it up and try to keep it fresh to encourage members to keep coming back. We’ve been very lucky, and it’s worked so far. My advice is, if you’re thinking about helping or running chapter, do it. You won’t regret it! Ask your fellow designers what’s bugging them about their current or past designs. Was it the memory routing or power supply circuitry, or HDI? Whatever is on their minds. Find a place to hold a meeting and someone to help by giving a one-hour presentation on the subject and you too could run a successful chapter.
Warner: Well, Bob, I would say you and your great team have been very successful, because you are reportedly the second-largest chapter in the country. Congratulations! I certainly enjoy every meeting and learn something new each time I attend. When is your next meeting and how do people find chapter information and get on your mailing list?
Griffith: Our next meeting is March 16, 2017 at Philips Respironics in Carlsbad from 11:30 am to 1: 30 pm. The topic is automated PCB test using ICT test points, and how to make changes later, when you must. Interested attendees can email Luke Hausherr at email@example.com to be added to our mailing list.
Warner: Thank you so much.
Griffith: Thank you.
Editor's Note: I also want to thank Summit Interconnect for donating the GoPro5 that this humble journalist was lucky enough to win, just in time for IPC APEX EXPO 2017.