A Young Engineer’s Perspective on Joining the Industry


Reading time ( words)

Audra Thurston, a process engineer at Calumet Electronics Corporation, talks about being an intern transitioning out of college and into the PCB industry. She gives her advice to other college students pursuing engineering and gives her view on the aging workforce and IPC student chapters.

Nolan Johnson: Audra, I’m interested to learn how you came to be a part of this industry. Who do you work for, and what is your role?

Audra Thurston: I came to Michigan Tech to get my chemical engineering degree. At that point, I didn’t even know that a chemical engineer could work with PCBs; I thought you exclusively had to be an EE. But I learned that was not the case when I started looking for an internship in the area of Houghton, Michigan. I started as an intern at Calumet Electronics—about 20 minutes from Michigan Tech—the summer before I graduated. I came out of that internship with the desire to work with PCBs as a full-time career. Then, Calumet Electronics hired me after I graduated in 2018 to work as a process engineer, which is still my current role.

Happy Holden: What struck you about PCBs and led you to want to work with them?

Thurston: The industry keeps you on your toes, and if you stay in the industry, you will continually learn because of the pace of change in electronics is rapid. There are other career options for chemical engineers, such as paper making, but that wasn’t as interesting to me because paper making probably isn’t going to change much in the next 20 years compared to how much electronics is going to change in the next two years. I felt like I could be a part of cutting-edge technology.

Holden: There has never been a dull moment in my almost 50 years in the industry. And for younger people like you, it’s going to be even more challenging and fast-paced.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the November 2019 PCB007 Magazine, click here.

Share




Suggested Items

Review: Institute of Circuit Technology 2022 Annual Symposium

06/15/2022 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
The British Motor Museum in Warwickshire, housing the world's largest collection of historic British cars, was venue for the 2022 Annual Symposium of the Institute of Circuit Technology on June 8, which attracted a substantial gathering of manufacturers and suppliers from the UK printed circuit industry. ICT chair Emma Hudson reflected upon lessons learned during the pandemic lock-down and how the industry has successfully adapted to circumstances. She commented that the UK’s PCB fabricators are extremely busy, as she introduced an outstanding conference programme including a keynote from the incomparable Happy Holden.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

05/27/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
I know I’m not alone in this behavior: Car advertisements during television commercial breaks are as good as invisible to me, until I’m thinking about getting a new car. Only then do I notice them. Rather, I see each one with all my attention and being. If that extends into our industry, then everybody must be itching to pick up some new equipment. This week’s must-reads includes a smattering of new product announcements, along with the news of the IPC European subsidiary.

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

05/13/2022 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
The big news in the industry this week was the new bill introduced to the U.S. Congress in support of the PCB manufacturing industry. The Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022, which was introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Blake Moore (R-UT), incentivizes “purchases of domestically produced PCBs as well as industry investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development.” The bill is a PCB-oriented complement to the semiconductor-oriented CHIPS Act of 2021.



Copyright © 2022 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.