Meet Two New CID Grads: Kalen Brown and Michael Steffen


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If you’re a designer with 30 or 40 years of experience, you might be wondering who is going to replace you when you retire. If so, read on!

At PCB West, I spoke with two newly minted Certified Interconnect Designers: Kalen Brown of EaglePicher and Michael Steffen of Crystal Group. After passing the CID exam, they attended the IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board Meeting, where the more “seasoned” veterans were very happy to meet them.

Kalen and Michael shared their thoughts on the job, the PCB design community, and the need for designers to continue their education throughout their careers.

Andy Shaughnessy: Kalen, you are a newly minted CID recipient. Tell us about your class.

Kalen Brown: Yes. I attended Kelly Dack’s class. We just finished, and it was a great class. I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know.

Shaughnessy: How long have you been in the industry?

Brown: I graduated and joined the industry about five years ago. My first job was at an EaglePicher Technologies doing software, electrical design, and board layout. We don’t fabricate the boards; we just design and send them out to be built and assembled. EaglePicher makes mission-critical batteries and the group that I am in works on battery management systems to keep a battery safe. I have learned a lot and didn’t know very much about circuit board design from out of school. It was an eye-opening experience getting thrown into it. Now, I realize that it wasn’t always a job for electrical engineers. I had no idea that a board designer and an engineer were two different people; that was a very big learning experience too. Everybody here has been very passionate about what they do. It has been incredible to hear all of the stories, and everyone wants to help. It seems like it’s a great group to be in, which makes me very excited.

Shaughnessy: We were just at the IPC DC Executive Board Meeting, which was open to the public. Was that your first IPC DC meeting?

Brown: Yes, this was my first time attending PCB West, my first CID class, and my first IPC DC meeting. It was a lot of firsts for me.

To read this entire interview, which appeared in the November 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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