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I recently spoke with PCEA’s Scott McCurdy and Tomas Chester about the organization’s plans for its second year. They explained that they plan to add new chapters and members, especially younger engineers like Tomas.
Andy Shaughnessy: How are you guys doing? For those who don’t know, Scott is the chapter liaison and chairman for PCEA, and Tomas is the founder of the PCEA chapter in Ontario, Canada.
Scott McCurdy: I’m doing great in this work-from-home environment.
Shaughnessy: Nice to meet you virtually, Tomas.
Tomas Chester: Nice to meet you, too, Andy. Working from home has been okay for me. I don't have to drive through four feet of snow to work every morning.
Shaughnessy: That alone makes it worthwhile. Scott, the PCEA is now in its second year. Give us an update on what you’ve been up to.
McCurdy: The PCEA (Printed Circuit Engineering Association) is an international network of engineers, designers, fabricators, assemblers, and anybody who is related to the printed circuit development world. We started in late 2019. It's a volunteer nonprofit organization. I got involved because I was one of the executive board members of the IPC Designers Council, and we were “orphaned.” That led to the birth of a new organization with a bunch of the chapters that had no place to go. We formed a new organization around that, and it's been great.
I was president of the Orange County chapter of the Designers Council for 17 years, so we transitioned into PCEA and then immediately had to start doing virtual meetings. This led us to find new members or having them find us. Many people may not live in an area where there is much electronics activity, yet they were still looking for a place to collaborate.
Our mission is to collaborate, inspire, and educate; that's what our meetings are all about. We try to bring in interesting topics and speakers, and then get a good-sized group of folks to share with. It’s been enlightening; it really has. We've grown quite a bit. I'm involved in the membership committee, so we're trying to help form these new chapters. And we've made alliances with other like-minded industry associations. We all promote each other for mutual benefit, which has been interesting.
Some of our people have been active in the standards committees at IPC and even leading some of the standards committee groups, so we all benefit from sharing information. We have a relationship with SMTA as well.
It’s a volunteer organization, so it’s all about getting new people to join. It was interesting that we came across Tomas in Canada, an area that we hadn't really paid a lot of attention to. I'm going to let him talk about how he drifted into our group and how much he's been able to accomplish since.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the April 2021 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.