The Digital Layout: PCEA and Industry Leaders Who Happen to Be Women

In this month’s column, I introduce a few of our inspiring PCEA leaders who happen to be women. Next, PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez offers his take on the importance of diversity in a collective organization. As always, I’ll include our list of professional development opportunities and events. Lastly, I’ll tease some upcoming coverage we’ll be doing on one of the PCEA’s educational networking events.

PCEA Updates
One of the most inspiring events I’ve had the opportunity to cover over the past decade was an early morning Women in Electronics at IPC APEX EXPO. This event brings together women in the electronics industry to join their colleagues across the supply chain to network, share ideas, and discuss career experiences. It is a unique trade show opportunity for women in the industry to learn from and inspire one another.

Recently, I’ve appreciated that within our PCEA meetings, we experience that same zeal with our executive staff every time we convene. It is not difficult to realize the impact of leadership by women in electronics in the PCEA. Many of our leaders—who happen to be women—reach out, team up, and work together to tackle many of the tough tasks which must be accomplished as the PCEA moves forward.

Tara Dunn, Susy Webb, and Eriko Yamato are well known in the electronics industry for service and leadership in their areas of expertise. They are subject-matter experts, and their experience spans high-tech electronic materials, flexible PCB manufacturing, emerging additive process technologies, and solid PCB design instruction. These women are a few of the many who dynamically serve their companies and customers each day and still find enough time and energy to contribute their leadership to the PCEA.

Here, I share their backgrounds, as well as their hopes for the PCEA.

Tara Dunn
Tara Dunn is a seasoned professional and an I-Connect007 columnist with more than 20 years in the electronics industry exclusively focused on the PCB sector. Her experience spans roles from manufacturing to sales and marketing.

Tara is now president of Omni PCB, a manufacturers’ rep firm, which is uniquely focused on the PCB market, offering sales and engineering support with technology ranging from standard technology to high-end HDI products. Specialties include flex, rigid-flex, RF microwave designs, and microelectronics. Her website ( shares technical information related to all segments of the PCB industry.

Tara is also a founder of Geek-A-Palooza. This annual event provides all aspects of the local electronic industry with a unique networking experience focused on expanding resources and knowledge, building relationships, and bringing the industry together in a social atmosphere.

“My vision for the future of PCEA is to be all-inclusive, offering strong technical content, networking, and relationship building for designers, fabricators, and assemblers. My desire is for experienced PCB engineers to offer support to those new to the field, and for those who new to bring energy and new ideas in return. With a strong network, what this industry can accomplish is limitless, and PCEA provides tools and community to inspire.”

Susy Webb
Susy Webb mug.JPG
Susy Webb is a senior PCB designer with 40 years of experience. Her career includes experience in coastal and oceanographic oil exploration and monitoring equipment, point-to-point microwave network systems, and CPCI and ATX computer motherboards. Webb is a regular speaker at PCB West, IPC events, and international design conferences. She also consults for individual companies and groups. Her presentations discuss the practical implementation of complex engineering concepts into board layout and methods to improve the overall design and flow of PCBs.

Susy is CID-certified, a chapter contributor for The Printed Circuits Handbook, and one of the judges for the annual Mentor Technical Leadership Awards. She is also an active member of the PCEA Executive Board and education committees and is a member and past president of the Houston Chapter of the Designer’s Council.

While working a full-time PCB engineering job, Susy constantly seeks to learn more about the physics, electronics, and DFM concepts that lead to better board design. She shares those concepts as a speaker/teacher at conferences and companies, and strives to show others the reasoning behind why things are best done a certain way. Susy also maintains an active involvement in the industry in the form of professional associations. 

“The PCEA is an organization where engineering professionals can come together and discuss ideas and share experiences. There is an overwhelming amount of engineering information online. As a part of the education group, we seek to continually update the information on our web page about resources, articles, and books we have enjoyed to be sure that others know about them, and which we find most accurate and beneficial. In the coming year, we also hope to share some of our own articles and be available to give presentations to local or web-based groups. We would also like to work up some training programs to help people who do not yet have a PCB background to design effective boards, and correct the first time boards.”

Eriko Yamato
Eriko is originally from Kobe, Japan, and spent five years in San Francisco during her childhood. After getting her B.S. in political science at Keio University in Tokyo, she worked at a TV station for five years, producing infotainment programs, sports news, and documentaries. In 2000, she returned to California to pursue her passion for documentary film production at Stanford University, where she received her M.A. in communication and discovered her other passion: marketing.

Eriko has 15+ years of experience in technical marketing of EMC, SI, PI, and RF/wireless products and is currently marketing and QTA manager at Oak-Mitsui Technologies headquartered in Frankfort, Kentucky. She has been active with the IEEE EMC Society since 2012 as an officer and currently serves as the treasurer for the IEEE EMC Society Atlanta Chapter. Eriko is also the marketing representative for the IEEE EMC Young Professionals Group. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, wine tasting, CrossFit, and hiking.

“I was truly honored when Steph Chavez and Mike Creeden asked me to help out PCEA as the events committee chair. I have been involved with the IEEE EMC Society for several years, and I enjoy giving back to the electronics industry. The PCEA is such a great organization where you can connect with other industry professionals, share information, and educate and support each other. This year has not been the easiest for all of us, to say the least, and I hope to organize an in-person event in 2021 where we can all reconnect and re-energize. Through events, I would like to showcase how resourceful PCEA is and encourage professionals to be part of this collaborative organization.”

Message From the Chairman by Stephen Chavez, MIT, CID+
steph_chavez300.jpgActivity overload? Not for many, like those within the PCEA leadership team, who tend to shift it into a higher gear and thrive in this last quarter of the year, as they do year after year. There is no doubt that PCEA activities continue with great success. As I review how the PCEA started, including where we are today and how we are coming along, it’s awesome to see that we are evolving beyond expectations.

At the core of this success is the engine that keeps PCEA moving forward—the core leadership team comprised of talented, passionate, experienced, and selfless individuals. One of the many things I love about this team is it’s a diverse group of special individuals and includes some awesome women who are vital parts of the PCEA leadership engine.

The PCEA strongly believes in and supports diversity. We see it, realize the strength in and importance of it, and encourage it. And when I refer to diversity within PCEA, I mean the women who are part of this PCEA engine. In no particular order, Susy Webb, Cherie Litson, Judy Warner, Tara Dunn, Terri Kleekamp, and Eriko Yamato are a force to be reckoned with. I am honored to work alongside each and every one of them. They are more than industry colleagues; they are close friends.

What these women do in their day jobs is great on its own, but what they do for and bring to our industry is where they truly shine. We are blessed to have such professional women of their caliber in our industry and the PCEA. Each of them leads the pack, and they are great examples of professional women for the younger generation to follow.

As always, refer to our column and the PCEA website to stay up to date with upcoming industry events. There are many free webinars offered out there, so take advantage of them. And if you have not yet joined the PCEA collective, I highly encourage you to visit our website at and become a member.

I continue to wish everyone and their families to be healthy and to be safe.

Next Month
By the time you are reading this, the San Diego and Arizona chapters of the PCEA will have co-hosted their first chapter meeting, which took place on October 28 and featured Insulectro speakers Mike Creeden and Chris Hunrath, who spoke on the following scintillating PCB materials topics:

  • Design innovation
  • Hybrid stackup models
  • Material properties and considerations
  • Effects of loss tangent
  • Mixing laminates
  • Embedded capacitance
  • Advanced HDI structures

I’ll be sure to check in with our chapter presidents and attendees for their thoughts on this event.

Upcoming Events

  • March 6–11, 2021: IPC APEX EXPO (San Diego, California)
  • April 13–15, 2021: DesignCon (San Jose, California)
  • May 11–13, 2021: IPC High-Reliability Forum 2021 (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • November 10, 2021: PCB Carolina (Raleigh, North Carolina)

Spread the word. If you have a significant electronics industry event that you would like to announce, please send me the details at, and we will consider adding it to the list.

There are so many interesting printed circuit engineering folks out there who we can learn from, and we will focus on the most interesting people in the PCEA from time to time. As a collective, we want to expand our diverse membership and foster healthy connections among people in printed circuit engineering. We believe that this will be a fulcrum that will help our members become inspired to connect and collaborate, and it will open doors to educate and positively contribute to the wider electronics industry.

See you next month or sooner!

This column originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Design007 Magazine.



The Digital Layout: PCEA and Industry Leaders Who Happen to Be Women


In this month’s column, Kelly Dack introduces a few of our inspiring PCEA leaders who happen to be women and teases some upcoming coverage we’ll be doing on one of the PCEA’s educational networking events. PCEA Chairman Stephen Chavez also offers his take on the importance of diversity in a collective organization.

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