Patricia (Patty) Goldman Inducted into IPC Hall of Fame
This week we attended the 2016 IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas, and one part of that was the introduction of this year’s IPC Hall of Fame inductee. We at I-Connect007 are thrilled that our own Patty Goldman has been awarded the highest level of volunteer recognition that IPC can give to an individual, the Raymond E. Pritchard Hall of Fame Award. The award is given in recognition of superior achievement, extraordinary contributions and distinguished service to IPC and the advancement of the electronics industry.
Patty has more than three decades of experience in the PCB industry and has volunteered countless hours to IPC. During this time she has been an active participant in numerous committees and chairman of several, including theTechnical Activities Executive Committee (TAEC) and the Technical Program Committee (TPC) for IPC APEX EXPO. Among her past honors, Patty was recognized in 1984 with the IPC President's Award for her contributions to IPC and the industry.
Patty joined the I-Connect007 team in 2011 and has since become managing editor of The PCB Magazine and an integral part of the team. When we attend industry events with Patty it’s clear how impactful she has been and how well respected she is by her peers. Congratulations Patty! We’re so happy for you.
The following is a brief interview with Patty about her history at IPC.
Barry Matties: Why don't we just start with you telling us a little bit about how you got started with IPC?
Patty Goldman: In the very early ‘80s, I went to my first IPC meeting. I was working at a small PCB facility in Connecticut—Qualitron—and I was the chemist, so I was the go-to person for most production problems. At the time, there was very little information out there on how to make a PCB. There were no magazines; there was only The Printed Circuits Handbook, and that really didn't go into the detail I needed.
I went to the meeting and found a few subcommittees that could be helpful, and the one that I really hooked up with was the Process Effects subcommittee, which is all about troubleshooting. But the troubleshooting guide, called PE-74, was brief and at least half of it was TBD— to be developed; there were so many blanks in it. An effort to revise it was underway but it was going nowhere. After a meeting or two, I asked the IPC liaison person, Dieter Bergman, how to get this moving. I said, "I'll even chair it if that helps." Which was, of course, as you can imagine, just what he wanted—a real live volunteer.
Anyhow, we started with an interim meeting in December in Boston. We were a group of about 10 people and we spent three days developing an outline. We all took chapters to write and work on, and went from there. In a couple of years, we had a finished document that had no TBDs in it. It may not have had all the troubleshooting information, but it was a great start. In the meantime, I learned a ton about how to make PCBs.
That’s when I realized that volunteering and getting involved is not just beneficial for the documents and specs and everything else, but perhaps as importantly, you yourself learn so much. In the meantime, you also are working with people with the same interests. You start to build a whole network of people that you can call upon whenever you have a problem that you can't solve yourself.
That's how I got started. I was chairman of that subcommittee for about 20 years. We went through three revs and somewhere in there I was chairing the committee that was above that subcommittee, and moved through a couple of jobs and so forth. I was elected as chairman of TAEC in 1998, when I was out of the room, but I did make a couple of changes to those meetings and for the better, I believe. After a while, I turned the PE subcommittee over to somebody else, and was asked to chair the Woven Glass Reinforcement Subcommittee, mainly because it was a really contentious group, and they were hoping that I would calm everything down—which actually worked out really well. Once you get involved in IPC, they know who can make things move and who can solve some problems, so they call on you when they need you.
Matties: So you’ve been actively involved for more than 30 years, right?
Goldman: Since the early ‘80s—‘80 or ‘81, somewhere around there. One of the things I've seen with people is you can change jobs but as long as your company sees fit to send you to IPC, the same people are volunteers no matter where they work. You just are that type of person, and you see the value in it. I've learned a tremendous amount and I've met a ton of people, many of whom have become very good, close friends.
I was working on the Process Effects Handbook (the troubleshooting guide), and we were talking everything to do with printed circuits, including some design, so every person that I met, I swear, once I found out what they were good at, I asked them to write a section. You can ask a lot of people at IPC, and they'll say, "Yeah. I worked on that. I worked for her." That's how I met so very many people.
Matties: In your time with IPC and volunteering and working there, what was the greatest surprise for you?
Goldman: One of the surprises for me, and this has nothing to do with the industry, was that I actually picked up some really good management skills while I was chairman that I have found very useful all along the line. That was unexpected, but great. I always say that managing volunteers is like herding cats—all these people from different companies who don’t really have to listen to you or follow you, so you have to figure out how to get everyone moving in the same direction.
As far as surprises in the industry, we can all say that the big move to China was, but it wasn't really a surprise. You could see it coming, and as it happened, no matter how much we railed against it, it still happened.
Matties: A lot of people would say they didn't even see it coming when the first crash came around.
Goldman: I recall companies in the very late ‘90s who were booked solid and were expanding to keep up with orders. Some were pretty over-confident about it. But what they didn’t know was that their customers were triple ordering because they were afraid a supplier couldn’t deliver. And then of course the bottom fell out and everything moved out. So many of those companies are no longer with us now. And then you could see the supply base eroding. I kept saying, "Look at what is happening. We're losing our critical mass here." Pretty soon there was no copper foil made in the U.S. Then there was no flexible material made and now most laminate is made overseas. We were losing control, and of course, it went. I don't think anybody can argue with that.
I've seen some things over the years. When I first started, the industry with the strongest influence in IPC was the military. There were also a lot of captive shops—GE, IBM, AT&T’s Western Electric, many others. All the big companies had captive shops and oftentimes, multiple shops. Then that started to change, and they became less influential and the commercial companies became more influential. Eventually, all the big guys realized they didn't need to have their captive shops. They were always behind in the technology anyhow, at those captive shops. You’d think they wouldn't be, but they were behind in technology. Sounds counter-intuitive but that’s what I saw.
Matties: I thought the R&D was coming out of the captive shops.
Goldman: They had blinders on. Many did have their own R&D, which was perhaps best practice or perhaps not. But they didn’t really have to compete, so they weren’t constantly looking for the best technology, and then there was the NIH factor (“not invented here”). I could tell you a lot of stories. Maybe not best practice, but it was their way of doing it.
Matties: I understand what you're saying. It was good for them, but not necessarily good for the industry.
Goldman: Yeah. I was in a shop out in Ohio, NCR, when they still had a circuit board operation, and they were using this make-and-dump electroless copper bath. They would dump it every day! I thought, that's at least 20 years behind the times. They just had their own way of doing things, and they were not forced to change because they had a captive customer—themselves. They did not have to work to be more efficient and look for better ways of doing things. And it really wasn’t good for them either.
Matties: So here you are, 30+ years later, and you are now being inducted into the IPC Hall of Fame, and receiving that award. Additionally, I think you are the first female recipient of this award. Now that you've done that, what are you going to do next? Go to Disneyland?
Goldman: No, I’m a bigger fan of Disney World anyhow, as you know. [laughs] It is such an honor. But every time you receive an award from IPC, they put you back to work. When I got the President's Award in 1984, Don Dinella, Mr. Additive Circuits, said to me, "Now they'll really put you to work!" It's true. They do tend to tap the people that they know will get things done—why not?
So now I am thinking, this is a big one; they're really going to be tapping me for something or other. I know they call the Hall of Fame people “ambassadors.” I'll find out what that's all about.
Matties: I'm sure you will.
Goldman: One interesting thing I learned while I was TAEC Chairman, which I didn't realize before. IPC has its board of directors, of course, but the chair of TAEC is in on some of the meetings that involve giving direction to IPC. You represent all the chairs who represent all of the committees, which are of course the lifeblood of IPC. That was really interesting.
Matties: Well congratulations, Patty. This is great news and I’m happy to see you receive this award.
Goldman: It still seems kind of unreal, but such a huge honor. It seems a little unreal to me because of all of the people that have received this before me. All but the first two I know or have known pretty well—they are people I have always looked up to, that have done so much for the industry and have influenced so much. Several I would consider mentors, including Bernie Kessler, Don Dinella and Dieter Bergman. So I'm thinking, me? Really? Are you sure? Do I really fit into this august group? I hope I can live up to the examples set by those already in the Hall of Fame.
Matties: It was and is you, so congratulations. You deserve it.
Goldman: Thank you.
Matties: Are there any closing thoughts that you want to share with the industry?
Goldman: I've been asked to say a few words when I am inducted on Tuesday, and one of the big things I want to say, and we say it all the time, is to volunteer, to work on a committee or subcommittee. Don't just sit in a room and listen, but actually get involved. Not only can you help write and develop a standard that is important to you, but you can actually participate and have an effect and influence on how things are done and written.
If you're a passive bystander type person, you may learn some things, but you won't learn nearly as much as you can by getting involved, and of course, it just has so many benefits for you and your company.
Matties: Great. Again, congratulations, and thank you so much, Patty.
Goldman: Thanks. I am truly honored.