You Asked for it, (Re)member?

When the founding fathers, otherwise known as the IPC Trade Show Subcommittee, first launched its bid for an IPC trade show, one of its goals was to reduce the number of trade shows.

It’s hard to say whether that ideal still exists. But a recent letter (printed below in its entirety) issued by the IPC president rates as downright bizarre.

In it, Denny McGuirk writes (bolds are his), “Why are we doing this? This seems to be the question asked by for-profit trade show organizers, other trade associations and the press. I am puzzled by the confusion. We are doing this because our members asked us to do it.”

As one industry veteran who saw the letter said to me, “If the members asked for it, why does IPC has to rationalize it?”

The person has a point. From speaking with dozens of IPC members, it’s clear very few had any inkling a new show was in the works. IPC touts nearly 2,500 member companies, and there appears to be no record of the trade group polling its membership about another show.

Indeed, it says here the IPC Midwest Conference and Exhibition was a reaction to last fall’s splintering of the relationship between SMTA and Canon Communications, which owns Assembly Technology Expo. While there’s no doubt a handful of large and influential member companies pushed for the show, there is also no doubt IPC saw an opportunity, and it struck.

In his letter McGuirk also asserts, “We never imagined that we would host another exhibition — that is, until September 2006.” McGuirk should talk to his own SMEMA Council Steering Committee about that line. One of its longtime members told me that discussions about “a second Apex” have been taking place “off and on for years.”

I’m sure there’s a joke here about being in touch with your members, but this is a family blog.

Dear Colleague:

As you may know, IPC has announced the launch of a new trade show, IPC Midwest Conference and Exhibition to be held September 26-28, 2007, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center, Schaumburg, Ill. IPC will, as part of the event, hold a technical conference as well as host IPC standards development committee meetings.

Why are we doing this? This seems to be the question asked by for-profit trade show organizers, other trade associations and the press. I am puzzled by the confusion. We are doing this because our members asked us to do it.

We never imagined that we would host another exhibition — that is, until September 2006. It was then that IPC members contacted IPC because of changes with the Midwest trade show where they were exhibiting. These members/exhibitors faced rising costs, an unresponsive show management and a large but, they believed, untargeted audience. If this sounds familiar to many of you, it should. Under very similar circumstances, IPC created IPC Printed Circuits Expo and APEX.

Based on the experience of these member companies, they knew we could produce a regional trade show in the Midwest that would be fair, focused and cost effective. They also believed the support they gave IPC would, in turn, help support the work of their association rather than a for-profit trade show and communications company with no historical commitment to the electronics manufacturing industry.

IPC produces the largest trade show in North America dedicated to the printed circuit board, design, electronics manufacturing and test industries — IPC Printed Circuits Expo, APEX, and the Designers Summit. In addition, the technical conference at this event is the world’s largest technical conference dedicated to these industries.

So, IPC is now planning a regional tradeshow and conference in the Midwest that incorporates IPCWorks, an annual IPC fall meeting that encompasses industry standards development committee meetings and a technical program.

We have had an excellent response to our call for exhibition from both the assembly and PCB industries. Panasonic, Universal, Juki, Fuji, Speedline, SPEA, Kester, Indium, Henkel, MacDermid, Uyemura, Chemcut and Bürkle, to name a few, have already contracted to exhibit at IPC Midwest Conference and Exhibition.

In addition, IPC has issued a “Call for Participation” for the technical conference, workshops and tutorials. With IPC’s 50-year reputation as the leading trade association for the electronic interconnect industry and our experience in the development of 150 industry standards, you can be sure that IPC has the depth and breadth to produce a high quality technical conference and educational programs.

I know you will see press reports about potential partnerships and recommitment to the Midwest market by other groups. You’ll hear about attendee size and new technical conferences. I can’t help what other organizations do. But I pledge to you we will produce the best Midwest event for the printed circuit and electronics assembly industry. We’ve done it before and we will do it again.


Denny McGuirk

IPC President

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He is also vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversees all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 20 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow