Time to Go?

I spoke today with a longtime friend in the PCB industry who shared that multiple times in the past year his company had made inquiries to various suppliers about various lines of equipment. They specifically asked for quotes on certain machines. And yet this company, which pays its bills and has a long track record, never received the quotes. Followup calls went unanswered for months.

I asked the names of the persons at the suppliers to whom my friend’s company made their inquiries. I’m sorry to say, they were names I recognized. Good, knowledgeable people. Old-timers, all. Hangers on. Definitely folks that no longer initiate contact. What some would call the “working retired.”

I’m no ageist. There’s no question the electronics industry today can sap one’s energy. While the end-product are nothing short of exciting, it’s been a long time since something came along to upend the manufacturing side. And even in good years business isn’t growing so fast that the prospect of making Zuckerberg-like coin is enough motivation to hustle. I get it: Once you get in the rut, it’s tough to get out.

Here’s my plea. If your passion for building, promoting or selling the industry is gone — consider hanging it up. Find a younger person, train them and step aside. If you want to maintain your industry friendships, show up at a trade show once or twice a year. But don’t let your inability to let go impede your company, or your industry.

Out of energy? The PCB industry needs you … to retire!

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (pcea.net). He previously was 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 spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 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