The Digital Layout: Spotlight on the Orange County Chapter

This month’s column highlights the Orange County Chapter, which is the largest IPC Designers Council (DC) chapter and one of the most active and thriving. Scott McCurdy, Orange County Chapter president, describes the successful format the chapter follows to reach local designers and PCB professionals. You’ll also find an update from the IPC DC Executive Board as their collaboration with the new IPC Education Foundation continues.

Chapter Spotlight

by Scott McCurdy

Orange County Chapter President

The IPC Designers Council is alive and well in Southern California. The Orange County Chapter has been active since long before I took over as president in 2003 nearly 16 years ago. We are proudly the largest active chapter in existence based on the attendance at our quarterly meetings. We average 50–65 attendees at our meetings, and occasionally have 80+ people in attendance.

So, what’s so special about the Orange County Chapter? For starters, we’re fortunate that a large number of electronics companies are located in Southern California, so there are many PCB designers in our area who are thirsty for knowledge. We are also lucky to have many local PCB fabrication and assembly companies from which we draw attendees and speakers. All of the major CAE vendors have offices and technical field personnel here and have been very supportive of our chapter in hosting lunches to help us keep our costs down.

Another factor in our success is our timing. We hold “lunch ‘n learn” events. It’s much easier to draw a crowd for a long educational lunch when the traffic is lighter rather than holding meetings after working hours when rush hour is a nightmare. It can also be easier to tell your boss you’re taking a long lunch to attend an educational event than to tell your family that you won’t be home for dinner.

But the key reason that our chapter thrives is that we cover interesting topics with engaging speakers who share their knowledge and consistently delight our audience. Some of our biggest crowds were a result of the following topics:

  • Flex and rigid-flex overview and design considerations
  • PCB cost adders
  • PCB routing guidelines for signal integrity and power integrity
  • PCB-enabling technologies
  • Embedded passives
  • PCB design optimization starts in the CAD library
  • HDI technology

Our meeting agenda has other elements too. I usually speak for about 10 minutes about upcoming PCB-related events, such as trade shows and conferences, as well as upcoming IPC designer certification workshops. I also let members know about the various publications, newsletters, and podcasts geared to the PCB design professional. And I always ask the audience if anyone is looking for a new job or if anyone’s company is looking for designers. You can’t beat the networking that is a byproduct of bringing together a room full of designers. Then, I introduce our featured speaker(s), and the learning begins. And to make things fun, we always have a raffle drawing at the end of a meeting with a couple of hundred dollars in prizes graciously donated by our speakers, sponsors, and others.

To read this entire column, which appeared in the May 2019 issue of Design007 Magazine, click here.

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2019

The Digital Layout: Spotlight on the Orange County Chapter

06-13-2019

So, what’s so special about the Orange County Chapter? For starters, we’re fortunate that a large number of electronics companies are located in Southern California, so there are many PCB designers in our area who are thirsty for knowledge. We are also lucky to have many local PCB fabrication and assembly companies from which we draw attendees and speakers. All of the major CAE vendors have offices and technical field personnel here and have been very supportive of our chapter in hosting lunches to help us keep our costs down.

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The Digital Layout: San Diego Chapter Updates and More

05-20-2019

This month’s column is packed with recent activities, including a spotlight on the San Diego Chapter and an interview with Luke Hausherr, the new chapter president. You’ll also find an update from the IPC Designers Council Executive Board as collaboration with the new IPC Education Foundation continues to evolve and recommended reading featuring an interview with a young designer.

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The Digital Layout: Designer Highlights From IPC APEX EXPO 2019

04-15-2019

The IPC Designers Council Executive Board meeting took place on January 29. Executive Board members in attendance included Gary Ferrari, Mike Creeden, Cherie Litson, Kelly Dack, Thomas Romont, and me. We also had Michael Schleicher, a guest representative from Germany, in attendance. Further, Dr. John Mitchell, Dave Hernandez, Colette Buscemi, Teresa Rowe, Aaron Birney, and Charlene Gunter du Plessis represented IPC.

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The Digital Layout: Greater Phoenix Chapter Revived

03-21-2019

The Greater Phoenix chapter was revived in late 2018 after being largely dormant over the past few years. It has also undergone some leadership changes. As the former president, I have taken on a more active global role at the executive level of the IPC Executive DC Board as the communications officer at large. I will stay on the leadership committee for the Greater Phoenix Chapter as the VP at the request of the newly elected president, Randy Kumagai. Randy and I have already started to brainstorm with ways to kickstart the chapter’s activity in 2019.

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The Digital Layout: Cascade Designers Council Chapter and 2019 Activities

02-28-2019

Our CID+ class had four people enrolled who came from around the area. All who attended learned about how board materials affected their designs, including EMI, EMC, impedance control, power distribution techniques, board stackups, and placement strategies in more detail than what was in the CID. Further, participants took the exam first thing Friday morning. This allowed us time to attend the Designers Council “lunch-and-learn” meeting, and the Altium user group met afterward in the same location.

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The Digital Layout: Chapter Highlights and Certification Successes

01-24-2019

This month’s column highlights the San Diego chapter, which is also where IPC APEX EXPO 2019 will be held at the end of January. You will also find updates on recent CID and CID+ certification success stories, a recap of the PCB Carolina event from the Research Triangle Park (RTP) North Carolina chapter, and upcoming events, so mark your calendars for next year.

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2018

The Digital Layout: Chapter Roundup and CID+ Certification

12-12-2018

This month’s spotlight is the Silicon Valley Chapter. We held our fall quarterly meeting on October 25, 2018, at none other than Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California—yes, the site of Super Bowl 50 and the soon-to-be 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship game. This was made possible by our host, Sierra Circuits, and sponsor, Altium. We thank them both graciously. Out of 33 total RSVPs, 24 were able to attend the lunchtime meeting. Fun fact: of the members who RSVPed, six of them were CID certified and 10 were CID+ certified, with Faisal Ahmed being the most recent (hear more from him later).

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The Digital Layout: Designers Council Update and PCB Carolina 2018

10-24-2018

Welcome to the first edition of "The Digital Layout." As a current IPC Designers Council (DC) Executive Board member and a long-time active IPC member, I was nominated to be the chairman of the newly created communications subcommittee. In this role, I will be the main point of contact for global chapter communications and will work with local IPC chapter leaders to publish content in this new column. We want to utilize this column to help spread the IPC DC Executive Board’s goals like a virus.

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