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.
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.