IPC Designers Council Viewpoint: Rick Hartley


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Rick Hartley has been in involved in PCB design and design education for decades, so it’s no surprise that he started working with the IPC Designers Council early on. Now retired from his day job at L-3, Rick still teaches PCB design and shows no sign of slowing down. I asked him to discuss his work with the Designers Council, and what the group means to the design community.  

Andy Shaughnessy: How and when did you get involved in the Designers Council? 

Rick Hartley: I first learned about Designers Council at an IPC conference in the early 1990s. Shortly afterward, I was contacted by another central Ohio designer, Candice Antrett, of Battelle Research Institute. Candice was also interested in the DC and suggested we collectively start a chapter. Pete Waddell had Printed Circuit Design magazine do a mailing for us to help get the word out, and we have always been grateful for that generous act. We held our first meeting at Battelle, and were off and running. Our membership area was mainly Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

Shaughnessy: What are the some of the most important benefits that the Designers Council offers designers, and the industry?

Hartley: For those chapters that are still going strong, the benefits are massive. There is NO formal education in PCB design. For the most part, colleges do not teach the profession. Some colleges barely even mention the existence of PC boards, much less tell their students anything meaningful. IPC and the active DC chapters are doing a wonderful job of training the industry about the many issues we need to understand; I don’t mean just designing to make boards function, but incredibly important issues like DFX (i.e., design for fabrication, design for assembly and design for testability). For people who do not live in the area of an active chapter, there is the IPC APEX EXPO conference and other wonderful educational resources, such as PCB West Design Conference and online webinars from multiple sources, including IPC.

Shaughnessy: What's exciting about the DC today?

Hartley: All the items mentioned earlier. And, of course, there is the CID (Certified Interconnect Designer) and CID+ (Advanced) training and certification. This can be a very valuable asset to designers and EEs. One of the greatest benefits I derived from chapter membership was networking. I could write a book on the value of networking with others in your profession. Those folks lucky enough to still have a local chapter and those who network at conferences know exactly what I mean.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the December 2015 issue of The PCB Design Magazine, click here.

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