Nolan’s Notes: Traditions—The Old and the New

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December is a month full of traditions. They may be religious, community, family, or entirely personal. They may be related to the calendar or business cycles, but whatever the reason, December certainly seems to be driven by tradition. While traditions often get a bad reputation as stodgy and tired, they aren’t all bad.

For example, we use this last month of the year to prepare for IPC APEX EXPO. The upcoming conference and trade show is scheduled for Jan. 21–26, 2023, at the San Diego Convention Center. As we prepare to publish this issue, the show floor boasts 366 exhibitors.

Of course, traditions have a way of evolving—sometimes for the better, other times not so much. The adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” applies particularly well to traditions. Do traditions change? Yes. In 2024, for example, IPC APEX EXPO will move slightly north to the Anaheim Convention Center.

When we consider traditions, we often look back to see how we did it before. Case in point, I here's what I wrote for our December 2021 issue previewing the 2022 show:

“There is so much that is new, or different, than in previous years. Committees will function just a little differently this year; the EMS Leadership Summit has retooled in some exciting ways to meet changing needs; social events have morphed and evolved to bring freshness and relevance to the program; and a big highlight is how the technical tracks are thriving and growing.” 

This evolution of traditions will continue with the IPC APEX EXPO 2023 program. In this issue, which is filled with details direct from the IPC organizing staff, Dr. John Mitchell gets us off to a great start with his column, “Advance in a New Era.” Then we launch right into details about the 2023 Technical Conference, which explores the changes IPC has made this year. With some tweaks and adjustments, building on the changes started in 2022, the IPC staff makes the claim that the technical tracks are the strongest and highest quality content in recent memory.

But that’s not all. The standards committee work, which sure seemed to accelerate under COVID restrictions, continues apace. The IPC Education Foundation’s STEM program has grown significantly this year, doubling its previous high-water mark for student participation. The Women in Electronics reception fields a strong program once again, and the IPC training committees continue to increase their value proposition to the industry.

In the spirit of helping you plan your time at IPC APEX EXPO to the fullest, we’re including the event schedule, details on special sessions you won’t want to miss, how to use the event app on your smartphone, show floor highlights, the skinny on social/networking events, hints of new awards for member contributions, information on professional development courses, and new offerings such as the e-textiles track and the India Pavilion.

Need help justifying your trip to your management? Yeah, sometimes, we do. Just another one of those business-related traditions, right? IPC APEX EXPO delivers so much potential for professional growth, it seems obvious that you should be there, but sometimes you need to make a case for it. To help, we include a summary of the talking points to justify your week away and point you to deeper resources at the IPC website.

Once you’re there, of course, be sure to stop by the I-Connect007 booth (#2019), right in the center of the show floor. We’ll be keeping up our own traditions: Conducting dozens of Real Time with… interviews, greeting passers-by, and learning more about the industry. Additionally, we’ll have more reporters covering the show so we can provide you with comprehensive coverage in our annual Show and Tell Magazine, which publishes within just a few short weeks of the show. Honestly, it’s our conversations with you that keep us plugged into what’s happening in the industry. The more we know and understand, the more we can reflect the trends and issues back to you in our published content.

In short, we can wait to be at IPC APEX EXPO 2023. As we read and prepped the material for this issue, it became only clearer what a valuable resource it is to gather together as an industry, connect with, and learn from, one another. Formulas and traditions have meaning and value; we rely on them. Yet they build on themselves, and we are excited to see where this event takes us.

May your December be full of joy, peace, and connection with loved ones whether family or friends. On behalf of IPC, and I-Connect007, we can’t wait to see you January in San Diego.

This column originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of SMT007 Magazine.


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